Friday, November 04, 2011
¡Feliz Día de Bandera de Panamá!
So, Flag Day anywhere is an odd holiday for me. I'm not a nationalist and I don't have any feelings about most flags; I certainly don't put my hand on my heart when I see one or start making oaths to one, and the only flag I really like is the Japanese flag because it's a little piece of minimalist art compared to all the other flags out there. I will admit to having a violent reaction to the sight of the Nazi and Confederate flags. But it's Día de Bandera de la República de Panamá today and I gots the day off, so I guess I'll blog about the origins of the Panamanian Flag.
The first flag of Panamá was made by Philippe Bunau-Varilla, the Frenchman who "designed" the separation of Panamá from Colombia and "negotiated" the arrangement for the U.S. to build the Canal (he negotiated treaties to the benefit of the U.S. and not in Panamá's favor; it took years to clean up the mess). Bunau-Varilla had a secret meeting with Manuel Amador and present the flag of liberation that Madame Bunau-Varilla and Grace Bigelow had spent an entire Sunday stitching together "in the greatest secrecy." It was designed to look very much like the U.S. flag, but the white stripes were yellow and in place of the stars in a field of blue were two yellow suns (representing the two continents) joined by a yellow band (representing the Canal). When Amador returned to Panamá he presented the flag and the rest of Bunau-Varilla's "revolutionary paraphernailia" at Federico Boyd's home. Nobody liked the flag, which looked too much like the U.S. flag for anyones' tastes. A new flag was designed by Amador's son, Manuel, and was sewn by Señorita María Amelia de la Ossa, and quickly duplicated by the women of the Amador, Arango, and Arosemena households. So today we celebrate that we weren't stuck with the flag designed by that French fella.
Hey! Here's dat ugly flag designed by that guy with the strange mustache! Yikes, ¿verdad?
Man, that would be one difficult flag to describe in a serious manner: a yellow bra on a field of blue, with loud stripes which almost vibrate with ugliness. The entire world owes Manuel Amador eternal gratitude.
I See You!
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