Last modified: 2003-08-09 by dov gutterman
Keywords: pacifism | pace | italy | peace | rainbow flag |
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by Marcus Schmöger, 2 August 2002
by Marcus Schmöger, 2 August 2002
You might be interested in the peace campaign that has been
ongoing in Italy since early autumn. "Peace from every
balcony" is an effort to get people to show their opposition
to war in general and specifically Italian partecipation in the
US military campaign against Iraq. see <www.bandieredipace.org>.
It's only in Italian but basically the idea is to fill the cities
of Italy with the rainbow flag.
As far as I know, the version with the white stripe was the original from the early 1990's. You don't see this much anymore. You can see the current version above.
David Macdonald, 21 January 2003
The version most commonly used has only seven row. The
"absent" row is the white one. It is often called the
"bandiera arcobaleno" (rainbow flag).
Sergio Frosini, 26 Febuary 2003
I've seen a lot of Italian pacifist flags watching TV (e.g.
the great March for Peace in Rome) or just driving around
Florence. Some of these flags have a white stripe above: I think
they are the oldest ones: the new flags sold by municipalities
and NGO are identical to the one above. However, there are a lot
of variations: apart from the "latest model": a very
common pacifist flag is similar to the Previous
Flag with the white upper stripe, but it often lacks the
white stripe and has got (usually) a thicker lettering (like that
of the above flag). These flags are now used by some 15% of
Italian population, to show their opposition to the war against
There have been also polemics about the similarity of this flag with the rainbow-"Gay Pride" one. Some Traditionalist Catholics blame that they are almost identical and good Catholics should not use it. An Italian gay leader, Franco Grillini, has said that the pacifist flag was created before the "rainbow-"Gay Pride" one, as it was first used in 1961 by Aldo Capitini, leader of the Italian non-violent movement.
Paolo Montanelli, 26 Febuary 2003
I am involved in the campaign "Peace from every
balcony" and personally distributed some hundreds of rainbow
flags. In almost all the cities and towns in Italy there are
peace flags fluttering from the balconies. It is a very popular
campaign: for instance, in the city I live (Pioltello, near
Milan) there are 15.000 families and 2.000 peace flags ! It is
estimated that in the whole Italy there are at least 500.000
peace flags at the balconies. It is the first time in the Italian
history that so many flags are exposed by private citizens.
I also inform you that there are TWO patterns of the Italian pacifist rainbow flag. One pattern is: blue,azure, violet, green, yellow, orange, red; PACE is over violet and green. The other pattern is: violet, blue, azure, green, yellow, orange, red. The writing PACE covers azure and green. The second one is more common and also is more like a true rainbow. The other patterns shown in your page (as Previous Flags) are not currently used.
Giuseppe Bottasini, 28 March 2003
At peace demostrations this week in Munich (24/27/29 March), I
noted a PACE flag as a "vexillum" (see <www.smev.de/2403>),
and a PACE flag as a over-skirt (see <www.smev.de/2903>).
Marcus Schmöger, 31 March 2003
This morning, driving around my town near Florence, I've seen
some flags matching the pattern seen at the lower flag above,
maybe with a slightly darker violet and a lighter deep blue as
the two upper colours. So, it cannot be considered incorrect,
even if the pattern in the upper flag above which can be seen at
is more frequent.
Paolo Montanelli, 2 May 2003
I located the original "Italian pacifist flag" used
by the non-violent leader Aldo Capitini in the March for Peace in
1961 at <www.comitatopace.it>.
The text is in Italian: here is an English version:
"The first Peace flag is now in Collevalenza, near Todi (town in Central Italy) kept by dr. Lanfranco Mencaroni, a friend, jail-fellow and collaborator of the pacifist philosopher Aldo Capitini, who invented the March for Peace Perugia-Assisi (the town where St. Francis lived).
The flag was first shown during the first March for Peace, September 24, 1961. It was inspired by the flag of Anglo-Saxon pacifists who marched in Aldermaston for an anti-nuclear protest, led by Bertrand Russell. Mr. Capitini asked some housewives from Perugia, who were friends of him, to sew with all possible speed some coloured stripes to form a flag to be shown during the march.
In the story of the Flood, God puts the rainbow as a seal of his alliance with humans and nature, promising that will never be another Flood. So the rainbow became the symbol of peace between the Earth and Heaven,and, in consequence of that, among all mankind.
The colours of the rainbow are also used as sign of "unity in difference" for their physical characteristic of becoming white if they are wheeled quickly.
The same definition of "Peace symbol" given to the flag can date back to the Greek word "syn-ballo" which means "to put together", like the rainbow which puts together everything and everybody.
Moreover, these colours (only five) can be found also in "the flag of the races", used by the Civil Rights society founded by the democratic Afro-American leader Jesse Jackson.
The Peace flag was used widely in the 80's during the Peace marches and all Italian demonstrations, as well as in peace initiatives by Italian volunteers abroad (in Sarajevo, in Iraq, in Kosovo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo).
Since September 2002, the Peace flag became the symbol of the campaign "Pace da tutti i balconi" (= Peace from every balcony) which gained great success in Italy: hundreds of thousands people show the flag from balconies and window-sills to say "no!" to the conception of preventive war and to war in Iraq".
Paolo Montanelli, 1 March 2003
by Antonio Martins, 14 May 1999
It's a very used flag in Italy, mainly fluttered by
left-oriented and/or catholic pacifist movements. It has eight
horizontal strips, from to bottom: white, dark blue, blue, azure,
green, yellow, orange and red. Over the two central strips
there's the white writing PACE ("peace" in
by Antonio Martins, 27 September 2001
I have a photo of this flag hoisted in demonstration calling
for peace in Butembu (Kivu, Democratic republic of Congo). Flag
in photo is SIXstriped (and not eighstriped) starting above with
the color purple, and following (to below) with blue, light blue,
green, yellow and red (upper white stripe and lower orange
stripe are mising). Letters PACE in white are in the light blue
and green stripes. Is it a simplified version or is it a
Jaume Ollé, 7 July 2001
It seems to be a variation of the same flag -- rainbow flags
often have not fixed number nor order of stripes. If you are
curious about what a flag with italian words is doing in Kongo-Z,
I'd bet it related to the Combonian missionaries, an italian
Antonio Martins, 27 September 2001
Another Italian peace flag
can be seen at <www.sistemia.it/pace>.
Dov Gutterman, 4 September 1999
This shows on a blue background a stylized version of the peace-sign consisting the ring around it
of two flag like ribbons (horizontal tribands: yellow - blue -
green on the hoist side, and yellow - black - red on the fly
side), completed by groups of figures repesenting children from
several ethnic groups at the bottom. On the bottom hoist corner
the lettering "Bandiera della Pace" (italian for
"flag of peace"), and on the bottom fly "Peace's
flag", both in white letters.
Apart from showing the universalness of broken english, this flag informs us that two out of each five children is blond, that dark skinned children have though white hand and neck, and that chinese racial geatures include black conical hats.
Antonio Martins, 27 September 2001