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Reunion (France): Flag proposals

Last modified: 2003-07-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: reunion | association reunionnaise de vexillologie | association pour le developpement de la reunion | proposal | disc (white) | disc (yellow) |
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The 2003 flag contest

The contest is organized by the Association réunionaise de vexillologie (ARV), presided by Vincent Défaud, and shall be closed on 31 January 2003. The contest was launched one year ago. Proposals in format A4 or A5 can be made on any kind of support. Some of the rules of the contest are:

  • the proposal shall not be identical to an existing national flag
  • logos and writings shall not appear on the proposal
  • a banner of arms is allowed
  • if horizontally divided, the darkest stripe shall be placed on the bottom of the flag
  • if vertically divided, the darkest stripe shall be placed along the hoist
  • a monochromous field with arms or a local symbol is allowed
  • the colours shall be constrasted in any case.

According to the ARV, the new flag shall not have any political or ethnical meaning but shall federate all inhabitants of the island.

On 28 April 2003, a jury made of 30 inhabitants of the island without political position, and presided by Michel Lupant, President of the FIAV, shall elect the best proposal.

Source: Clicanoo, 11 January 2003

Ivan Sache, 28 January 2003

Flag proposal by Association pour le Drapeau de la Réunion

[Proposal]by Sani Ringayen

Till now we had some independentist flags but they have been remained marginalized. We have created officialy in 1990 a non-political organization called Shankara Yuva Kendra, renamed Shri Anjaneya Sabha in 1996, and called now the Association pour le Drapeau de la Réunion [APDR, Association for the Reunion flag].

Our aim is to promote the use of Reunion flag among Reunionese mainly. Beside the French colours:

  • the blue colour symbolises the Reunionese of European origin, christianity and the sea
  • the golden yellow represents those of Indian origin, hinduism and the sun
  • the red colour indicates the people from China, their tradition and the volcano
  • the green colour symbolises the people from Africa, Islam and nature.

All these are living here in harmony, peace and tolerance symbolised by the white circle.

The Corsicans, the Breton people, etc who come to be established in the Island, bring with them their flags and do not hesitate to travel with them, then "Reunionnais" decided to create an association for the flag of La Réunion where all the communities would find themselves. It is obvious that the politicians of right-hand side mainly do not see a good eye creation of our flag because they associate flag and independence. Our flag is not yet official but it will certainly be officialized on next 20 December, public holiday here since 1981, commemorating the abolition of slavery. Even our local dance, the maloya, was forbidden in the past, even the different practice of religion than Catholicism was prohibited, even the creole language was not recognized. All that is over and we are sure that our flag which does not reject France will be recognized. For the moment, it develops in the cities and the cultural associations.
It was adopted by our association on 20 December 1996 and we do a basic work so that it will be accepted officially and hoisted beside the French and European colors.

Sani Ringayen (President of the APDR), 17 August 1998

My correspondent in Reunion sent me the following article from the local press (dated 4 Spetember 1998) :

Creation of a flag for Reunion - Jean-Paul Virapoullé says "no"

"In a message to the mayor of Saint-André, the "Association pour le Drapeau Réunionnais", housed 17, rue Patrice Lumumba in Le Port informs of the creation of a flag with colours blue-yellow-green-red-white to represent Réunion, "just like Brittany and Corsica have theirs". The association stipulates they have no political goal but that they regroup persons that need a "strong symbol" to "really" represent the island.

"We are not against anybody but want to really exist, whatever the status of the island", the association indicates. The colours of the Reunion flag -with a white cercle in the center- symbolise the different parts of the population but also the link to France. In their message, the association explains that their flag will be visible everywhere on the island.
"This is to us a way of celebrating the 150th anniversary of [the abolishment of] slavery". They ask the mayor of Saint-André to "reserve the best welcome" to this flag, to "not hesitate to raise it with pride but without arrogance ", to "have it freely circulate ", to "fabricate" it when one finds none to buy.

The answer of Jean-Paul Virapoullé is clear:
"I am firmly opposed to the existence of a flag for Reunion. Your enterprise does not have my approval". In his answer, he indicates that "this banner is a symbol of the adhesion to the autonomist cause". He affirms that one should show oneself to be proud of the tricolore flag that has gone around the worldwith the name, the Glory and the liberty of the Motherland.

He announces also that he will oppose to the presence of the flag for Reunion in the official celebrations of Saint-Andre."

Herman de Waël, 18 October 1998

The Reunionese flag was used by demonstrating students last week in St Denis, Reunion capital. It is worn now by hundreds of people (locals and tourists) on t-shirts. It will be flown publically next Sunday during an official ceremony in commemoration of slavery abolition. Hundreds of flags will be used on december 20th, our "National Day" of Slavery abolition. On the same period, it will be flown officially in Nantes (France) during the inauguration of a monument dedicated to the slaves.

Sani Ringayen, 2 November 1998

Proposal of cultural flag

[Proposal of cultural flag]by António Martins

The Reunionese cultural flag came to light in the aftermath of strong request from Reunionese culture militants, some of them belong to associations whose statutes mention that Reunionese culture should be taken into account.
On the initiative of the Mouvement Entente et Coup de main [Understanding and Helping hand Movement], a survey was made among culture militants and general public.
From February, 1995 to February, 1997, colours clearly symbolical of the parameters of Reunionese culture were defined:

  • The red colour symbolizes the volcanic origin of the Reunion as well as the struggle of culture militants for freedom.
  • The yellow colour symbolizes the sun.
  • The black colour symbolizes the part of history related to slave ancestors and enslaving colonialist France in those times on the Reunionese soil.
  • The blue colour symbolizes the sky and the Indian Ocean.
  • The green colour symbolizes the Reunionese vegetation.

The blend of colours symbolizes the Reunionese rainbow of diversity within unity.

Just as the Bretons, the Corsicans, the Basques, the Occitans, the Reunionese have a specific cultural identity of their own. Each entity has its own representations. The symbolical aim of the Reunionese cultural flag is to represent the expression of the Reunionese cultural identity.Therefore in cultural meetings, every Reunionese can fly his colours without arrogance and with dignity.

Translated by Thanh-Tam Lê, 4 January 1999