NOTE: No symbols were hurt in the writing of this article!
Should we permit people to burn our flag? Is there a line in the free speech world?
How do you feel when you see the image on television of a crowd burning an American Flag? Does it offend you personally? Do you support the right of people to "make a statement" by burning a symbol? Do you know, intuitively, that people from other countries would do so (if they wanted to) whatever our laws were?
Pride in our nation is reflected by pride in the symbols of our nation. Anger results in an attack on the symbol (or symbols) . . . if not the Nation itself (or both in the case of the World Trade Center). I don't know why it affects me as it does, but it does. I love this country and feel like it needs some serious change and help; before it becomes something I never would have recognized when I was younger. These are statements meant to communicate a depth and passion . . . and certainly they do that. But really . . . isn't the care and concern we put into respecting this banner a reflection of our respect for that which it symbolizes? Isn't the burning a reflection of the contempt others have? Burning a symbol is just that . . . not burning my Country . . . which continues regardless of the symbol.
What if it was this flag . . . a symbol of the Executive Branch's top spot, the President of the United States? Would this bother you? I suspect there'd be less screaming then . . . and less pain for some to see. What if it were a flag of Sri Lanka? Or some place you never heard of? It's only what a symbol represents that makes it meaningful . . . but we must rationally think about this and realize that it is a symbol and not the thing itself. Why be bothered? Are you bothered? Is it better to know what people think by permitting this than it is to suppress their ability to speak out in this fashion?
Here is why I bring this up. A respected photograher I know has taken a photo and she titled it as she felt appropriate. Her name is Dora Bruce and she's a sweetheart . . . not a political activist (to my knowledge). This is her shot, used with her written permission to share among you.
"No Longer Proud"
-Dora Bruce Copyright 2oo7
Heavy symbolism is evident and it's a powerful photograph even without it. But you read this the way you choose . . . a photographer creates an image . . . portrays feelings and thoughts . . . and cannot use words (other than a title) to direct a viewer in how to think. Currently, the imagery and symbolism on a political level is unmistakeable. But it's OUR interpretation.
Dora is a Canadian . . . and is making another statement altogether. Because this symbol happens to be a living creature too. She stated in response to another animal lover, "I have seen some horrible little places as well. These animals here are well taken care of and mostly here because of injuries or age or were born here and don't know anything else. He is in a huge cage but seemed incapable of flying even up to a higher roost. His days of proud flight are finished."
Cowardly people abound and she was threatened by another. My friend Dora replied with the utmost character to that threat and I'm darn proud of her too. Her quote:
"This morning I received a very heated email about the symbolism in this photo and I was told (not asked) to remove it "or suffer the consequences."
When I took this picture, it was of a sad, old eagle who is in an enclosure for his own protection. If it is speaking of other things, then it's a better photo than I gave it credit for being.
I think it was Robert Frost who said, "I just write the poetry. It's up to the reader to interpret it."
(If you want to make more comments or threats, do it here. You are blocked from my email.)"
Excellent image redolent with symbolism. But the symbolism here (to me) . . . alive . . . but injured . . . and yet, hopefully able to recover and soar again. Completely amazing work. And cowardly for anyone to even demand she take it down . . . let's be certain of one thing . . . some people still feel freedom of speech is a good thing . . . some of those who don't want to permit such freedom . . . are the same ones who are causing the most injury to the symbol as well as the reality. My prayer is the bird and the symbol can both be free to soar again! We only need some people with character to put their feet down at the erosion of liberty . . . and let symbols be symbols . . .
Doyle I <~~~~~