Let’s celebrate waving our banner blue
We all felt what Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama felt at Deodora Stadium when our national flag was hoisted with the sweet sound of the national anthem in the Sevens Rugby medal presentation. It was a moving moment, the symbol of our nationhood, fluttering proudly above the flags of Great Britain and South Africa, two proud rugby nations. This was the first time it had done so in an Olympic Games because it was our first medal and it was gold.
This banner blue will always be linked to this historic occasion. So when Mr Bainimarama said it had been deeply moving for him to witness the way Fijians had rallied around the national flag, as we celebrated our gold winning performance, we understood. The banner blue has become a symbol of our Olympic success and the celebrations have just started. Yes, most Fijians agree with him. Even his political opponents agree with him. Fijians from here and abroad, captivated by the gold medal, are relishing the moment. The celebrations will continue even after the official celebrations next Monday. And the flag they will hold aloft is the banner blue. It is a moment etched in the memory of every Fijian. For the duration of the game and the celebrations that followed, the Fijian flag has been draped on bodies, hung from windows, buildings, trucks, cars, buses and anything capable of allowing it to fly. It has indeed been a proud moment. While Mr Bainimarama remains convinced personally that we need to replace some of the flag’s colonial symbols with a genuinely indigenous expression of our future, he says it has been apparent to Government since February that the flag should not be changed for the foreseeable future.
He is right by saying that it is a question of resetting national priorities as our people continue to recover from Tropical Cyclone Winston. The cost of any flag change is better spent helping Fijians recover. We should heed his call and come out with our flags to welcome our champion Olympians on Sunday in Nadi and on Monday in Suva. Shops are already taking advantage of the occasion with flags and Tee-shirts on sale.
As aptly put by the Prime Minister, “It is definitely a time to celebrate not only their remarkable achievement but our collective unity and national sense of purpose.”
Princess Anne presents the Team Fiji Olympic Men’s 7s team with their gold medals at Deodoro Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.