Friday, December 29, 2006

The education of Julee - lesson on the flags of Egypt and Jordan.

The currencies of Egypt and Jordan are fairly similar - with common elements such as the bilingual Arab and English faces and the common piastre subdivision. I was curious to see if the symbolism of their flags also shared common themes. As it turns out, aside from the design that is based on 3 horizontal bands and colors common to many of the Pan Arab nations, the underlying symbolism of flags is remarkably different.

The Flag of the Arab Republic of Egypt

The Egyptian flag was adopted on October 4, 1984.

The flag consists of three equal width horizontal bands - the top is red, representing the period before the 1952 revolution which brought a group of army officers to power after deposing King Farouk, then King of Egypt. This period was characterized by the struggle against British occupation of the country. The white band symbolizes the advent of the 1952 Revolution which ended the Monarchy without bloodshed and the black band symbolizes the end of the oppression of the Egyptian people at the hands of the Monarchy and British colonialism. In the center of the white band is the national emblem of Egypt - a gold Eagle of Saladin facing the hoist side with a shield superimposed on its chest above a scroll bearing the name of the country in Arabic.

The Flag of The Heshemite Kingdom of Jordan

The Jordan flag was adopted on April 16, 1928. Jordan received independence from British administration by the League of Nations on May 25, 1946.

The flag consists of three equal width horizontal bands - the top band is black, representing the Abbasid Caliphate (dynasty) that ruled from Baghdad in the 8th and 9th centuries; the middle one is white, representing the Umayyad Caliphate that ruled from Damascus in the 7th and 8th centuries; and the bottom band is green, representing the Fatimid Caliphat that ruled from Cairo in the 10th and 11th centuries.

On the hoist side of the flag is a horizontal red triangle pointing towards the middle, representing the Great Arab Revolt of 1916-17.

Within the triangle is a white, seven pointed star which is believed to represent the first seven verses of the Koran - the points represent faith in one God, humanity, national spirit, humility,
social justice, virtue and hope.