Romania and Chad are two “sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible” National States. Separated from each other by the Mediterranean Sea and by the adjoining countries including Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, and Libya, the two countries are most diverse in their economic, social-political, ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds. Yet, the pennant, the umbilical cord bonding the two countries, is identical. Their tri-color flags are indistinguishable!

Imagine, the two countries locked in a competitive sporting duel and you are passionately waving the blue-yellow-red tri-color cheering one country! It may become hard to assess your preferred country.

Design of Flags

Vexillography deals with the art and practice of designing national flags.  A casual inspection of the national flags highlights common underlying attributes unifying most national flag designs;

  • All national flags are rectangular, except for the flag of Nepal
  • Except for Nepal, the width is taller than the height for all national flags
  • Only the national flags of Switzerland and Vatican City are exact squares
  • All national flags are either identical or mirrored, except for the flag of Paraguay
  • All national flags consist of at least two different colors
  • It is common for many flags to feature national symbols, such as coats of arms

Convention for Adoption

The national flag is often, but not always, mentioned or described in a country’s constitution. Its detailed description may be delegated to a flag law passed by the legislative, or even secondary legislation or in monarchies a decree. For most countries, the date of flag adoption is apparent. For others, the task of determining the exact date may be more complex because of unknown or disputed design changes, regime changes, or other geographical changes.

According to the office of the U.N., “…it is up to Member States to select their own flags,” which means there is no internationally recognized governing body delegated with the task of approving and supervising the issuance of flags.

Therefore, it should not come as a complete surprise that two or more countries may have twin sibling flags.

Romanian Tri-Color National Pride

It is historically well-established that dissidents in Romania from 1800s began waving the blue-yellow-red tricolor during protests. Subsequently, a series of monarchical governments used versions of this symbol. In 1949, when the Communists took control of Romania, they tweaked the flag by adding a star, several chaffs of wheat, mountains, trees, a sunrise, and a power line, which was the enforced “Romanian coat of arms.”

As is customary in a communist regime, the input of the native Romanian citizens was not deemed as being necessary! All was well with the flagging spirits until 1989, when during the revolution at Timișoara, Romanian dissidents quite understandably began ripping and tearing out the communist symbols from their flag. For a few revolutionary months, Romania’s de facto flag was the blue-yellow-red tricolor with a big hole in the middle.

Finally, by a decree-Law, on 27 December 1989, the National Salvation Front and of the territorial councils of the National Salvation Front declared that “the national flag is the traditional tricolor of Romania, with the colors laid out vertically, in the following order, starting from the flagpole: blue, yellow, red”.  

Chad Tri-Color National Pride

Chad, a country in North Africa, gained its independence from France on August 11, 1960. The country officially adopted its flag on November 6, 1959. It combines two colors from the French Tricolore (red and blue), and two Pan African colors (red and yellow). Blue represents the sky, hope and agricultural strength of the southern part of the country. Yellow is representative of the country’s northern desert and the sun. Red represents prosperity, unity and the blood shed for independence.

Lennin to Lennon

In essence, Chad and Romania have had identical flags since 1989. Chad government has been protesting to the U.N. declaring that two countries cannot have the same flag. Yet, for the moment, Romania appears unperturbed by this trivial practical resemblance.

You can almost hear the epic Lennon song in the background  

“Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do, And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace, you…”

March 23, 2017

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