Another Way to Celebrate Flag Day!!

While we live in a country where there is a holiday that honors the American flag, it’s hard to imagine that in other countries it is considered a crime to raise a flag!  Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the American flag, is celebrated in the United States on June 14th.

© MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images

It may seem silly that we have an entire day devoted to a rectangular piece of material, but the meaning of the flag runs deeper than that. The American flag is a representation of not only the freedom our country possesses as a whole, but also the freedom bestowed to each individual – a kind of freedom that is often denied in other parts of the world.

In December of 2004, Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage were arrested for raising the West Papuan flag, known as the Morning Star” flag during a peaceful ceremony outside Abepura in Papua, Indonesia. The flag is a symbol of Papuan independence. Filep and Yusak were subsequently charged with rebellion for allegedly leading the flag-raising event, and were later sentenced to prison for 10 and 15 years respectively in May 2005 for charges of treason for “betraying” Indonesia by flying the outlawed flag. Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience, detained purely for the peaceful and legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression.

Activists rallying in front of the White House on June 5th, 2010 © AI

Amnesty staff and activists joined together outside of the White House on June 5th for a spirited rally to urge President Obama to seek the release of Filep Karma, Yusak Pakage, and other prisoners of conscience in Indonesia. The event was a birthday celebration for both Filep and Yusak, whose birthdays both fall in the summer months. Activists donned birthday hats, made noise with horns, and sang around a paper mache cake with an AI candle on top. A number of tourists and passersby were intrigued enough to participate in the event and sign a giant birthday card which read: “No More Birthdays in Prison, Free Filep and Yusak!”

So, in honor of Flag Day here in the United States, we encourage you to not only appreciate the right to raise a flag here in our own country, but to take some time and speak up for those who do not have the freedom to fly a flag! Take action now to urge the release of Filep Karma,Yusak Pakage, and all prisoners of conscience in Indonesia!

Courtney A. Myhrum, Individuals at Risk Campaign at AIUSA, contributed to this blog post.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

2 thoughts on “Another Way to Celebrate Flag Day!!

  1. Dear Daniela Rodriguez —

    You celebrate the US FLAG ??

    As representing your country's "freedom" ??

    Haven't you heard of Occupied america ??

    Don't you know each star on that rag stands for countless, ENDLESS wars of aggression against the sovereign Indian Nations of Turtle Island ??

    That these stars on your flag stand for 371 broken & violated treaties with the Indian Nations, whose traditional members don't recongnise A SINGLE ONE of these thieving states built illegitimately through genocide across this stolen continent ?

    Aren't you aware this flag has flown like a dark shadow over all the battlefields of the US Army's mass murders ??

    Over SAND CREEK ?

    Over the WASHITA ?

    Over the BEAR PAW MOUNTAINS ?

    Over WOUNDED KNEE ?

    Over MY LAI ?

    NO GUN RI ?

    IRAQ today ?

    & AFGHANISTAN ?

    DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLES OF THE WORLD TRULY VIEW "YOUR" FLAG ??

    & WHAT IT REPRESENTS TO THEM ???

    & THAT WE, THE WORLD'S NATURAL & INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, DON'T WANT A SINGLE ONE OF YOUR PRECIOUS INDIVIDUAL HUMAN RIGHTS, IF IT MEANS THE EXTINCTION OF OUR OWN NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTIES ???

  2. Dear Daniela Rodriguez –

    You celebrate the US FLAG ??

    As representing your country’s “freedom” ??

    Haven’t you heard of Occupied america ??

    Don’t you know each star on that rag stands for countless, ENDLESS wars of aggression against the sovereign Indian Nations of Turtle Island ??

    That these stars on your flag stand for 371 broken & violated treaties with the Indian Nations, whose traditional members don’t recongnise A SINGLE ONE of these thieving states built illegitimately through genocide across this stolen continent ?

    Aren’t you aware this flag has flown like a dark shadow over all the battlefields of the US Army’s mass murders ??

    Over SAND CREEK ?

    Over the WASHITA ?

    Over the BEAR PAW MOUNTAINS ?

    Over WOUNDED KNEE ?

    Over MY LAI ?

    NO GUN RI ?

    IRAQ today ?

    & AFGHANISTAN ?

    DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLES OF THE WORLD TRULY VIEW “YOUR” FLAG ??

    & WHAT IT REPRESENTS TO THEM ???

    & THAT WE, THE WORLD’S NATURAL & INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, DON’T WANT A SINGLE ONE OF YOUR PRECIOUS INDIVIDUAL HUMAN RIGHTS, IF IT MEANS THE EXTINCTION OF OUR OWN NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTIES ???