Whose world is this?
I love maps and flags. I have always found them intriguing. This meant both were innocently incorporated into my playtime with me being unaware of the economic, political and historical implications these presentations had. Unaware of inaccurate sizings and past borders.
It was probably the bright colours used for the separations that made the world seem inviting, and so in imagination games I would try and picture the way of life there. Or if I wished for the mood to become more logical, my playing would be consumed by lists of countries and capitals, attempts at matching countries to flags and placing countries in their rightful spaces. Flags are more than aesthetically appealing, they have hidden meanings from the past embedded in their colours and the objects they depict.
As time goes on, the borders that were once a complete mystery develop to becoming actualised in ways where you realise relations across countries, continents, and even regions are not as colourful as it once was assumed. There are things that have happened both within and between these places that have been purposefully forgotten. There are also others where it is maintained that “we must never forget!” in a bid to prevent the ills of history reoccurring. Wars. Wipe-outs. The marginalisation of identities. The dehumanisation of communities as a method to gain from their exploitation. Achieved, by reasoning they are lesser and therefore do not matter, or masked as a much-needed helping hand in place for their interests rather than an abuse of their human rights. The lack of praise, respect and acceptance for systems and people that are rural or indigenous. The demonisation of alternative ways of life and culture. The way in which the physical earth is disregarded as crucial so that its importance to the majority in charge is only apparent when it translates as currency. The list could go on and on.
We will never be on the same page completely because with differences comes a difference in opinion, but as we all exist in it and have our connections to parts, understanding is key. I think it is a good sign when we can look into the implications and the histories behind a flag or a map while appreciating the unfamiliar names and the pretty colours too.