The Outdated, Incorrect and Missing Flags in the Woods-Penniman Building

By Ülvi Gitaliyev

When I first came to Berea College, I was taken to the Woods-Penniman building to be briefed before being sent into a dreadful two-week quarantine in James Hall. Even though I was only in the building for two hours, I noticed and studied the wide array of flags. As a vexillophile, I was fascinated by the dozens of large flags, but as I looked into them, my fascination turned into worry. Many of the flags were not up to date and needed to be replaced. When I spoke to the staff of the Center for International Studies (CIE) about this, they brushed me off and after three semesters, the problem still persists. So, it is time to use the power of my pen (or keyboard in this case) to bring attention to this critical issue. Let us go over these out-of-place flags in alphabetical order:

1. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The flag on the left was used in the DRC from 2003 to 2006 but has since been replaced. Sixteen years later, it lives on in Berea College.

This is the current, official flag of the DRC:

2. Ethiopia

What makes this flag interesting is that it is the oldest flag in the building. Used back when Ethiopia was a monarchy, it has not been used in any official capacity since 1974 (over 48 years ago!) but is still popular with Rastafarians and Ethiopian monarchists. Perhaps one or both of these groups have lobbied the CIE to keep the old flag in place.

This is the current, official flag of Ethiopia:

3. Hungary

In the case of Hungary, the flag is not outdated, but just plain incorrect. It is simply the flag of Hungary with its coat of arms slapped on it. While this is very popular with U.S. state flags (looking at you, Kentucky), it is not commonplace in Europe.

This is the current, official flag of Hungary:

4. Iraq

The history of the flag of Iraq is an interesting one. In the 90s, it had the Takbir (that was personally written by Saddam Hussein) and three stars representing the three supposed tenets of Ba’athism of unity, freedom, and socialism. After the U.S. invasion in 2003 and a failed attempt to bring in an entirely new flag, a compromise was found. The Takbir was written in standard script, but then everything else stayed the same. The stars have been removed since 2008, but the Takbir remains.

This is the current, official flag of Iraq:

5. Myanmar

Just like Iraq, Myanmar’s flag changed with politics. The flag in Woods-Penniman today is that of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma, which was renamed Myanmar in 1988, but it continued to use the same flag until 2010. Now, the flag has been entirely redesigned.

This is the current, official flag of Myanmar:

While these are all the flags that are either outdated or wrong, there are plenty of missing flags. Students from Armenia, Turkey, Greece, and other countries are not represented in Woods-Penniman at all. There are empty flag poles in the room, so they could easily be added without any other flag having to lose its spot. More importantly, the five flags above should be swiftly and respectfully removed and sent to CPO 574 as soon as possible.

2 responses to “The Outdated, Incorrect and Missing Flags in the Woods-Penniman Building”

  1. Frankly I don’t see how any of this, is valid. You don’t see any of the other international students complaining do you??

  2. It is highly disrespectful to fly the wrong and outdated flags. I am sure Berea College administration are unaware. Now that they are aware, is there an attempt to update the flags and show respect?

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