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Commentary: Flags for Burning

When journalists report on the “spontaneous” flag-burning demonstrations, around the world, there is one fact that is never covered or reported:  How and where do the protestors get the flags they burn?

Do all the countries that have flag-burning mobs also have shops that sell “Flags for Burning”?

Is there an international company that has salesmen traveling the world selling flags of all countries?  And, to whom do they sell–governments or individuals?  And, which country’s flags do they sell?  Or, do they sell a complete set of all 192 countries?

Do the countries that always seem to have “spontaneous” demonstrations, therefore, also have a stockpile of foreign flags to provide the “spontaneous” demonstrators?  Or, do they depend on individual merchants who have the supply of flags?

Of course, it is possible that countries that always have “spontaneous” protests have their own, indigenous, flag-manufacturing industry.  But, surely, they most have outlets.

In any case, shouldn’t the journalists covering these demonstrations comment on where the flags came from?

Today, for instance, one country will burn American flags. Tomorrow, it may be Israeli flags.  Surely the “man on the street” who is protesting has not been buying flags from America or Israel.  Who is doing business selling these flags?

(The very astute investor monitors the daily reports of the Baltic Dry Index, which shows the movement of shipping containers around the world because these movements indicate the strength of the world economy–plenty of movements, business is good; a drop in movements, business is bad. The index indirectly measures global supply and demand for the commodities shipped aboard dry bulk carriers. Because dry bulk primarily consists of materials that function as raw material inputs to the production of intermediate or finished goods. The index is also seen as an efficient economic indicator of future economic growth and production. In effect, it predicts future economic activity. Recently, I was told that earlier this year there was a significant up-tick in movements, hence–he concluded–a good Holiday-season trade.)

Perhaps someone should check on the world-wide activities of flag-makers and their shipments.  If Country X is seen to be buying an extraordinary amount of Country Y’s flags, it could be that demonstrations will be coming soon.  After all, what good is a ”spontaneous” protest if you don’t burn a flag or two?  Keeping track of the buying of flags may also indicate where the next hot-spot will be.

It is possible that international arms dealers offer a crate of flags with their orders, as an inducement to buy from them? “With every order for 1000 ground-to-air missiles, we will give you 100 flags of your choice.”

But, enough of this frivolity.

All of which suggests that when there are demonstrations in the streets of foreign countries, and the target is another country, journalists should ignore the goings-on. Reporting on Country X’s demonstration against Country Y is only supporting X’s anti-Y campaign.

Come to think of it. Do the increasingly tough sanctions on Iran include restrictions on the sale of American and Israeli flags?

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