Militarization: The Olympic Flag in the Hands of Soldiers

The Olympics can be “a time of new, and renewed, friendships where deeper peace and understanding is forged.” That’s how the Archbishop of Westminster greeted the athletes who had arrived in London from all over the world. To convey this spirit, in the opening ceremony of the Government of Her Majesty did have the flag with the five Olympic circles, a symbol of peace, raised … by a team of 16 British soldiers, chosen from among those most distinguished in recent wars. 

At the head of the squad, made up of soldiers and officers from the three arms of the military, was Tal Lambert, director of communications of Lyneham and Brize Norton Air Bases, used last year in the war against Libya. Among other members of the RAF was Sergeant Suneil Raval, who distinguished himself in the wars in the Balkans and Iraq. Among those in the Navy and Marine Corps was Warrant Officer John Hiscock, who was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his actions in the invasion of Iraq. Among those of the army, Platoon Sergeant Kyle Reains distinguished himself in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he was wounded, and Lance Corporal Josh Rainey, with two dangerous missions in Afghanistan behind him. 

For the military squad to hoist not only the British flag but also the Olympic flag was a highly symbolic gesture: a reaffirmation that the forces of the United Kingdom and other NATO countries do not conduct wars of aggression, but operate in the interest of peace and humanity. It is outrageous that the International Olympic Committee has authorized this choice, which should be banned in any country in the Olympics are held. Equally outrageous is that the international press has ignored it, though they are present in London with thousands of journalists. Their task was to describe the hat worn by Her Majesty at the time when the Olympic flag was hoisted by the soldiers who were renewing the glory of the British Empire. 

il manifesto, July 29, 2012 (Italian original below)

La bandiera olimpica in mano ai militari
– par Manlio Dinucci – 2012-07-30

Possano le Olimpiadi essere «un momento di rinnovata amicizia in cui forgiare la pace»: così l’arcivescovo di Westminster ha salutato gli atleti giunti a Londra da tutto il mondo.
Translated by John Catalinotto

Articles by: Manlio Dinucci

About the author:

Manlio Dinucci est géographe et journaliste. Il a une chronique hebdomadaire “L’art de la guerre” au quotidien italien il manifesto. Parmi ses derniers livres: Geocommunity (en trois tomes) Ed. Zanichelli 2013; Geolaboratorio, Ed. Zanichelli 2014;Se dici guerra…, Ed. Kappa Vu 2014.

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