The ongoing controversy over Confederate emblems in wake of a deadly white nationalist rally in Virginia isn't confined to the United States.
The ongoing controversy over Confederate emblems in wake of a deadly white nationalist rally in Virginia isn't confined to the United States. In Ireland, the Cork County Board has called for supporters of the local Gaelic Athletic Association teams to stop flying the Confederate flag at games, according to the Irish Examiner.
The flag was spotted in the crowd on Sunday during Cork's All-Ireland hurling semifinal loss to Waterford, but it's actually not unusual to see it flown by Cork GAA fans.
“The flying of the confederate flag in Croke Park on Sunday is something which must be addressed,” board chairman Ger Lane said, according to the Irish Examiner. “Now, it must also be taken in the context of there being 72,022 people there and only a few flags. That said, people bringing flags into the ground, maybe some do it in ignorance, maybe some do it not in ignorance. The Cork County Board would advise anybody with any knowledge of people with these flags not to bring them in, education is needed. The board and the executive condemn outright the use of the confederate flag and ask people to refrain to bring it to any ground in the future.The only flag is the red and the white one with the Cork emblem on it.”
Cork supporters appear to fly the flag because of its colors, which resemble the Cork GAA's red and white. Fans also routinely display other flags with Cork GAA colors, such as the American flag, Turkish flag and even the Rising Sun of imperial Japan. But supporters' use of the flag is under renewed scrutiny after last weekend's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., where Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and white nationalists marched to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. A number of marchers flew Confederate and Nazi flags. One counterprotester was killed and several people were injured after a white nationalist drove his car into a crowd.
It's entirely possible, of course, that Cork supporters are completely unaware of what the flag symbolizes. (After all, many Americans are likewise ignorant of the flag's history.) But whatever the intentions of GAA fans, the flag first represented a government founded explicitly on white supremacy and later became a symbol of segregation. It still has many defenders in America—you'll even see it on Mississippi's state flag—but it's rooted in racism, both of the past and the present. Cork GAA fans can surely find another flag to match the team's colors.