Crush the vipers now !
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Martinique : Let's remove the vipers !
For the removal of the four snakes coat of arms emoji which is a symbol of a the transatlantic slave trade, therefore a symbol of a Crime against humanity.
This coat of arms once used by merchant ships to and from the Caribbean islands of St. Lucia and Martinique (including slave ships) is being wrongfully presented as the Martinican flag.
It is not and has never been.
Many people or entities, by sheer ignorance, have been calling this coat of arms the unofficial flag of Martinique. It is not. It is not a flag, let alone our flag and it is not as unofficial as one may think.
This coat of arms is in use, as we speak, in very official settings.
Although it has never been officially designated as Martinican flag, it is on the shield patch the French Armed forces carry on their sleeves. It is floating over some official buildings like police stations or "gendarmeries"(Would you call that unofficial ?)
People from Martinique are French nationals, much like any Parisians. (whether one likes it or not is another matter but the fact remains...)
The official flag of French people is the tricolored Bleu/Blanc/Rouge (blue, white and red) and although people in favour of an independent Martinique would not like it to be presented as our flag, it's a matter of fact that so far, legally, this is the only one we have.
Certain regions of France rock a banner of their own, like Britanny, French Guiana, Corsica, Guadeloupe, but it does take the French Nationality.
However, the misinformation about Martinique's flag has been circulated for quite a while (online and offline) and has led many electronic databases (on top of people in general) to accept and believe (and forward) that lie as being legitimate information.
It is even more true when it comes to electronic content in English regarding the subject.
The Unicode Consortium, responsible for the implementation and management of Emoji and Emoticons worldwide may not have researched the subject before choosing a graphic representation for the island of Martinique's flag. They wouldn't be the only ones. Some of the voting members of that organization have implemented their own graphic take on that coat of arms and forces users from Martinique to display it as their flags. Some users are still unaware of that symbol's true origin and meaning, even in Martinique but as information and local History becomes more and more accessible, a growing number of people get to know facts instead on relying on impressions.
Martinique is a French-Caribbean island. It is not a Nation state
(yet, although part of the population has been asking for independence for a while) but it's part of the State of France. It does have a culture and language of its own besides French and over the years, it went from being nowhere to be found in drop-down menus all over the internet to suddenly popping up in the list of countries (vs being in the list of French Regions but that is another debate altogether).
The point is this : most global scale entities which are responsible for making decisions regarding things like languages which belong (or not) in the international standardized list of languages, places where merchant sites ship to or not, places where you can download an app from or not, places where you can view online content from (or not)and so on, don't even have a clue as to what or where Martinique is.
In early October 2017, we have contacted a few websites identified as having published erroneous information about Martinique and in particular about Martinique's flag.
www.mapsoftheworld.com has sent a short reply indicating their intent of having their editorial team look into the matter. They still have not updated their content. The same goes for www.flags.net or www.worldatlas.com which may come across as reliable information sources. These two did not even bother with a reply. And there are countless others we have not gotten to just yet, who are still displaying inaccurate information about Martinique, its status, its languages, about everything us.
Launching a web search about Martinique in English is basically almost pointless when it comes to facts such as political status, languages, flag(s), local government... In order to get information which are less misleading, you need to use keywords in French or in Martinican (similar to Haitian) such as "Nasyon Matinik" (Martinique Nation), Drapeau Martinique (Martinique's flag), Garcin Malsa (Former mayor of the town of Sainte-Anne with whom the true unofficial flag of Martinique is associated), "écusson gendarmerie Martinique" (Martinique armed forces shield)
Even in French, some misinformation still persists about that matter and because of it, our African-Caribbean children are being fed the lie that this is the symbol they can all rally round.
Because of such websites, entities like the Unicode Consortium, Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung, to only name a few, have made the symbol their default Emoji/Emoticon/Icon visual across the various platforms they own or manage. A growing number of people of Martinican descent or of other origins are voicing their disgust about the choice that was made for them to introduce the use of a Martinique "flag" emoji using this criminal symbol.
The use of the symbol (a white cross against a blue field with a white snake in each quarter) is an insult to the memory of our enslaved ancestors. An insult to us who are still under the colonial thumb of France and the European Union. An insult to all people of African descent, wherever they live. These vipers have been around for too long and now people and organizations are filing legal complaints against the French state for allowing the continued use of this symbol which go against a few Laws against Racist Crimes, Crimes against humanity, encouraging hate crimes (it's illegal to encourage hate crimes and this symbol falls into the category of symbols that do just that).
This symbol must not be what people see or remember when they search for Martinique. Whether or not it is replaced by the French flag or by the unofficial red/green/black flag of people who view themselves as the Martinican Nation is not important. What is important is that you help us remove these vipers (they are lanceheads) and their venom once and for all.
Thank you for your support.
(A similar petition is being circulated in French while several collective legal actions are being launched against France to push for its total removal from official State buildings.)
The Unicode Consortium
Sundar Pichai (ceo at Google)
Michael Gough (VP Design at Microsoft)
David A. Marcus (VP of messaging products at Facebook)
Jonathan Ive (Chief design Officer at Apple)
Jeremy Burge (Emoji Subcommittee Vice-Chair at Unicode Consortium and founder of Emojipedia)
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