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Rainbow peace flags

Last modified: 2022-04-30 by randy young
Keywords: rainbow | peace | pace | pacifism |
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Editor's note

The rainbow-inspired peace flags that apparently had their inception in 1960s Italy have since spread across the globe, particularly in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the post-9/11 era. This page is intended to index those various national "flavors" of rainbow peace flags.
Randy Young, 15 December 2014

Original Italian pacifist flag

Editor's note: This text is copied verbatim from the Italy - Peace flags page and is included here to provide some context to the overall issue.

I located the original "Italian pacifist flag" used by the non-violent leader Aldo Capitini in the March for Peace in 1961 at . The text is in Italian; here is an English version:

"The first Peace flag is now in Collevalenza, near Todi (town in Central Italy) kept by Dr. Lanfranco Mencaroni, a friend, jail-fellow and collaborator of the pacifist philosopher Aldo Capitini, who invented the March for Peace Perugia-Assisi (the town where St. Francis lived).

The flag was first shown during the first March for Peace, September 24, 1961. It was inspired by the flag of Anglo-Saxon pacifists who marched in Aldermaston for an anti-nuclear protest, led by Bertrand Russell. Mr. Capitini asked some housewives from Perugia, who were friends of him, to sew with all possible speed some coloured stripes to form a flag to be shown during the march.

In the story of the Flood, God puts the rainbow as a seal of his alliance with humans and nature, promising that [there] will never be another Flood. So the rainbow became the symbol of peace between the Earth and Heaven, and, in consequence of that, among all mankind.

The colours of the rainbow are also used as sign of 'unity in difference' for their physical characteristic of becoming white if they are wheeled quickly.

The same definition of 'Peace symbol' given to the flag can date back to the Greek word 'syn-ballo' which means 'to put together,' like the rainbow which puts together everything and everybody.

Moreover, these colours (only five) can be found also in 'the flag of the races,' used by the Civil Rights society founded by the democratic Afro-American leader Jesse Jackson.

The Peace flag was used widely in the 80s during the Peace marches and all Italian demonstrations, as well as in peace initiatives by Italian volunteers abroad (in Sarajevo, in Iraq, in Kosovo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo).

Since September 2002, the Peace flag became the symbol of the campaign 'Pace da tutti i balconi' (= Peace from every balcony) which gained great success in Italy: hundreds of thousands people show the flag from balconies and window-sills to say 'No!' to the conception of preventive war and to war in Iraq."
Paolo Montanelli, 1 March 2003