A Little Context
This week, the Eastern region of Ethiopia (known as the Somali Regional State) has restored it’s flag. Just to clarify, the region in question is not related to the nation of Somalia (though it does neighbor it), but is just the name of the eastern area of Ethiopia.
The flag was changed by former president Abdi Mohamoud Omar in 2009. Since Abdi’s controversial resignation last month, calls came from the locals to revert back to the former flag. The new government set out to distance themselves from the former regime by switching to the old flag, and changing the official name of the region. Instead of “Ethiopia-Somali Regional State”, the area is now known as “Somali Regional State”. This was clarified in a tweet from the president of the region:
We repeat: there is no contradiction between our Somali nationality and Ethiopian citizenship. We proudly uphold symbols of Somalinimo without abnegating our national responsibility. We are Somali Regional State (SRS): no prefix, no suffix. The original flag returns. pic.twitter.com/tcosIcpCEA
— Mustafa Omer (@Cagjaromer) September 7, 2018
Video of the announcement on Facebook – In Somalian
The Current Flag
There is no official meaning given for any aspects of the flag. However, due to the region’s proximity to the country Somalia, it could be speculated that the blue triangle containing a white star is a nod to the Somalian flag.
The colours of the three horizontal bars of the flag could also be a link to their neighbors. Despite the location of the region in Eastern Africa, the flag uses the pan-arabic colours of green, white and red. This is also found in the flag of Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia.
The Previous Flag
Now for a look at the previous flag, which served the region from 2009-2018.
Former president Abdi’s changes to the flag were minimal. The blue triangle from the current flag was switched to a yellow one, and the star was swapped out for a camel. Again, there is no official information given as to the meaning of the yellow or the camel. However, it can be speculated that they are a reference to Ethiopia’s camel herds, the largest in the world of up to around 2.5 million. The colour gold may represent the sands of the Somali Desert that stretch from Somalia into Ethiopia. Unfortunately, all we can do is speculate.
What do you think of the change? Do you prefer the re-instated flag, or the one that was just removed? Can you offer any thoughts on what the colours and symbols might mean? Then get in touch! Leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you!