It’s time for the flags to come down.
I think it’s fine to fly a flag on private property. I’ve personally hung a Ukrainian flag in my window in solidarity with Ukrainians fighting against Russia. Even before 7th October people often hung Palestinian flags in their windows in our area.
However, the issue here is that the Palestinian flags are being flown from public property – mostly on lampposts and in large numbers. The sheer volume of them across the borough and often in prominent places, such as the roundabout outside Victoria Park entrance, makes it look like the council has put them up. It reminds me of when we have state visits from other countries and the Mall and surrounding area fly the flag of a foreign visitor.
The council hasn’t put up these flags, but someone has, and it’s clearly well organised. It worries me that a clearly organised group was able to do this without any repercussions. It also starts to feel intimidating, especially given our MP – Rushanara Ali – had her office threatened due to her voting a certain way in Parliament.
The council needs to take them down, not because we don’t care about Gaza and the Palestinians, but because we care about people here and social cohesion. People will start to remove them, and I fear there will be abuse and violence between those who start to take them down and those who try to stop them. The council could avoid this by removing them.
Finally, it feeds into people outside the Borough (exacerbated by articles in the Telegraph among others) complaining or hurling accusations about what it’s actually like to live here.