What's 'non-political' about a flag at Eurovision?

Eurovision's official flag policy is still controversial. And I still have some questions.

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  1. Update

  2. 3 May: the Eurovision website published a repackaged policy over the weekend
  3. 29 April: organisers withdrew the 'draft flag policy', with an 'official and final flag policy document' due later on the 29th
  4. How we got here

  5. Ticketholders for Eurovision 2016 found out from their ticketing agency AXS today that the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest has a tighter 'Official Flags Policy' this year.
  6. Official national flags of a UN member state? That's OK. Rainbow and EU flags? It's a little bit more ambivalent than we might expect from the spiritual home of Conchita Wurst. 'Local', 'regional', 'provincial' flags, or 'flags of disputed territories'? Definitely not. And especially not the ISIS flag. Or the Donetsk People's Republic. Or Kosovo.
  7. Earlier today AXS's Eurovision page was also linking directly to the policy. Then I went back at 8.30 pm, and now it isn't. (So there may be an updated version on its way.) I'm commenting on the 28 April version, which... looks like this.
  8. (It's archived here, in case that changes too.)
  9. Like this one.
  10. (So this is one way Eurovision 2016 won't be like the Olympics.)
  11. In other ways, though, it brings Eurovision closer to the policies of Olympic venues and arenas hosting other sports mega-events. But with a side order of LGBT geopolitics.
  12. (I wonder what would happen if someone brought a Romanian flag with a hole in it?)
  13. ((After Romanian public broadcaster defaulted on a debt to the European Broadcasting Union, which organises Eurovision, the EBU withdrew it from all member services. So, as things stand, Eurovision viewers won't be watching this: ))
  14. Ovidiu Anton - „Moment of silence” | Finala Eurovision România 2016
  15. So. About those rainbow and EU flags.
  16. Let's start there, then. What counts as intentionally making a political statement with a flag?
  17. (I probably will ask you this if you take the nationalism module that I teach next year.)
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