The Sacred Flag of Mexico

The following is a rewrite of the post, which was a rambling, overly grandiose waffle. I was very tired…

America’s freedom of speech and expression versus the sacred pride of Mexico. Daryl Cagle’s cartoon, which I first found on the excellent Mi Blog Es Tu Blog, has stirred controversy. Even making it to the front page of a couple of Mexican newspapers. Mexicans are very proud of their flag, and there are laws protecting in. Within Mexico, anyway.

I too have issues with the freedom of speech and expression that is permissible in the US. Views, as in more than one view. And some of them are contradictory. Such is the complexity of society. Such is life. On one hand, by providing a lawful platform for hate mongers, racists, homophobes, sectarianism, xenophobia and bigotry in general, US legislation contributes to the continuation of ‘stupid’ and impedes on the freedoms of other people each and every day.

Then again, I like and respect the American approach to freedom. Put it all out there. Say what you want. People will learn not to be so easily offended. With all the information available, good, bad and ridiculous, people can make up their own minds. It avoids the impossible task of trying to determine where lines must be drawn, and protects society from those lines being moved by those in power for their own ends.

Drawing lines is a risky, complex even impossible mission. Yet I prefer the ideal of ‘responsible speech’, where people can be held directly accountable for what they say, which does involve drawing lines and deciding what is and what is not acceptable. I cannot, however, ever agree to a line being drawn in a society that would prohibit this cartoon.

Daryl Cagle is an excellent cartoonist who produces witty and intelligent artwork that inspires and instigates intelligent debate and discussion. I support his right to create such a cartoon, and have posted it below for you to enjoy. If you are Mexican, I cannot stop you from being offended, if you so wish. Because it is a choice you make, to be offended or not. And I won’t not post this cartoon to avoid offence.

But it isn’t my intention to deliberately offend you. It is simply my intention to state where I stand on the issue, and maybe, hopefully, to start a conversation about it. The cartoon is powerful symbol of what is happening in parts of Mexico. And that, not the rights or wrongs of drawing a shot eagle, is what should be up for discussion.


26 thoughts on “The Sacred Flag of Mexico

  1. Nez says:

    Ahem….*taps mic*

    I’m Not offended.

    But seeing as most mexicans seem to like reminding me that I’m “not REALLY Mexican” because of my birthplace, perhaps my opinion doesn’t count as much. I AM Proud of my roots though and have certainly been inculcated with a pride for my flag (which I have TWO..the Mexican and the American one), thus I think I can understand why many other Mexicans would find such a cartoon offensive. I don’t necessarily agree with them though. If it were created to offend and give a message of hate, then I certainly wouldn’t appreciate it. It’s Not trying to do that though. It’s trying to give a message of the current state of affairs in Mexico. I do understand though that Mexicans have no problem in criticizing their own country and being open about its flaws, but its one thing for “us” to do it…and another for someone else to do it as well. That can be a Big no-no. Then again, I don’t think we’d (they’d) allow a fellow compatriot to depict our flag in that way either….(you know our history of controversies when dealing with our flags and how they’re depicted).

    What was my point?

    Ahh yes…Mexicans are protective of the Mexican flag. It’s the next worst thing to criticize, right after our mami’s.

    As long as it’s not done to offend or incite hatred/prejudice/injustice….I’m good. We should instead acknowledge cartoons like these and engage in open dialogue about what it really means and how it connects to the events happening in our society. Being defensive and not willing to acknowledge our problems isn’t going to get us anywhere.


  2. I imagine most Mexicans won’t be offended by either my post or the cartoon. But there’s always some…

    And yep, there’s an awful lot of hypocrisy at work with the powers that be, both in Mexico, the US and elsewhere!


  3. I don’t think it was the cartoon, so much as the cartoonist, that has upset Mexican nationals. I seem to recall Mexican cartoonists using the dead eagle theme before… although not in connection with la bandara nacional. Appearing a week before the bicentennial — when we’re all going to be drawn into an orgy of nationalist symbolism — was bad timing, and seen as insensitive and typical of the media from the nationality still called “los invasores” in much of Mexico.

    Of course, my comment on the cartoon was to ask if it was a reference to U.S. gun laws (or, rather, the lack thereof).


    • I’m sure you’re right. We had this debate, sort of, last Christmas when I declared in a post title ‘Why I hate Mexicans….today’ – wasn’t so much what I said, but who I was. The debate turned a bit spicy nearer the bottom of the comments.

      I would say it was unfortunate timing. Judging from the subsequent comments by the cartoonist, he seems pretty surprised at the reaction and clearly didn’t understand how some people might take it.


      • And still trying?! Silly boy. I’ve added your IP to the Comments Blacklist. Now you’ll have to use another PC on another line. It’s a lot more work for you to get a spam comment here than it is for me to delete it and ban the new IP!


    • Still trying? Akismet is now picking your comments up as the spam they are, and sending them direct to the trash can.

      You can try and navigate past the filters, but I still get a notification for comments, and I’m still going to delete your comments.

      Grow up and give it up.


  4. The cartoon is bitterly accurate. But Mexico’s drug war violence is nothing new. And that is the pity. Independent Mexicans have been killing one another over politics and its associated power elements for two centuries. It is one reason why the nation is grounded in a today mentality. Why worry about the future when it is likely to deliver another pitcher of tears? Instead of getting incensed over the flag insult, I wish my neighbors would be just as angry about what violence has done to their culture — and future.


    • I was discussing stereotypes with a student the other day. He told me how Mexicans are, in stereotype form, sort of.

      Some ladies are taking boxes of crabs to the market. They all have lids on their boxes to stop the crabs from climbing on top of each other and getting out. Except for one lady. No lid on her box. When asked why not, she replied that they were Mexican crabs. If any crab got close to getting to the top, the others would all pull it back down.


  5. Kim G says:

    As an American, I am offended by your spelling of the word, “offense.”


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we take spelling quite seriously, thank you very much.


    • Heh heh! Just you make sure you use your spell checker Mr K, because I’ll be waiting for you to trip up and make a mistake…..I’ll be watching! 🙂

      It’s ironic. I came to Mexico to teach English, and that’s just what I’ve been doing for more than five years. Yet my own use of the English language has deteriorated. I’ve been exposed to American English a lot, so I’ve picked up some Americanized spellings. Which would be fine, if I were consistent. But I’m not. I’ll regularly use British and american spellings in a single sentence.

      I’ve also picked up some of the more frequently spoken mistakes that my students inflict on me. I’ve told people where the dangerous areas in DF are, and where the safety areas are, more than once. I always correct my students – safe areas. Then fail to correct myself.


      • Adriana says:

        Wait.. you go to Mexico and teach? yet you are the one disrespecting the country that is willing to give you a chance to have a job because for some reason you can’t work in your own country?

        Did you even vote???


      • I can work in my own country if I so wish. Indeed, I gave up a job in the UK paying four or five times what I earn here.

        Mexico is willing to ‘give me a chance’? I think you’ll find my skills are not only in demand in Mexico, but there is a general shortage of native English speaking teachers in key areas of the country. Perhaps Mexico should be grateful I came?

        I’m disrespecting the country? I don’t think so. I haven’t met any Mexicans who think so either. Of course, offline, I don’t hang around with uninformed, ignorant Mexicans.

        Did I vote? In the UK general election? You could use the search facility of my blog to find out.

        So anyway, did you have a point you wished to make? Or are you just wasting time?


  6. Pingback: Daryl Cagle, Mexican Flags, Shot Down Eagles | The Mexile

  7. Vato Loco says:

    People should learn to make fun of themselves.

    This reminds of that episode of south park about the cartoon of mohammed, and the later revenge of al quaeda


  8. Obet says:

    The cartoon doesn’t offend me at all. In fact I think is a good cartoon. Sometimes I don’t understand to my fellow Mexicans and “our” Mexican mentality and some of “our” traditional pespective about México and our history. After all it’s just a cartoon, not a burning Mexican flags festival or something. In plenty XXI century its unbelievable for me still find people with the skin so thin…anything offends them.

    A lot of very cheap nationalism abound in this country lately. Take it easy compadres.


  9. Pingback: The Zocalo’s Bicentenario Party | The Mexile

  10. Name Moderated says:

    [deleted profanity] el aguila de la bandera de mexico sacrificada [deleted profanity]

    Moderation note: Once I’d removed the foul language, there wasn’t much left of your comment, was there? I don’t often censor comments, but if you want to make a point, make it using more intelligent vocabulary please.


  11. Josh A. says:

    If mexicans are so proud of there flag, don’t expect them to say a cartoon like that is not offensive, I’m Mexican and I’m not offended by this cartoon but it’s understandable other people are, like think if a cartoon of the American Flag was drawn or a cartoon of the German flag or any other flag I really don’t think they would like that


    • I’ll have to speak for my own country, the UK, rather than Germany or the US. But I cannot remember ever seeing a story expressing outrage about any cartoons done featuring the Union Jack. I don’t think anyone even gets terribly upset when it’s burnt in the streets in various places around the world. Of course, that’s happened so many times it’s probably long lost and shock factor it ever had…


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