The Refugee Olympic Team is not done giving us some inspirational and reflective moments.
A week after they marched proudly in the Olympic opening ceremony carrying flags emblazoned with the five-ring Olympics logo, they now have their own flag.
Getting a flag for the Refugee Olympic Team which represents displaced people who come from various parts of the world with stories that are heart-rendering at best and scary at worst, could not have been an easy task.
A non-profit called The Refugee Nation, however, stepped up to the plate and commissioned artists to develop a flag and national anthem for the Olympic team that would represent the athletes and the growing number of refugees around the world.
Artur Lipori and Caro Rebello, the co-founders of The Refugee Nation said; “We felt we could do more…We felt they deserved a more unique identity”. The end result of the artist’s work is truly representative of the journey of refugees, especially when they shared their thoughts behind it.
Amsterdam-based Syrian refugee Yara Said who designed the flag said of it;
“If you’ve worn a lifejacket as a refugee, you will feel something when you see this flag…It’s a powerful memory.”
The flag is a banner of bright orange crossed by a single black band—colors that evoke the life jackets so many refugees have worn on their journey to safety.
Said who left Syria shortly after graduating from Damascus University in 2014, embarked on a nearly year-long journey that took her across the sea and into nine different countries before she landed in Amsterdam.
There, she learned of the effort to create a flag for the Olympic team and she admits that the concept came to her immediately. She said that she wanted the flag to be universal and inclusive; “It had to be international…it had to be simple…it had to leave an impression.”
The International Olympics Committee will not permit athletes in the Refugee Olympic Team to wear the flags during competition but The Refugee Nation has distributed thousands of flags around Rio to rally support for the displaced competitors.
They are also circulating a petition to allow the athletes to carry the flag during the Games.