At 3,304 and counting, the list of officially recognized emojis includes more than just happy faces, hearts and clinking beer mugs. With certain icons there are politics at play, and even questions about regional pride and sovereignty, as lawmakers in the Canadian province of Quebec made clear in recent days.
For now, there is no official Quebec flag emoji, and so for years, social media users in the French-speaking province have used a similar looking Martinique flag (one that features snakes instead of fleurs-de-lys) as a stand-in.
No offense to Martinique (a French overseas department in the Caribbean sea), but many Quebeckers are saying enough is enough. Stop the injustice!
Multiple petitions have been signed and circulated, and last week the Quebec provincial legislature took up the cause, voting unanimously in favor of a motion to request the creation of an emoji bearing their province's colors, reports TVA Nouvelles.
"In the past, people had a flagpole in front of their house to show their pride. Now, we have social media," argued Pascal Bérubé, the Parti Quebecois legislator who put the motion forward to the Assembly last week.
This happens to come as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated a willingness to assign "nation" status and acknowledge the French linguistic identity of Quebec, reports Le Monde.
Quebec is one of the latest provinces — along with Catalonia in Spain and Brittany in France — to ask for its local flag to be recognized by the Unicode Consortium, the universal authority in charge of choosing which new icon can be added to the emoji alphabet.
Two years ago, the encoding authority already refused another symbol of French Canadian identity: poutine, a popular dish that combines French fries, gravy and cheese. There's hope, nevertheless, that the québécois flag might actually make the cut. After all, even pirates have their own emoji banner.
Pourquoi pas Quebec?