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Quebec's Latest Demand For Recognition: An Emoji

Quebec's Latest Demand For Recognition: An Emoji
Clémence Guimier

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 offleurs-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?

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Smaller Allies Matter: Afghanistan Offers Hard Lessons For Ukraine's Future

Despite controversies at home, Nordic countries were heavily involved in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan. As the Ukraine war grinds on, lessons from that conflict are more relevant than ever.

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HELSINKI — In May 2021, the Taliban took back power in Afghanistan after 20 years of international presence, astronomical sums of development aid and casualties on all warring sides.

As Kabul fell, a chaotic evacuation prompted comparisons to the fall of Saigon — and most of the attention was on the U.S., which had led the original war to unseat the Taliban after 9/11 and remained by far the largest foreign force on the ground. Yet, the fall of Kabul was also a tumultuous and troubling experience for a number of other smaller foreign countries who had been presented for years in Afghanistan.

In an interview at the time, Antti Kaikkonen, the Finnish Minister of Defense, tried to explain what went wrong during the evacuation.

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“Originally we anticipated that the smaller countries would withdraw before the Americans. Then it became clear that getting people to the airport had become more difficult," Kaikkonen said. "So we decided last night to bring home our last soldiers who were helping with the evacuation.”

During the 20-year-long Afghan war, the foreign troop presence included many countries:Finland committed around 2,500 soldiers,Sweden 8,000,Denmark 12,000 and Norway 9,000. And in the nearly two years since the end of the war, Finland,Belgium and theNetherlands have commissioned investigations into their engagements in Afghanistan.

As the number of fragile or failed states around the world increases, it’s important to understand how to best organize international development aid and the security of such countries. Twenty years of international engagement in Afghanistan offers valuable lessons.

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