Published February 20, 2009
Former Grapevine Editor Valur Gunnarsson explains the colour schemes he employs in his piece on the Rainbow Revolution, and why he calls it that.
Red: Usually denotes Socialists, who have their own party, Rauður vettvangur. Though few in numbers, they have large flags that have been very apparent at the Saturday protests. Can also indicate the current Red-Green coalition, though this does not include the hard-core socialists.
Green: Here, as elsewhere, green indicates nature conservationists. Although Greens as such were not very apparent in the recent revolution, many protesters, particularly anarchists, first cut their chops protesting against the Kárahnjúkar dam. Green is also used by current government party The Left-Greens.
Blue: Traditionally the colour of Royalty, here the party colour of the Independence Party. Those that wore blue armbands during the protests were not, however, IP members, but off duty policemen who had cut their old police shirts into ribbons. They were mainly protesting against violence.
Black: The anarchists wave black flags and also, for the most part, wear black clothes, covering their faces with hoods. The anarchists not only want to change the government, but to do away with it completely. Their latest ploy to that end is to lie to polltakers, and hence disrupt the system from within.
White: On the evening of January 23rd, white strings had been tied to every lamppost downtown. What this indicated became apparent the next day, when a group called Nýtt lýðveldi (New Republic) announced its existence at the Saturday protests. The group demands an extra-Parliamentary government and a new constitution. Some of their demands have been met, as two of the new Ministers are non-political experts, and a new constitution is set to be written this year.
Pink: Used by feminists, in this case The Women’s Emergency Government. For a while, even the statue of founding father Jón Sigurðsson was spotted wearing pink. The 500 krónur. bill that bears his mug is, after all, pink-ish. The WEG wanted an extra-parliamentary government, made up of as many women as men. The current government actually abides by this demand. The WEG officially became a political party on January 29th, and will, ironically enough, run against the country’s first female Prime Minister. Writer Hallgrímur Helgason is a fan. Pink is also used by gays, for example on the cover of protest organiser Hörður Torfason’s new biography.
Orange: Those who want to overthrow the government by non-violent means, such as banging on pots and pans. Taken by some to mean simply being against violence. Why Orange? This was not a reference to the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, much less Holland or Protestants in Northern Ireland. Orange was initially meant to be the colour of a website run by the grassroots movements who have their headquarters on Borgartún. Why? “Because all the other colours are taken,” said one of the arrangers.
Yellow and Brown: Perhaps you should watch Reservoir Dogs again, to see why those two colours remain unpopular when colour coding.