Republican Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis has introduced a bill that would ban flying Black Lives Matter flags at US embassies and other diplomatic posts around the world.
The move comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken allowed, but did not mandate, US Embassies and other diplomatic posts to fly BLM flags and banners on the one-year anniversary of the killing of George Floyd on May 25.
Greek-American Rep Malliotakis, along with six other Congresspeople, introduced the Stars and Stripes Act of 2021 which would “restrict the display of certain flags or banners at diplomatic and consular posts around the world” on Friday.
if the bill passes, no “political” flags would be permitted at US diplomatic posts. In a statement to Congress, Malliotakis referenced Secretary of State Blinken’s announcement specifically, saying:
“It is inappropriate for President Biden and Secretary Blinken to authorize and encourage the display of inherently political flags that are in no way affiliated with the U.S. Government over American embassies overseas.”
Malliotakis: “The American flag is a beacon of freedom and hope”
Malliotakis considers the presence of BLM flags at US embassies to be an “insult” to those who have died in battle for the US.
“The American flag is a beacon of freedom and hope for oppressed peoples around the world; it should be the primary flag flown above our embassies and that is what my legislation seeks to accomplish…
“The Administration’s directive is an insult to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our flag and our nation – especially as we head into Memorial Day weekend – and it is absolutely ridiculous that legislation is needed to correct this issue,” Malliotakis expressed.
Co-sponsor Micheal Guest, a Republican from Mississippi, acknowledged the importance of remembering George Floyd’s death, but felt that the display of BLM flags at US embassies was inappropriate.
“The death of George Floyd opened important discussions surrounding police reform in the United States. However, using United States resources to display a non-government organization flag over United States embassies is not permissible,” Congressman Guest stated.
Republican Congressman Darrel Issa, who also introduced the bill, provided a more pointed critique of the Biden Administration.
“The White House may think the American flag is just another banner to be displayed or replaced in foreign capitals when the mood strikes,” said Congressman Issa.
“But this is more than untrue. It’s an emphatic misunderstanding of what this nation represents in every corner of the globe. And it fails to appreciate how our country’s symbols have sustained the hopes of the world in the darkest of hours. This legislation may be necessary, but even more important is for the Biden Administration to take stock of America’s exceptionalism,” he continued.
US Embassy in Athens; US Consulate in Thessaloniki displayed BLM flags
The killing of the 46-year-old father of five shocked the world, and provoked a reckoning with racial justice not only in America but across the planet.
Protests against police brutality and racism were staged in cities around the world, including in front of the US Embassy in Athens, in response to the disturbing video that showed every minute of the horrifying murder of George Floyd.
In a statement published on Facebook, the US Embassy in Athens stated:
“We raise this banner in honor of George Floyd, murdered one year ago today, in solidarity with people around the globe seeking a world without racial discrimination and a future with equal opportunity for all.”
The US Consulate in Thessaloniki has also flown the Black Lives Matter flag to mark the day.
“We raise this flag to mark one year since the murder of George Floyd – we honor Mr. Floyd and stand in solidarity with other nations to advance racial justice, a key priority within U.S. foreign policy #BLM.” read a statement on US Consulate’s twitter account.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorized the display of BLM flags and banners on US embassies around the world to mark the anniversary of Floyd’s murder last Tuesday.
Many activists and US diplomats have celebrated the decision, noting that the death of George Floyd last year shook international confidence in the US’ commitment to human rights and racial justice.
It was expected that Blinken’s authorization of BLM flags would also garner controversy, especially from conservative politicians, who remain distrustful of the BLM movement.