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Red Crystal Flag

Last modified: 2006-01-21 by rob raeside
Keywords: icrc | red cross | cross | red crescent | crescent |
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[Flag of Red Crystal] by Željko Heimer, 11 December 2005

See also:

Introduction to a New Flag

A flag is proposed for use by the ICRC. The red crystal, which is a red diamond with a white diamond in it, is being proposed as the third official symbol of the ICRC, since the red crystal is neutral and is "devoid of any national, religious and cultural connotation and will be available for use by those national societies which do not wish to use any of the existing emblems."
Zachary Harden, 5 December 2005

The idea is that it will be hoisted side by side (and not instead of) the Magen David Adom and only when the Red MD (MADA) is operating outside of Israel. In Israel only the red MD will be used as before.
Dov Gutterman, 5 December 2005

The third protocol emblem or the red crystal is described on the ICRC web site. Regarding the "indicative usage", Article 3 is especially to be highlighted, considering what could be used within the crystal:

a) a distinctive emblem recognized by the Geneva Conventions or a combination of these emblems; or
b) another emblem which has been in effective use by a High Contracting Party and was the subject of a communication to the other High Contracting Parties and the International Committee of the Red Cross through the depositary prior to the adoption of this Protocol.

The symbols covered by the line a) are the red cross, the red crescent and the red lion & sun or any combination thereof (my emphasis!). The text does not imply that only the combinations already in use are valid, but any of them whatsoever, so in theory the symbols consisting of a cross over a lion&sun would be equally valid and, e.g., all three together... However, it seems that, for now, the only combinations that should be expected are the cross and crescent side by side, either cross to the left of the crescent or vice-versa.

The symbol covered by line b) is as far as I am aware only the Magen David Adom and no other and the wording "prior to the adoption" seems to prevent from proliferation of any other symbols in the future. If I am reading the text properly, the MDA would therefore not be among the symbols that could be combined within the crystal with other three symbols in any combination. For example, one is tempted to put all four symbols (cross, crescent, lion&sun and MD) in the four corners of the crystal, but that is not among the possibilities allowed by the Protocol, if I am not mistaken.

The organization did not provide any further construction requirements just as it has not done so with the other three previous symbols not to encourage the breach of the conventions on grounds of misconstruction of the drawings. Anyway, the symbol is described as "a red frame in the shape of a square on edge on a white ground" and it seems that the red crystal emblem is drawn in the annex as a 45° rotated square with the void square of a side equal to the half of the outer square. The size of the emblem within a white flag, nor the flag ratio, as it is the case with previous symbols is not prescribed...

According to this information, there are six new flags to be considered:

[Flag of Red Crystal] by Željko Heimer, 11 December 2005

[Flag of Red Crystal] by Željko Heimer, 11 December 2005

[Flag of Red Crystal] by Željko Heimer, 11 December 2005

[Flag of Red Crystal] by Željko Heimer, 11 December 2005

[Flag of Red Crystal] by Željko Heimer, 11 December 2005

[Flag of Red Crystal] by Željko Heimer, 11 December 2005

The Name "Red Crystal"

It appears careful consideration has been given to the name of the new emblem. In the e-book "Towards a comprehensive solution to the question of the emblem. Revised third edition" (Geneva: ICRC, April 2005), François Bugnion writes:

"[...], it soon appeared that the term "red crystal" presented undeniable advantages: it is identical in all three of the Movement’s statutory languages and in many other languages; it has no negative connotations in any of the numerous languages tested; in French and in English the initials are the same as for the red cross and red crescent; and lastly, crystals are a symbol of purity and transparency, and they bring to mind water, the source of life."

Lots of other interesting information is also available in Bugnion's work which is avialable on-line here:$File/ICRC_002_0778.PDF

Jan Oskar Engene, 12 December 2005