After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Flagging at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Collage of the new versus the old Iraqi flag by Konfused Kid

Iraq has a new national flag. Some people may say that flags are really not important, but for Iraq it is big deal. Every new regime has sought to cement its presence through the national symbol. And this government is no exception. So what do Iraqi's really think and were the media right? And, if you read to the end, find out what design the Iraqi blogger collectively agreed upon.

But first, if you watch no other video blog this week see this one:

Alive in Baghdad continues its essential role, bringing the story of an Iraqi family that had to deal with the kidnap of their child. With the total breakdown of security in Iraq, kidnapping is a problem that faces all Iraqi families - we hear so much in the news yet nothing can bring home the devastation of kidnapping more than hearing directly from the families that were directly affected.

AIB writes:
In 2006 Baghdad became a nightmare, more then 200 being kidnapped every day in Baghdad by gangs and militias. ... Some families travel every morning to the morgue, looking for their fathers, brothers, or other relatives, because in many cases though the family pays a ransom to the kidnapper they never received their loved one, so they go desperately searching for a corpse, and there are many kidnapped people who, to this moment, have never been found.

Well, this time the media has got it so wrong

Bloggers from all sides of the political spectrum were incensed by the way the media reported the new flag. Nibras Kazimi's blood boiled:
I'm happy about the flag change ... but reading the papers this morning still managed to get my blood to boil....

It’s funny how the western media is so ignorant about the history of the flag that had just been changed. The three stars do not refer to the tenets of Baathism, rather they represent a proposed union between Egypt, Syria and Iraq....

The western media is also neglecting to mention that choosing a new flag and national anthem is mandated in Iraq’s new constitution

And Baghdad Treasure was really irritated:
The American news outlets changed the facts about the former flag. They attributed the flag to Saddam Hussein... the flag was basically chosen before Saddam came to power. ...

The other thing is that all American newspapers and websites insisted that the three stars symbolized the three Baath Party goal ... they did not. ... Unsurprisingly, the US media did not have the guts to mention that fact. Instead, they insisted on misinforming their audience by saying these three [stars] represented Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party goals.

One blogger is happy

Nibras Kazimi likes the new flag but not without reservations. He writes:
I am happy about the temporary change to the flag: it opens up the possibility of future, more dramatic changes. I don’t like the Allahu Akbar (‘God is Great’) slogan on it and what its colors represent, but parliament ruled that the change would be temporary and would last a year.

The rest... hate it

Layla Anwar expresses her anger in poetry:
Look what they’ve done to our flag, ma.

They turned it upside down, ma.

Tied it up and threw it to the grounds, ma...

Look what they’ve done, ma...

They have invaded us, occupied us, killed us, destroyed our country, our history, our heritage, our people, humiliated us, pillaged us, plundered us, impoverished us, divided us, tortured us, raped us, imprisoned us, exiled us and now they changed our flag.

Look what they’ve done to us, our country and flag, ma...

Zappys Iraqi Flag
And Zappy is in denial He changed his blog banner and sidebar and wrote:
See the Flag ... on the right? This the flag I was raised under, and thats the only flag I know about.

Nadia n writes:
It's somehow incredibly fitting to me that, contrary to what the articles said, the part that was kept is the only part that actually was Saddam's doing... [the adding of the words "Allahu Akbar"]. What else stopped in 2003: not corruption, persecution, poverty, or killing, so why not keep that little bit consistent too if this really is the flag of Iraq 2008. Is there any better statement of absurdity than to put God's name on all of this bullshit they expect them to swallow? Any better summary of the audacity of the last five years? As if God needs to be associated for these sociopaths and apologists, like he doesn't already have enough working in his name. No wonder he left us.

Baghdad Treasure simply hates the new design:
So the Iraqi people woke up today to find out their flag has been changed! But what a horrible change! The new flag is dull. Just red, white, black and dark green. They should have either changed the whole thing, or kept the original. They removed the stars and left what Saddam has already put! The “Allahu Akbar” inscription. The only thing they did is they changed the handwriting of Saddam into the Kufi calligraphy. The main idea of having “Allahu Akbar” is still there! And who put it? Saddam!! So have they really removed Saddam’s imprint from it?

The legitimacy of the vote was also questioned.Konfused Kid writes, "the Iraqi parliament today approved a new interim design to be approved for one year with a majority of 110 out of 275, 100 MPs were absent from the session." While Salam Adil (that's me) wonders about the politics behind the new design:
This flag represents a humilliating defeat for Kurdish chauvinism - with Turkey breathing down their necks the Kurds have realised they only have two choices. Be a part of a united Iraq or a poor suburb of greater Turkey. They desperately needed a standard that they could hoist to warn off the Turkish army that is massed on the Northern border. Hence the compromise on the new flag. But what a compromise. Gone is any sign of the Kurdish symbol, the yellow sun, but instead they agreed to a flag that bore the Arab and Islamic colours. Oh dear.

And Finally...

Iraqi bloggers had their own fiery discussion on the design of the new flag. Konfused Kid was pleased to report that the discussion ended in a consensus:
we all came to the conclusion that the best Iraqi flag is this:

Grendizer Flag by Konfused Kid

After all, Good old Greendizer is really loved by all Iraqis, even the fake ones, mu baba?


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