After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Iraqi Flag - oh dear

I recently went to a talk by a professor from Baghdad University who has been in Iraq under Saddam and under the occupation. He compared times then to now. And what was a recurring theme was just how like Saddam in tactics and all the new sectarian parties are. The only difference is that they are more corrupt and more illiterate.

And in a way this sums up the new flag - the parliament removed a symbol that pre-dated Saddam and simply moulded the bit he did add in their own image. So instead of the "Allahu Akbar" phrase being in Saddam's handwriting it is now in the governing council's collective illiterate handwriting. I mean, for goodness sake, Iraq is home to the best calligraphers in the Arab world, and they made the text look like it an amature scrawl.

But that is not the significant point. 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.


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