Saturday, May 01, 2004


I didn’t want to comment on the issue of the new Iraqi flag because I thought it wasn’t really something worth the debate when we face other much more serious challenges and problems. However, the big clamor that this insignificant issue created, and the fact that many readers asked me about my opinion, convinced me to change my mind.

Seriously, I think this should’ve been done a long time ago, when things were more quite to avoid any undesirable side effects. The old flag was not an Iraqi flag. It was the flag of the Arab nationalist and didn’t represent the various components of the complex Iraqi society, and after Saddam had put the holy words on it, it became Saddam’s flag. That fool was obsessed with making his name an immortal one. He did everything he could, spent billions of dollars on his statues, palaces and elsewhere to force people to remember him wherever they turn their heads. He didn’t think that the anger of the Iraqi people would topple all his statues and burn all his pictures in such a short time. Still his flag is there reminding us of him and all his atrocities, therefore it had to go. This is, of course, mainly a psychological issue to declare formally the end of an era with all that represented it.

Most Iraqis had hated that flag a long time ago. The Kurd refused to use it, and many Iraqis were bold enough to take away the holy words from the old flag, but that couldn’t have been generalized and adapted by the authorities, since it would’ve caused unnecessary clashes with the religious groups.

Now to talk more seriously, I would like to discuss the design of the new flag, try to see why it did upset some Iraqis and Arabs, and also I would like to offer my suggestion to solve this critical problem, as I have something I think may help us here.

Yesterday I was discussing with some of my friends the reaction that some 'smart' people signaled among common Iraqi saying that the new flag looked like the Israeli flag and that it was meant to be so! Now honestly I don’t understand those Israeli guys; they give the Gaza strip and the west bank back to the Palestinians, and then they come to buy lands in Iraq (from Al-Jazeera)! And now they are trying to take over our flag, the symbol of our sovereignty!? Hmm..I don’t get it but there should be some huge conspiracy here! I mean come on; we have all the elements of conspiracy here; America and changing an Arab country flag and using blue color!!

One of my friends said that our people care about formalities a lot and that no matter what we think we should put that in consideration. I agreed with him, and as a good and loyal citizen, I tried to work hard on this imagining what flag would represent the Iraqi people and not offend any party.

At first, I thought of the date palm, but this might upset the Kurds, since they don't have it in Kurdistan. Then I thought of one of the symbols of the ancient civilizations in Iraq like the "winged bull", but this will be hard for the children to draw. Then there is the issue of colors; I mean we hated black, red and we were not allowed to use blue!

Enough to say that it was an extremely difficult challenge, and I had to come up with a design that not only should be acceptable to all Iraqis, but should also help in solving our problems and ensure our peace and prosperity, I mean that’s what a real flag should serve.
I spent long hours searching and thinking, facing dead ends all the time, but you know me, I’m resourceful! And all of a sudden came this design that I recall seeing it in a cartoon when I was a kid, and it looked just perfect. It has all what is needed; it’s easy to draw, it’s peaceful, it has no religious or ethnic symbol and it has no blue color on it! Is it just luck or is it creativity!? I don’t know but here it is for you to judge.

p.s. in case this flag was not accepted by my fellow citizens, then it remains at the reach of any poor and oppressed nation who suffer from civil war, famine or SARS to use it to solve all its problems, and I will be honored to serve humanity anywhere.

-By Ali.

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