La adopción de una nueva bandera no ha acabado con las divisiones en la sociedad iraquí. La bandera anterior, con las tres estrellas verdes, sigue siendo usada por una parte de la población como símbolo de protesta y rebeldía.
New Iraqi flag causes more division
By Basil Adas, Correspondent
Published: April 12, 2008, 00:39
Baghdad: Since the adoption of the present Iraqi flag, in which the three stars were deleted, many Iraqi cities have been using two flags, the old and the new.
Some years before, the words "God is the greatest" on the flag were also replaced with Kufic script instead of the handwriting of executed President Saddam Hussain.
In the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, some ministries still use the old flag, while at the Council of Ministers headquarters the new one is raised.
People in some districts, including the Shiite neighbourhoods of Sadr and Shua'ala, are still raising the old flag of the dissolved Ba'ath Party at public events.
"In recent protest marches in the Sadr neighbourhood against the arrests of some residents, we raised the old Iraqi flag with the three stars, although we don't support the Ba'ath Party.
"I think it is people's reaction against the way the new Iraqi flag was adopted, particularly because of the hardline position by the Kurds against the old flag," said Sa'ad Al Tahlakani, a resident.
In Sunni cities such as Fallujah, Samarra , Haditha, Balad, Qhaim and Ramadi, official institutions raise the old flag despite the new flag law which was enacted a while ago.
In some isolated Shiite cities people also still hoist the old flag on national occasions because they don't have the new one yet.
Mustafa Al Raba'a, a Shiite Iraqi citizen from Maysan province, told Gulf News: "The old flag reflects Iraq's solidarity with Arab nations which is important for Iraqi citizens. The new flag was imposed on us by strong political parties."
On the other hand, Raed Al Falluji told Gulf News: "I am an Iraqi citizen and Sunni. I endorse the new flag because the old one reminds me of the endless military service during Saddam's rule. Each male citizen had to complete ten to fifteen years of military service. It was a flag of wars, problems and tragedies for all Iraqis, but the new flag symbolises a new era, a new dawn for Iraq."
According to sources in Iraqi government circles it has been recommended that one million flags be manufactured and distributed. This will encourage Iraqi's to adopt the new flag. Meanwhile, the procedure for withdrawing the old flag is moving fast.
Schools located in Sunni districts in Baghdad such as Dora, Saydia, Ghazalia, Jaamia, Palestine Street and Fadhil are still raising the old Iraqi flag, unlike schools in Shiite neighbourhoods which hoist the new flag.
Sawsan Al Kudhari, a school teacher, told Gulf News: "I think the division at schools, especially on flag-raising day, is because the Ministry of Education can impose the new flag in Shiite neighbourhoods with the help of political parties in the government, but these parties have no influence in Sunni neighbourhoods."
The Sunni Accord Front is one of the largest political parties still determined to raise the old Saddam flag, in sharp contrast to the Shiite coalition parties led by Abdul Aziz Al Hakeem which insist on raising the new flag.
In the Kurdish region of Iraq the new Iraqi flag and the Kurdish flag are used.