- Running on empty: EPA slashes biofuel goals because of ethanol shortage
- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
Fight rages over Kyrgyzstan’s flag
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — It’s blood red with a yellow sunburst in the center that’s covered by the top opening of a yurt - and it’s the focus of fierce debate in this Central Asian nation.
Kyrgyzstan’s flag has flown for 20 years since the country’s independence from the former Soviet Union - a tangible representation of the people’s history, heritage and pride, full of symbolism and meaning.
There’s the rub.
“State symbols are sacred for us, protected by law, and never should be the object of argument and discord,” says Abdyrahman Mamataliev, who heads a commission that is examining the issue of changing the flag.
“But now there are a lot of disputes. Part of the population doesn’t accept the flag. We need a flag that the whole nation can unite under, a flag we can be proud of.”
Part of the debate centers on what the flag’s symbols mean.
The crossed lines over the yellow sunburst represent the view through a tunduk, the chimneylike opening in the traditional tent known as a yurt.
The flaming yellow sun and red background are symbols of Manas, an ancient warrior hero of Kyrgyz legend who fought off foreign invaders and then conquered neighboring tribes.
Home, light and the blood of the people - symbols for these ideals can be seen in many flags, not just Kyrgyzstan‘s. But some Kyrgyz citizens see more in the symbols than others.
For playwright Mar Baygiev, symbols relating to Manas are inappropriate for modern Kyrgyzstan - a nation of 5.5 million people that includes Uzbeks, Uighurs, Dongans and other ethnic groups conquered by the epic hero.
“Why is it not blue sky but blood that is seen through the tunduk?” says Mr. Baygiev, a member of the flag-changing commission. “It is said that Manas had a red flag, but that was his personal battle flag for wartime, not a national one.”
He also is no fan of the presidential emblem, which depicts a mountain range on the back of an eagle. “And the bird on the insignia looks more like a chicken than an eagle,” he says.
Some critics say the flag’s red field represents communism and the yellow looks like a sunflower, which is regarded as a symbol of dependence because the plant turns toward the sun as it moves across the sky - a visual reminder of Kyrgyzstan’s historical dependence on Russia.
Others take issue with the flag’s crimson background and the turbulent, if not violent, history it represents.
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Russian bombers buzz U.K. airspace; jets scrambled to chase off 'Bears'
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- ISTOOK: Obama's sleight of hand hides hidden government's work
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014