"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Friday, March 19, 2010

That should do it!

Southern Movement?  Solved.

ADEN, March 19 (Saba)- The biggest flag of Yemen was ever made in Aden province in preparation to celebrate the National Day on May 22.

Head of the local council of Tawahi district in Aden Mohammed al-Jobari said to Saba that the flag is 75 meters long and 8 meters wide and its flagpole is 20 meter tall.

The Republic of Yemen was established on May 22, 1990, with the merger of North Yemen and South Yemen.

On May 22, 1990, President Saleh raised the first flag of the Republic of Yemen in the city of Aden to officially declare the re-unification of Yemen.

To give you some perspective on how large a flag that is, think about it like this: that is a really, really big flag.

Flags are symbols, of course, and I can kind of understand the meaning behind this.  A giant flag of a unified Yemen will show the world that the fragile country is still whole and proud, despite a few rabble-rousers and sabotuers.   But still- if you are a southerner inclined to support the goals of the movement, and are influenced by its rhetoric, doesn't this just seem to be a provocation?   An enormous symbol of the oppressor, of colonialism, the marking of a state you no longer wish to be a art of, casting massive shadows over your putative capital. 

I don't want to overstate this (ok, I do, but am restraining myself).  Little things add up, and I don't think anyone doubts the power of iconography.  I am just a little worried about a collective mindset that would think this is either meaningful, or- worse- useful.

The second link goes to a Nasser Arrabyee article about arrests in the south.  Crimes such as smashing car windows near a public school have people arrested as secessionists.  They might be, but there is the unmistakable air of a larger, and ultimately self-defeating, broader crackdown.

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