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Azerbaijan: Baku welcomes the world's highest flag… and a strong wind

source: http://raufray.wordpress.com/

source: http://raufray.wordpress.com/

After the significant expense of participating in the Eurovision song contest and holding the annual Flower Festival, oil-rich Azerbaijan keeps on surprising the world. Last week, for example, the world's highest flag was hoisted in the capital, Baku.

According to news reports, and confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records, the flag flies on a pole 162 meters high and measures 70 by 35 meters. The whole structure weighs in at 220 tons, with the flag itself a staggering 350 kilos.

The project was developed by the US firm, Trident Support, and executed by Azerbaijan’s Azenko company.

However, while major international news outlets such as the BBC and Euronews covered the inauguration of the multi-million dollar project, the fate which befell the flag was not widely reported. Even the world's highest flag, beating the previous record holder in North Korea, was unable to stand up to Baku's strong wind.


Bayraq Endirme
Uploaded by soganbas. – Explore lifestyle, fashion, and DIY videos.

YouTube, DailyMotion, Facebook and blogs instead told and commented on the story. One was d'Effektiv which posted video of the flag two days after it was hoisted and damaged, sarcastically noting that a replacement flag also met the same fate.

Gecə güclü küləyin təsirindən şappıldayan bayrağın səsinə bir neçə dəfə oyanıb baxdım bayrağa. Yaxşı görünürdü Bakı küləyində dalğalanan bayraq.

Hələ bayraq rəsmi olaraq ucaldılmazdan əvvəl dəfələrlə məşq prosesinə baxmışdım və fikirləşirdim ki, görəsən bu böyüklükdə bayrağı Bakının küləyində saxlayacaq dirəyin mühəndislik işi hansı səviyyədədir.

[...]

Amma səhər işə tərəf addımlayarkən yarıya endirilmiş bayrağı artıq deşilmiş və ətəyinin cırılmış olduğunu gördüm. Bəlkə də bu normal hal olardı(dır) əgər bayraq 3 ilə, bir xeyli insanın yaşayış və iş yeri bahasına, bu qədər səs-küylü açılış və reklam, bir topa da pul bahasına başa gəlməsəydi. Çünki yanından keçdiyim insanlar bayrağa baxıb pıçıldaşır, başlarını bulayır, ciddi nəzərlə bunu müzkirə edirdilər. İşə gəldim və email zənciri də bundan bəhs edirdi. Müharibənin başlama xəbəri, zəlzələ, ADNA-da terror zamanı da ətrafımdakı insanlar təxminən eyni reaksiyanı vermişdilər. Bilmirəm niyə… Amma təəssüflənənlər az idi. Bilirəm niyə…

[...]

Elə bilməyin ki, bu fövqəladə vəziyyət nəzərə alınmamışdı və yedək bayraq nəzərdə tutulmamışdı. Tutulmuşdu, amma bir “balaca” hesablama səhvi ilə. İkinci bayraq da elə qaldırmamışdan cırıldı. Özü də birincidən daha faciəvi vəziyyətdə.

I occasionally would wake up to the flapping sounds of the flag from the strong wind. You could clearly see it waving.

I watched the rehearsals preceding inauguration of the flag and wondered how durable the engineering of the flagpole was to hold this enormous flag in the Baku wind.

[...]

However, as I was walking to work I saw the flag at half-mast, torn and in holes. Perhaps that would be normal if that flag didn't take three years at the expense of the people, and if the pompous opening ceremony and publicity didn't cost a handful of money. People passing me were also looking at the flag and whispering, shaking their heads in disapproval as well as discussing this very seriously. People reacted to this the same way as they do to the news about the start of a war, an earthquake or terror in the Oil Academy. I do not know why, but there were few people to regret it too. Actually, I do know why…

[...]

Don't you think this emergency and the replacement flag was not foreseen? It was considered,  but with one “minor” oversight. The second flag was also torn, and even more tragically than the first.


Yedek bayragi qaldirma cehdi
Uploaded by soganbas. – See video of the biggest web video personalities.

Another Azerbaijan-based political-satirical blog, Əqrəb blog [AZ], also posted photos and wrote about the flag in a number of  posts saying that the cost was not justifiable only to find out that it would be torn, damaged and hauled down two days later.

Dünən 2 şəhidin dəfn günü Bakıda “Bayraq meydanı”nda uzundraz və 30 milyon nuş edən bayrağın açılışı oldu. Bu gün isə Bakı küləyi bu haqsızlıqlara dözməyib Bayrağımızı nuş etdi.

Yesterday, on the funeral day of two martyrs, there was an opening ceremony of the ginormous flag in “Flag Square” which ate away some 30 million dollars. Today, the Baku wind could not tolerate such an injustice and ate our flag away instead.

The videos of the damaged flag were re-posted on Facebook and the reaction of many young Azerbaijanis was negative. Indeed, for the three days following the damage, many  Facebook status lines were about it.

Some speculated that that the flag was specially erected prior to Russian President Medvedev's visit to Baku with the intent to flaunt the economic power of Azerbaijan in front of Russia and neighboring countries.

Others argued that it was wrong for the event to be held just before parliamentary elections scheduled for the beginning of November.

Although there were also those who felt pride, many were irritated by what they saw as the unreasonable expense wasted on the flag, especially as the minimum monthly salary, they noted, was insufficiently increased just days earlier.

It now stands at 85 AZN (about €82).

  • http://almiraatblog.wordpress.com/ Hisham

    Thank you for this excellent post. In Morocco we had our own largest flag in the world, ostensibly spread over 60,000+ square meters. The ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life (http://bit.ly/cd6V5G). I think it has to do with undemocratic regimes desperately seeking legitimacy and support. I guess there’s also something primitively phallic about it.

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  • http://www.kulsat.com Nurettin Küçükmotor

    Sizi ürəkdən, könüldən təbrik edirəm …
    Dost, karedeş ölkə Azarbeycan …
    hele Nigar əlində türk bayrağını daşıması məni çox duyğulandı və hətta ağlatdı.
    Bu səhnə iki ölkə xalqlarının bir-birlərinə bağlılıq və yakınlıklarının ən gözəl göstəricisi oldu.
    mən bir teatr oyunçusu, rejissoru və prodüseri olaraq sizlərə ürəkdən təşəkkür edirəm …

    Nurəddin Küçükmotor
    (Actor-Drector)

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