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Misuse of National Flag Causes a Stir in Tajikistan

The controversial photo. Image by Ahrullo Dadaboev, used with permission.

Controversial photo of the Tajik flag. Image by Ahrullo Dadaboev, used with permission.

An image of a Tajik flag thrown on the ground and used as an improvised dustpan is causing a stir among social media users in Tajikistan. Ahrullo Dadaboev, the person who took the photo and posted it on Facebook, said a street cleaner had used the flag to collect trash in Khujand, a city in the country's north.

Many netizens who saw the image felt insulted by the misuse of the national symbol. Reacting to the post, Ruslan Ruslan wrote [tj]:

ХАМИ РИДАНШОН НАМЕРАСИД ЭЭЭЭЭЭЭЭ ВОЯ

Ohh, the only thing they didn't do to the flag was [defecate] on it.

Ozod Orzuyev said [tj]:

Ин хузновар мебошад. Сад дарег..

This is very saddening. It's really sad.

But Amrullo Faizullozoda suggested [tj] that the person who had taken the photo should have done more than just press a button on his camera:

Ватандусти асил дар ин холат парчамро гирифта, тоза карда мегирифт, ин аз руи эхтироми парчам, ватан ва милат аст.

A real patriot in this situation would have lifted the flag from the ground and cleaned it, out of respect for the flag, the motherland, and the nation.

The image has also made its way to Twitter, where Mardikor asked [tj]:

Is this “our beloved country” [a phrase from the national anthem]? Is this patriotism? If the national flag is under feet, isn't the place of the nation also under feet?

Khairkhoh, who also shared the image on Twitter, wrote [tj]:

Oh, Allah, ohh… If we do not respect ourselves, who will respect us???

And Bachai Sako mentioned [ru] another instance when the national flag was used improperly:

@mardikor I have recently seen a group of young athletes in Ayni [a big village in northern Tajikistan] wearing shorts that were made of flags left in excess after a visit of [President Emomali Rahmon]. The useful stuff should not be wasted.

Tajikistan's tricolor flag was introduced in 1992. The authorities have since successfully popularized the flag as part of their efforts to strengthen patriotic sentiment. Tajikistan boasts the world's tallest flagpole and has attempted to break the world record for the longest flag. However, a number of bloggers have recently suggested that the country should change its flag and other national symbols to better reflect the country's changing character.

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