Last modified: 2011-06-10 by victor lomantsov
Keywords: kyrgyzstan | karakirghiz | asia | commonwealth of independent states | yurt | tent | sun | forty | tunduk |
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It would appear there is some discussion on changing the flag and other symbols of Kyrgyzstan. The linked article is an interesting discussion with a leading
political figure of that country on the present and proposed flags and why she is against the proposed changes. Also discussed is the symbolism of the present flag (See below).
Dave Martucci, 18 May 2011
"Asiya Sasykbayeva: Flag is the symbol of the nationhood" 24.kg news agency , by Asel OTORBAEVA
Initiative of some deputies of the Parliament to change the national symbols of the Kyrgyz Republic gave rise to great public interest. The deputies’ idea immediately obtained the opponents and supporters. While both parties were proving their cases to each other, civil society questioned: will State Flag be changed and, if it be, how much will it cost? We talked about it with the parliamentary deputy from Ata Meken faction Asiya Sasykbayeva.
-Asiya Aitbayevna, what is your opinion about this initiative?
-I’m against the change of the flag. I believe that there is no reason now to change it.
-How do you think then, what was the reason for such initiative? Do the initiators bring forward any arguments?
-I consider the arguments to be unconvincing. For example, some public figures, including scientists, criticize the color of the flag, considering the red as the color of blood. All the problems and conflicts in our country are for some reason related to the color of blood. However, let’s not forget that the blood is also the substance that gives life. I assume that there are superstitious people but we shall not reduce state policy to absurdity. Take a look at the state flags of other countries. The red color is the most common one. Thirty four European flags out of forty four have this color. Thirty eight flags of Asian countries out of forty seven are also red. Majority of these countries are well developing. So, following the initiative of our “experts”, flags of these countries shall also be changed.
-You studied this issue well enough. How can you comment on the suggested blue color?
-In respect of the blue color, there are few blue flags. But you’ll agree that this is unimportant aspect, as there will also be people who will interpret this color as they want. Lets’ talk about our flag, it is not one-colored but two-colored. The red color occupies only 20 percent. Of course, the red color is the dominating but not the only one. How the flag is created? Are there any specific demands or is it a free art?
- In the common practice the demands are related to the proportions. We cannot use the symbols that are already used by other countries. There are also forbidden symbols. The world practice has two variants of flags creation. The first one is the restoration or renewal of the earlier existed symbols. For example, ancient sovereign flags, crests, and other symbols. The second one is creation of the new ones. However, both variants take into consideration the history, traditions of the nation and the state. Is the red color of our flag of the historic importance?
-Of course it is. Modern, I stress, modern Kyrgyzstan was formed in the 20's and 30's of the last century by the outstanding figures of that time - Abdykerim Sydykov Abdykadyr Orozbekov, Zhusup Abdrakhmanov... By 1937, Kyrgyzstan, being a member of the USSR, obtained the main attributes of the statehood - constitution, crest, anthem, and of course the flag. It was the first state flag in our modern history.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, each post-Soviet state chose its own way to create new flags. Thus, Russia returned to the monarchical tricolor, which has over 300 years of history. We, due to lack of long established statehood, had no such indisputable and generally acknowledged symbol. The only univocal starting point was the red flag of the Soviet era. Therefore, the red color of the flag was the basis for the symbols of the independent Kyrgyzstan, as respect of the work and achievements of several generations of our people. It was a kind of the continuity of the two stages of our history. The first one is Soviet stage and second - the independent one.
So, do you believe that statement about the necessity to change the color of the flag are groundless?
-I do. The flag cannot be a subsidiary coin. Flag is the symbol of the nationhood but not a tool for fight against conflicts, corruption, or economic crisis. We shall not become like less developed societies, where people try to improve their life through superstitions and spells. We mus remember about our history but live at the top of our historical epoch.
-Well, what is our opinion about the symbols of our flag?
-In believe that symbols of our flag are very good. Its first element is tunduk (kind of a window at the top of the yurt). It has several meanings, important for philosophy and the history of our nation. Firstly, it is the traditional dwelling of nomads - boz-ui or yurt. The history of this subject of material culture has, according to some estimates, about 10 thousand years. Secondly, tunduk of the yurt can be compared with foundations of the modern houses. The process of yurt installation begins with tunduk raising and continues around it.
The second element of the flag is beams around the tunduk.
You know, now, in the era of the developed computer graphics, design cannot surprise anyone. But in 1992, the authors of the flag were very inventive. They depicted tunduk as if from above, from space. The beams of the tunduk look like flames of the fire in the yurt center. By the way, all the experts note that the length of the beams corresponds to the so-called “golden proportion”. Even their number in our flag is not accidental. It is well known that the Kyrgyz people were historically known as people of forty tribes. The epic ancestor of the nation Manas had forty followers - Choro or knights. In addition, forty uuks, supports, are considered to be optimal number for tunduk support. Thus, the authors took into account everything: the modern history of Kyrgyzstan, expressed in the flag colors; traditional philosophy of the Kyrgyz people, presented in the symbols of tunduk - kernel of the state, kolomto - peace and prosperity, forty beams - the unity of the nation.
Meanwhile, supporters of the reform base their initiative on the Manas epic. According to them, the blue flag was mentioned there…
There are people who misinterpret word “asaba”, the mentioned in the epic, and understand it as the “flag”. Meanwhile, it is talked of troop identification sign, which hang on the pole. It guided soldiers during the battle. Thus, asaba is not a flag but a special identification mark on a pole. In addition, some categories of people used identification sign to emphasize their status. Shamans-bakshi, dervish-travelers, the lepers had identification flagpoles - asa-tayak - with specific symbols.
-In general, do you share the opinion of the majority: there is not need to change the national flag of Kyrgyzstan?
-There is no any need for that. Usually, national symbols are changed after historically significant changes. For example, in 1917, Russia changed it because the tsarist empire was gone and appeared absolutely new state - the Soviet Union. We did not have such significant changes. Therefore, it is meaningless to change the flag.