View single post by Widow
 Posted: Wed Jan 3rd, 2007 12:09 am
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Joined: Tue Sep 19th, 2006
Location: Oakton, Fairfax County, VA
Posts: 321

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Joe, this anecdote is about flags, but not in the Civil War.  Not even in the US.

My brother and his wife lived on the Turkish coast for 11 years, sailing on the Aegean Sea in the summer.  A fellow sailor told them what happened to him and his flag.

The sailor is a Turkish citizen, but educated at Oxford and MIT.  Nuclear physics, I think Rick said.  The man and his wife had been at sea for a while and came into Bodrum Harbor.  His boat was registered in the UK, so he flew the British flag.  Also, as is customary, a small "courtesy flag" of the nation where you are in port.  Rick's friend had a small Turkish flag up in the rigging.

The national flag of the Republic of Turkey is plain red, with a white star and crescent in the middle.  The flag is made of red cloth, and the two emblems are bleached to make the star and crescent.  It's not possible to buy a flag made any other way.  One flag, one quality, no choice.

The Turkish police came to the dock and charged him with desecrating the national flag.  Rick's friend was totally bewildered.  "I'm a Turkish citizen.  What do you mean?"

They pointed to his courtesy flag, red with white emblems.  But the white star was gone.  A perfect star-shaped hole next to the crescent.  The police said he had deliberately cut the star out of the flag.

Desecration of the Turkish national flag is five years in prison.  A Turkish prison.  Nifty way to suppress political dissent.

He was arrested and taken in.  Before his trial, he contacted some friends at the University of Istanbul, science professors.  They proved to the court that the bleach had weakened the fabric, and as it fluttered the fibers just broke and wore out.  The friend beat the rap.

Once again, we are reminded of how lucky we are to live in a country where you are free to buy a tiny plastic flag, a huge silk flag, or no flag.  Patty

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