Sunday, March 12, 2006

How infantile can you get 

In case you missed, and I can't blame you if you did, Venezuela just changed its flag. The most significant change is that whereas the flag previously had an arc of 7 stars now it will have 8 stars. The justification is that Simon Bolivar had presumably requested that the 8th star, representing Guyana (part of which Venezuela still has claims on), be added to the flag. Now the government has ordered just that and henceforth all Venezuela flags will have 8 stars. Also, the sheild which appears in the corner of the flag is being changed so that the horse now runs to the left instead of the right. As far as I am concerned this is all a big yawn. Its hard to believe the government has time to waste on this non-sense and that the opposition can find nothing better to get all in a lather about than something so inconsequential.

To top this all off their are actually opposing marches on all this today. One by government supporters celebrating the changes and one by the opposition protesting them (I guess with the economy continueing to do well and even the highway to the beaches being fixed they ran out of other things to protest). And what would these protests be without a good fight and some violence? Not much, and so the two sides obliged by actually getting in a fight over the new flag. While marching through eastern Caracas some Chavistas held up a new flag with 8 stars. This pissed off the opposition supporters who grabbed it away and threw it to the ground. Only the intervention of the police stopped the fight. Really, don't these people have anything better to do, like go to the beach?

Hate to say it but Venezuelans are definitely picking up some bad habits from the U.S. First off, taking symbols like flags so seriously, as people in the US do, is not good. Such phoney patriotism is easy to see through. Worse still, this silliness then leads to things like flag burning laws in the U.S. or argueing over how many stars should be on a flag. If this non-sense is allowed to continue things might get really out of hand and Chavez might start ending his speaches with "Que Dios bendiga a Venezuela". Lets all hope that doesn't happen.


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