Monday, June 16, 2008

Those rememberance days in Latvia...

It is the early morning of June 17 in Salaspils now. The day started with the procedure to fly the maroon-white-maroon flag in half mast. Today is the second annual remembrance day when all households and governmental institutions must fly their flags in half mast all over the country. Last year I wrote a short article in Diena about the conspicuous role the state has in Latvian citizens lives, because according to law Latvian households must annually fly flag in full mast six times, but in half mast five times.

MP Ainārs Latkovskis (JL) proposed amendments into the law of state flag two years ago, but Latvian parliamentarians did not even budge. His idea was to emulate the Scandinavian path that Estonia already followed. Such path would have meant that the multitude of celebrations would be set for the flag day (Estonia just celebrated it on June 4), and the numerous commemoration days would be remembered on November 11 for example. It (Lāčplēša diena) could be the day when all men & women, regardless of army they fought, and who fell for the Latvian independence would be commemorated. The amendments were not accepted, and thus Latvian households still live with eleven days annually, when they have to scrupulously follow the calendar in order to know how high the flag should be flown.

Commemoration days that oblige all households to fly the flag in half mast create different associations to different people. On June 17, 1940 sixty eight years ago Latvia was invaded and later occupied by the Soviet Union. I should look into Saeima records and find out who were the MP's that proposed to include June 17 into the list of commemoration days. In the meantime I feel bad today, because to fly the maroon-white-maroon in half mast to remember the day when your state was raped, is symbolism that is more appropriate to the victims of Stockholm syndrome. Funniest part here is the fact that as a household I must follow the script, otherwise the municipal police would come up and punish me for not abiding the law with a hefty fine...

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