Circassian Flag Day is a Day of Dedication to the Homeland

Circassian Flag Day is a Day of Dedication to the Homeland

By: Adel Bashqawi

25 April 2021

Edmund Spencer, Travels in Circassia, Krim-Tartary &c: including a steam voyage down the Danube from Vienna to Constantinople, and round the Black sea
Edmund Spencer, Travels in Circassia, Krim-Tartary &c: including a steam voyage down the Danube from Vienna to Constantinople, and round the Black sea

By definition of Oxford Dictionary, a flag is “a piece of cloth with a special coloured design on it that may be the symbol of a particular country or organization, may be used to give a signal or may have a particular meaning.”[1] The flag (Buraq in Circassian) was able and still to be a symbol of the nation’s unity and its common and unified destiny.

The Circassian nation exercises its inalienable rights feeling honored and proud would foster the nation to emphasize on realizing and restoring the legitimate rights. It enhances to exploit and seize opportunities to exercise its rights that do not fall under the statute of limitations, to enable the nation to be proud, exalted and elevated.

Circassians respect the values represented by their devotion to their country and their ideals despite the tragedies they have endured. It’s design and colors symbolized its natural belonging and identity, which preserved its values, beliefs and history  that took root thousands of years ago.

The Buraq perpetuates relentless efforts. It imparts ethics dimensions to feel a close and strong uninterrupted bond of connection and belonging to the homeland, and that there is an intimate relationship with it. Also it makes people ostentatious in all their whereabouts. The flag is constantly present in all commemoration events such as the Memorial Day on the annual 21st of May event.

Identity and common destiny, especially when the nation is distributed in tens of communities in numerous countries around the world in addition to homeland, the flag remains one of the main symbols of unity and dignity. Rights not yet recovered, motivated people to demand that the international human rights standards must not be compromised. They must not accept less than their rights that are guaranteed to them by international laws and norms.

By embodying the right to freedom, Circassians are devoted and respectful of the values ​​that the flag represents. It played a significant role in preserving the most important components of the nation’s very survival and aspirations, where  the lofty goal was nothing but to remain in its homeland united and capable of preserving its dignity and sovereignty.

History of the Flag

I will re-write in the following some facts mentioned in a previous  article. Since the flag was designed, weaved and embroidered in the darkest circumstances and at a time when the Russian Empire became gradually closing in on Circassia from all directions little by little, in light of regional subservience and international silence, the flag was the unifying element for all Circassian tribes on the land of Circassia to perpetuate the flame of defending the homeland despite Difficulties and obstacles.

There are several reference sources that explain and clarify the history of making the Circassian flag. Among those sources is the novel Between the Millstones by the Circassian author Ishac Mashbesh, which states how the Circassians received the news about the Treaty of Edirne (or Treaty of Adrianople) on September 14, 1829.740

The Circassian flag was born from the womb of the Circassian Question, during the Russian-Circassian War, at a time when the nation was in dire need to establish a symbol to unite all the Circassian tribes and territories.

It clarified and confirmed the Circassian national identity. Thus, in light of the Circassians’ knowledge of the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829, which was signed between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire behind their back, Circassian leaders headed by Prince Zan concluded at the time, that “their homeland became prey to the greedy countries, while he {began to realize that the greater tragedy lies in the fact that the Circassians will find themselves being cornered between Europe & Russia which would resemble a mill, and Circassia would be like a seed of wheat that will be crushed into flour}.”[2]

The situation required designing and presenting a flag that represents the entire Circassian nation. The birth of the Circassian flag is narrated by the Circassian author Ishac Mashbesh in his book Between the Millstones. He noted that one of the Circassian princes, Seferebi Zan, who went to Istanbul in the early 1830’s “was hospitalized for two months” due to broken ribs, when he was exposed to violence “during a demonstration against Russians in Istanbul.” At the time, he dealt only with “three Circassians—Mohamed Selkhur, H’ouri Khanem, and Ismael Bek.”[3]

Certainly, this was the time to take a historic initiative. “One day when Selkhur visited Prince Zan, the latter presented a folded paper, passed it to Selkhur, and asked him about his opinion about its contents. Selkhur was surprised, and then Zan emotionally replied that it was the Circassian unity flag (Baraq), saying that during his long hospitalization, he thought considerably about a symbol for the Circassian unity and he concluded on the contents of the paper … within a few days, H’ouri Khanem brought the readied flag, so it was ready to be sent to Circassia.”[4]

Prince Seferbi Zan continues, “when you lie down in a hospital bed away from your homeland and family, you experience many thoughts, you can dream with your heart and brain about your homeland, your village, the river, the sky and to clearly hear the birds’ songs in the forest, thus the color of the flag should reflect the spring color about the homeland, the color of the meadows and forests, and will have twelve golden stars and three crossed arrows.”[5]

Contrary to attempts to promote invented and fabricated inaccurate information, by some of the unsung analysts regarding the representation of the flag’s stars for specific Circassian tribes, Prince Zan refuted and disproved the empty claims as if he was clearly reading the future (and what is expected with a keen eye): “The flag contained twelve gold stars and three crossed arrows.” Regarding the symbols presented on the science, “Zan explained that each of the twelve stars represents a Circassian tribe and that they are all equally represented without prejudice, they are all equal in the unity. As to the crossed arrows they represent that the Circassians do not seek war, but will defend themselves when attacked … there is no discrimination or preference of any tribe over the others.”[6]

The flag was designed, produced, then unanimously approved by the representatives of the Circassian tribes in the Valley of Psevaba, in 1836, which “Circassian national unity was declared,” during the war, imposed on the Circassian nation. Tens of thousands of Circassians have perished while defending this flag, being the national symbol of the Circassian nation. The Republic of Adygeya adopted the Circassian flag to be the republic’s national flag on 23.03.1992.[7]

Conclusion

The flag is an important, reliable and serious reference to symbolize self-expression. Its colors are marine green rectangular cloth together with twelve stars and three crossed arrows in golden color that reflect a clear concept. It enhances and embodies interconnection between the various components of the Circassian nation. A common bond would connect all the elements of the nation, and it will remain a guiding torch   that everyone will hoist. A writer has said: “The flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.”[7]

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References

[1] (https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/flag_1)

[2] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[3] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[4] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[5] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[6] (Circassia: Born to be Free, Adel Bashqawi)

[7] (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/990086?ref=flags)

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