Mon, 07 Sep 2009

Flags and outrages

A bit more than two years ago, two young Spaniards on vacation in Latvia maybe went a bit too far during one of their night parties and decided to remove some Latvian flags that hanged from a post in the streets of Riga. They spent 1 month in prison, with charges for outraging the Latvian flag.

The Spanish media talked about the disproportionate charges, the ridiculous and “medieval” laws in Latvia and so on.

Today, we learn that Jaume d'Urgell will go to prison due to the “outraging” crime of substituting the current Spanish flag with the Republican flag of 1931 on the facade of a public building.

So much for medieval laws and institutions like the Spanish monarchy.

I think all the whole "flag topic" in Spain is a nonsense, but AFAIK this guy is facing prison because he refuses to pay the fine for climbing to the front of the court building and change the flag.

I think the "offend against Spain" charges are silly, but IMHO the attitude of this guy is silly too.

I'm not for the monarchy, but all this stuff is a waste of time :D

Posted by Juanjo at Mon Sep 7 19:32:21 2009

Well... I'm Spanish...

And I guess, if you're German, you wouldn't like the Nazi Flag in the facade of Ministery of Industry, for example.

NOTE: I'm not saying the Republicans are like Nazi (I've "almost" mayority of republican ideals) what I'm trying to say is: Spain has an OFFICIAL flag, voted by ALL spaniards. Why it has to show up any older and deprecated flag (which, for spaniards, remember us a civil war) in a public building? (which is illegal pointed by OUR Constitution voted by ALL spaniards).

All what he wanted to do is to call attention.

It's a pity that someone like you should point such info without any idea of what you're talking about.

But I guess that's ok for you.

Posted by franzrogar at Mon Sep 7 19:34:51 2009

That a bit "irony of fate", isn't it?

However, I would like to stress, that in my opinion, the "mediaval" law, as you call it, in Spain is in no way a justification for the "mediaval" law in Latvia.

Both states should re-think their laws concerning national symbols and flags!

That is just my opinion. (I am not a citizen of any of the two countries.)

By the way, the Spanish form of government is called "Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy", similar to what they have in the UK. I understand that the monarchy part may seem ridiculous to some people, but as it has only representative character today (in both countries), the comparison with medieval laws is somewhat inappropriate, I think.

Posted by Data at Mon Sep 7 19:36:15 2009

I'm still waitin' you to drop your blog from planet Ubuntu because you don't talk about Linux, Ubuntu or Operating Systems at all. You talk about politics and very disputable opinions.

Posted by I'm still waiting... at Mon Sep 7 19:58:07 2009

These kind of regulations about respect for the national flag are not exclusive of Latvia or Spain.

The official flags are sometimes used to mean something, for example when they are set on "half-staff" as a sign of respect together with a minute of silence. I can't imagine doing that with flags other than the official ones.

Jaume d'Urgell is going to prison because he didn't want to pay a fine for doing that. He has not right to change the flag for the one he wants Pirate, Republican, his favorite sport team or whatever. Anyway, he is on the right to defend other flag, but he can't change it that way, he must start a campaign for that and look for public support.

Posted by Juanjo Marin at Mon Sep 7 20:10:45 2009

About Planets - for most of the planets, what I look for on them is lives of people that make Ubuntu, or Debian and not just posts about Ubuntu and Debian.

But on the topic, speaking from Latvia, the guys got off very easy, they got the minimum possible sentence with all possible legal reductions.

Now lately there was a bit of a fuss about people throwing out small plastic flags after a demonstration, that was a bit too far.

Posted by Aigars Mahinovs at Mon Sep 7 20:40:23 2009

I think what the writer wants to point out the "medieval" laws as much as how the media in one country (Spain) throws stones at another country's laws (Latvia) only to in the end have to throws them through glass since they uses laws that can be seen as just as medieval.

If the Spanish ones in Latvia had substituted the Latvian for Russian flags, then the act itself may have been more on equal terms, but he is commenting on what they are prosecuted for, not the act they did itself.

Posted by Bogus at Mon Sep 7 20:58:47 2009

"Bandera trapu bat da haizerik ez badabil" Dut

Posted by Mikel at Mon Sep 7 22:09:57 2009

meh, flags shmags. if one cares enough to offend a flag, like both in the cases of two drunkards in Latvia and the political statement in Spain, well, then you might also understand the charges for that - i mean it's just the other end of the stick.

I don't think you will get anything else in the rest of the europe and i think there is nothing wrong with that.

but, hell, i don't care, just happen to read planet gnome and be latvian at the same time.

Posted by tm at Mon Sep 7 23:13:16 2009

oh and i think there is a difference between 15 days, as it says in the title of the news entry you have linked, and the month you are mentioning.

Posted by tm at Mon Sep 7 23:17:34 2009

I'm from Latvia.

It is also a bit strange that some tourists think that's it's fine to piss on the Monument of Freedom or in the Historic 800+ old part of city and then complain about fines leading to arrests, leading to sentence.....

Most of the time the offenders make it worse for themselves.

Posted by Dmitrijs Ledkovs at Mon Sep 7 23:29:28 2009

Hypocrisy and immorality?  In my politics?

It's more likely than you think!

Posted by Rudd-O at Tue Sep 8 01:15:20 2009

I think there is something to be said for respecting a countries laws and customs. Do you just waltz into places of worship and urinate all over the place? NO...because you should respect the rights of others to hold their beliefs and customs. The national flag is not just a cloth, it is something that represents an entire nations common history, their culture, their trials and their future. For some idiot to come along and desecrate a countries flag deserves a punishmnet severe enough to make them wake up to their selfish selves. IMHO 1 month is not enough.

Posted by Che Kristo at Tue Sep 8 03:43:46 2009

Wow, this generated some reactions. Not surprising ;)

Regarding topics, "stillwaiting" can still wait a bit more because IMO he doesn't know what planets are about. Thanks aigars.

Regarding the constitution voted by "ALL" Spaniards. Well, the thing is that people under 48 have not had the opportunity to vote the Spanish constitution. I am pretty sure that today, that referenda would not pass with such an overwhelming support.

Bogus is right with respect to medieval laws. I didn't mean to insult Latvians or anything, I was just saying what people around Spain said a few years ago. And the guy spent 1 month in prison, not 15 days (he was still not released at the time of the writing).

Juanjo, I realise the offences are not equal in the detail, but I think they are in general terms. I just don't see myself represented in any piece of cloth, and that is just my opinion. Many people are eluding going to jail even if they are stealing massive amounts of money, but at the same time, some are getting prison sentences for ridiculous stuff like this.

I'm sure and can agree that what Jaume did was unnecessary and even silly, but going to prison for it is to be expected from a country flying nazi flags, not a "democratic" country like Spain.

Posted by jordi at Tue Sep 8 09:15:29 2009

"I just don't see myself represented in any piece of cloth, and that is just my opinion.". If you think like that, I totally understand you see the whole episode silly and non-sense. I respect your opinion and I agree only to some degree (I give some value to the official flag, especially from comparison with other countries)

This case is not about a person who think like you. He felt represented by other flag, not for the one voted democratically.

The point is to respect the system, even when you want to change it, IMHO.

I think that every justice system has its own contradictions and faults that are over-punished. But, scaling an public building, a justice palace this time, it's like asking for problems by sure.

Posted by Juanjo Marin at Tue Sep 8 11:38:53 2009