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Ezana Sehay Sep 22, 2011- In the early days of EPRDF administration one of the issues the opposition used to lambast the government was attributed to the national flag. They kept repeating again and again like a broken record player Ė what allegedly prime minister [then president] Meles Zenawi has said. They accused of making the title statement.

I donít know whether PMMZ had actually said such a thing, but if he did I am certain it was taken out of context.

But folks! Isnít it a fact that any flag is basically made of different kind of fabrics? Yes sometimes it is minted on coins, precious metal, or glass but mostly it is a piece of cloth. Besides does it matter what a flag is made of or what it is displayed on?

I think what is important is what a flag symbolizes. As such all national flags represent code of honor, bravery and allegiance. In other words, patriotism.

What is patriotism?

Patriotism can be manifested in many ways, for me the most important one is loyalty. Loyalty, not to a piece of fabric, but loyalty to a nation and its citizens. Of course loyalty is more than something that attaches to a symbol. It is also the conduit and the lightening rod.

When I mean loyalty , I mean loyalty to each other as citizens, a commitment to the common endeavor and the ideals it represent such as a willingness to sacrifice or In extreme cases even to lay down our lives for one another. There for when we are disloyal, it is not a flag we betray but our fellow citizens.

Although it sounds a lot to ask but society cannot function without it nor can it be conditional. A loyalty that comes and goes depending on the prize or price may be many things, but it is not loyalty. In fact it is the opposite of it. A society whose citizensí allegiance is contingent at all times on whether they profit from the exchange is doomed to fail, since everyone cannot always be a net beneficent.

I understand, it is not possible to extract the same degree of loyalty from each and every citizen, nor would it be wise to try. But I believe it is possible for a society to teach the importance of loyalty and honor its virtues in the same way do other sacred beliefs. The sum loyalty of individual member society equals strong sense of nationalism and the preservation of it.

In Ethiopia that is being demonstrated by the active participation and enthusiasm being displayed by the people towards the GTP and the renaissance dam project. Now folks! This is what can be called a true meaning and a genuine love of a flag.

Happy Flag Day!

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