Last modified: 2010-01-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: meshtekistan | crescent (white) |
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Flag of Meshtekistan - Image by Ivan Sache, 23 March 2001
According to James Minahan (Nations Without States, 1996
[mnh96]), Meshtekistan is the homeland of the Meskhtekians in the Republic
of Georgia. The Meskhtekians are comprised of several small groups of
Muslim peoples, mostly Shia, which formerly lived in southern Georgia
near the Turkish border. During the Second World War Stalin had them
deported to Central Asia, perhaps because he suspected them of
pro-Turkish sympathies (their home areas were never occupied by the
Germans as was the case with the other deported peoples -
Kalmycks and North Caucasians). The various
deported Muslim peoples from south Georgia were rehabilitated in the
post-Stalin era, but not allowed back to their former homes. Their
shared experiences and fate led to the development of a sense of
shared identity, and they adopted the collective name Meskhtekian
(Meskhi was the name of one of the component peoples -
Georgian-speaking Shi'ites) and began calling their former homeland
In the aftermath of the breakup of the Soviet Union many Meskhtekians suffered during ethnic violence, and at the time the book was written were living in refugee camps, unwelcome in their old Georgian homeland and their new central Asian homes.
Ned Smith, 23 March 2001
According to Roger Rosen (The Georgian Republic, 1992), Meshketi or Meshketians were the inhabitants of Samtskhe or Meskheti, a Georgian land east of Ajaria. They were and are Georgians and played an important part in Georgian history. The famous writer Rustaveli, author of "Knight in the Pantherskin" (c. 1200), the national epic of the Georgians, was a Meshketian. The most infamous Georgian, Joseph Vissarionovitsh Dzhugashvili, aka Stalin, banished them for no reason at all from their homeland.
Jarig Bakker, 24 March 2001
Minahan, however, draws a clear distinction between Meskhi (Georgian-speaking Muslims) and Meskhtekians, who are comprised of not just Meskhi, but also Khemsils (Armenian-speaking Muslims who lived in Georgia), Shi'ite Ajars, Georgian Kurds and Karapapakh Turks. He claims that the "Meskhtekian" identity arose in this amalgamation during their enforced resettlement in Central Asia, and the flag he described applies to this larger grouping of exiles, at least according to his report.
Ned Smith, 24 March 2001
The flag of the Meskhtekian national movement is described by Minahan [mnh96] as a four color flag - three horizontal stripes of white, red and black with a vertical green stripe at the hoist bearing a white crescent. From the line drawing accompanying the entry the flag appears to have a proportion of 2:3. All four stripes appear the same width. The crescent is centered in the hoist stripe and extends slightly above and below the middle horizontal stripe.
Ned Smith, 23 March 2001