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Why can't Iraqis agree on national day holiday?

Seventeen years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraq has neither a national day nor a national anthem.

BAGHDAD— It has been more than 17 years since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, and yet, political forces do not seem to attribute any importance to national holidays or a national anthem. Such symbolic national elements could help unite Iraqi society around one national identity based, say, on dates marking major events and challenges their parents and ancestors underwent and overcame through their solidarity.

Paradoxically, according to a high-ranking official in the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Many countries still send congratulation letters to Iraqi officials on the occasion of Iraq National Day on July 17, the anniversary of the Baath Party’s ascent to power in 1968. It was the recognized national day during the Baath regime’s era.”

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