There is still plenty of debate over just what is OK to do with an American flag and what’s not. Cutting it when it’s a cake? Putting it in doormat or napkin form where it will get soiled? And, of course, the big whopper of American-flag questions: is it cool to burn the thing?
While those debates may rage for eternity in America’s dorm rooms and statehouses, it is likely becoming extremely clear to the folks at German shoe and sportswear company Puma that one country that doesn’t like to have its flag put anywhere else than on a flagpole is the United Arab Emirates.
CNN reports that Puma has put out a new limited-edition shoe that features the UAE flag in honor of the nation’s 40th birthday on Dec. 2 and citizens are not loving the concept.
“Puma should have borne in mind the cultural sensitivities of the people of the UAE,” Abdullah K, an Emirati professional, told CNN’s Inside the Middle East blog. “The flag is a very sacred symbol for the UAE. It cannot be trivialized, especially not as footwear.”
An Arab expatriate working in advertising and marketing, Ramzi Khalaf, told the site, “Big brands have to realize that you cannot have one idea for the whole world. Each area you operate in has to have tailor-made solutions. Especially here in the Middle East, where cultural sensitivities are key, you have to be very careful."
According to CNN, Puma has not commented.
In America, though, there hasn’t been any kind of obvious uprising over American flag shoes, couches, toolboxes, towels, knives, planters, smoking apparatus, and whatever else you can imagine.