You know you’re patriotic when..
When? You tell me. ‘Cos I don’t know. Obviously in the current context, if you are still cheering for the tigers then that not only makes you extremely unpatriotic it also by default makes you a cold blooded killer. Also being patriotic to Eelam right now is not so cool seeing as at best they only have five square kilometres of land left. Hah, let’s see them set up a cricket grounds in there. If they get to keep it that is.
If I call the President a dufus, then would that make me unpatriotic? Technically no but then I’m sure the vast majority of this country wouldn’t really care much about technicalities, more used to worship of leaders than rational thought. Not that I think the President is a dufus, but my point is that I should still be able to denounce the leadership of this country without my ‘patriotism’ being questioned.
The ultimate point that I am driving at is that ‘patriotism’ as a concept does not exist, meaning that it does not have a fixed, non-superficial meaning. Sure ‘patriotism’ the word can be used to indicate a love for one’s country but ‘love’ takes many forms and what form of love patriotism should take is largely dependent on the person that expresses that love. You cannot standardize patriotism.
There is a lot of effort to do so though. There always has been. Government propaganda always communicates the not so subtle message that ‘patriotism’ is in fact love for the government and the country, equating one with the other. Of course definitions of what the ‘country’ is for the purposes of ‘patriotism’ can get hazy and we have to have a sane idea as to what we define as our country in the first place. Is a country it’s people? Is it a particular political or religious ideology with relation to its people? Or is it simply its geography and natural beauty?
And then we go into what a country is, as in not how we may define it, but what it is geographically. Not too long ago, people in ‘Sri Lanka’ were bickering over who got to rule Kurunegala and who got to rule Pitakotte and Kandy (or Kanda Udarata); there was no ‘collective Sri Lankan identity’ then. Or if there was it was not identified with ‘patriotism’ because people went to war over territories the size of modern day provinces over an idea of patriotism.
This idea in retrospect seems nothing less than a lie, an illusion. The basis of ‘patriotism’ seems to have been something as fickle as the changing borders of a rift ridden island. And kings decided what ‘patriotism’ was and what form it should take. And the masses gobbled it up in the name of a ‘loyalty’ that had its roots in feudalism. Taken in a modern day Sri Lanka, things seem just as fickle. All we can identify for sure is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ based on a certain moral background. As in terrorism is ‘bad’ and fighting it is ‘good’. One can’t really claim the concept of ‘patriotism’ to lie on anything other than fast changing borders, the whims of the powerful and the gullibility of the masses.
So you know you’re patriotic when you grasp on ‘patriotism’ as a means to hammer your opposition into submission. Or you simply try to imply a love for one’s country, without knowing the intricacies and dangers involved in doing so. ‘Patriotism’ the word has taken on a life of its own and is liable to be increasingly flung around aimlessly in the times to come. Use it very carefully.
A Core Group member of beyondborders who also blogs here . His views are his own. No, seriously, they are his own. We don’t want to get killed.