Photo Credit: jfxgillis on Flickr
Patriotism is a highly revered value in our value system all over the world. It means love for one’s motherland.
Ironically a word that has originated from the Greek word patēr, which means father, is used to express the love for a land that has been associated not with father but with mother.
It should have been matriotism, if it was to express our love for our motherland.
It simply shows our male gender bias which crept in while formulating a word that would express our love for a land that belonged to our mother, a female.
But it’s not simply a slip of gender that crept in the naming of something wrong. It’s much more than that.
The Male-oriented Mindset:
The mindset that formulated the concept of patriotism was different from the mindset that perceived the land of one’s birth as the land belonging to one’s mother.
Patriotism as a concept originated not out of love for our land but out of our loyalty to the interests of our land, come what may.
An Example from Nazi Germany:
By that token, if a German spoke against Hitler for what he did during the Second World War s/he would be tagged as a traitor or a seditionist – a word or a concept that means the opposite of a patriot – and for that reason alone s/he would be looked down upon.
But there were many Germans who did exactly that. They were never tagged as traitors only because Hitler lost the war. Had Hitler come out victorious, they would certainly have been dragged out on the streets and hanged publicly.
Did these Germans not love their land? Did they not love their country?
They certainly did! But they were simply not patriots in the narrow sense of its meaning which would have asked for their loyalty to any official stand their country took against the world.
Power Rules The World:
So were they villains?
As said earlier, they would certainly have been tagged as villains if Hitler had come victorious.
Were they traitors or seditionists?
Again, they would certainly have been tagged as traitors and seditionists if Hitler had come victorious.
So, patriotism has to do nothing with the love for one’s motherland.
It simply deals with the loyalty to the interests of one’s motherland, however unjustified or immoral those interests may be.
It all depends on who is ruling one’s motherland.
The interests are not of the motherland but of those who are ruling it at present.
Sedition means conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.
Another Example from An Epic:
In the Hindu epic Ramayana, the character of Vibhishana has been portrayed as fleeing his motherland and requesting for a shelter to Rama, a staunch enemy in war with his country. He even tells the most classified secrets of his country to him.
But no one including the author ever criticizes him for what he has been portrayed as doing.
Why? Isn’t his character the way it is portrayed that of a seditionist or a traitor?
Vibhishana’s character is not looked down upon for what he does simply because the epic was written by the author who sided with the character of Rama, the victor!
History is always written by the ones who won. Not only history but also mythology!
Rules Are Made by Rulers, Not by God:
Patriotism and sedition are the concepts that are defined and held up in value only by the rulers of the land who have their vested interests in people being patriots and never seditionists.
Patriotism can very easily and very effectively be exploited to sow the seeds of hatred for the people of other lands, especially those that are in conflict with the interests of their own land as defined and decided by the rulers of the land.
Why should an Israeli hate a Palestinian or a Palestinian hate an Israeli if the two countries are at war with each other?
But man, the concept of patriotism does make them do so!
An Improbable (Almost Impossible) Utopia:
What if Israel and Palestine decide to break their borders and unite as one single nation one day? I know it’s not very probable but it’s not absolutely impossible too.
Just for the sake of building up an argument, assuming if it ever happens so; today’s Israelis and Palestinians will keep living where they are, in fact a much better life than they are living now.
The definitions of patriotism and sedition will change for them overnight.
The best that will happen is they will stop hating each other, since the two of them will be each other’s countrymen now.
Extending Utopia A Step Further:
We can extend the same argument to all the other lands under conflict and expand our national borders from one corner of the world to the other.
Patriotism and sedition as concepts as well as moral or immoral values will become history with no role to play in the new world order.
We will be able to love the entire humanity without any condition defining and describing one’s nationality.
What Stephen Hawking Has to Say:
To end my article, I must quote what Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist, has to say in the context of nationalities especially at a point of time in the human history when newly surging right wing politics spreading almost all over the world has already started strengthening the sentiments of narrow nationalism and the subsequent chunks of patriotism:
Stephen Hawking, physicist of the left — particularly because of his insistence there is no God but rather a Mother Nature that’s gone haywire from human-induced climate change — has just released his brainiac solution to so-called Mankind’s Biggest Threat, technology, and it can be summed in this simple, easy-to-remember phrase: “World government.”
Credit: The Washington Times
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