World Cup: Cultural representations and why patriotism is not healthy
Kambiz Kamrani at anthropology.net has made a nice post about national fotballs: How do the different countries represent themselves? Sport is bringing the world closer together, in his opinion. His list of World Cup participants "shows us the color side of globalization in the form of socio-economic and cultural contributions of each country in the form of soccer balls" >> continue reading at anthropology.net
On the website Expatica, Editor-in-chief David Gordon Smith has written an interesting comment on the recent patriotism in Germany. As also noted critically by blogger Urmila Goel:
As also All of Germany is coloured in black-red-gold. Almost all. And all are very very happy. (...) I hardly find anybody who is so utterly disgusted by all this black-red-gold as I am. 'Nations' are based on exclusion. They are the basis for wars, not only with weapons. I do not like this structuring of the world, and I utterly dislike its national symbols. Especially the flags.
David Gordon Smith might be nearly as critical as Urmila Goel. As a migrant, he feels excluded (for some reason, he uses the term "expat" - but you should use it as a synonym for migrant):
It is a strange feeling to live here and be excluded from the collective hysteria: when newspaper editorials write about 'us' and 'our team', they are not talking about expats. For anyone who does not belong to, or identify with, mainstream Germany, ostentatious displays of patriotism can leave an uneasy feeling.(...) If anyone gets nervous at the sight of Germans waving flags, it is because Germany waged a terrible war within living memory.
He then goes on explaining why patriotism never can be healthy for a society:
Nationalism and war have always gone hand in hand, and probably patriotism is of most use to the nation state when it comes to armed conflict. Without feelings of intense patriotism, it would be hard for the nation state to get young men (and women) to die on its behalf. Patriotic emotions may not cause wars, but they make it easier for governments to wage wars--especially wars which can not be rationally justified. If it was not for patriotism, governments would have to be much more careful about engaging in military action.
But what sort of relationship should we have to our country of origin or residence?
I would argue that in the modern world the ideal relationship of an individual to a nation state (or supranational organisation) should be objective, critical and passionless. You might agree or disagree with certain things the state does, you might even be prepared to fight to defend it, but you do not feel the blind unquestioning loyalty that comes with patriotism. The fewer young men and women who are prepared to fight and die for an idea, whether that is a particular ideology or religion or the equally constructed notion of a nation state, the safer the world will be.
I agree, but nevertheless I wonder: Are all flag waving people patriotic or nationalistic?