Sunday, February 20, 2011

right patriotism (even nationalism)?

If you ask, say, any German student how he or she thinks about patriotism or nationalism, everyone may answer that it is bad. In the developed countries, anti-government rallies usually do not take national flags and anthems. Patriotic gesture won't create solidarity. (Perhaps America is an exception) I'm a Japanese just because I happened to be born in Japan. Why should I love my country? So, some of us might be surprised by Egyptian people's patriotism.

What I can know from the revolution is that state still matters. I basically agree with such a German student. I dislike patriotism. But the reality is that I cannot go across the borders freely, and I still need to be protected by my Japanese passport, which is useful to visit many places in the world, but not so useful to get the work permission in Europe. I cannot pretend that there are no borders. Only those powerful people can do that, and make a killing, exploiting the borders and the disparities.

For many Japanese people, I'm guessing, there is good patriotism and bad one. There is another reason why anti-government rallies in Japan cannot take the national flag and the anthem. When World War II ended, those symbols, the flag, the anthem, and the emperor remained the same. Which are almost the swastika for the people in the regions invaded by Imperial Japan. On the other hand, any Japanese who had common sense could not scorn the patriotism of the other Asian peoples who declared independence.

While I believe that the real problem is injustice, but not whether or not to have own state (what if all Palestinian people suddenly say they don't need their own state but justice?), I think that protesting without patriotic gesture may be a luxury allowed only to those who live in the rich countries.

By the way, Glenn Beck commented on the Egyptian revolution a couple of weeks ago, which goes like this:

The regular people in Egypt—I'm sorry they might be nice people, but they are not the people of the American Revolution—and I have been trying to make this point that you have to be much different, even than we are, to be able to have revolution and to have it end the way it ended here. Their concept of freedom is different than yours. Let's not be judgmental and say that it's ... No, I'm going to be judgmental—it sucks compared to our idea of freedom!

Of course, it sucks! Egyptian's idea of freedom and patriotism is much better than Beck's.

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