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PRIDE AND PATRIOTISM

WARPED AND MISPLACED

RABAB MAHER

PROUD TO BE . . .

For as long as I can remember, I couldn’t, and still can’t,

understand when we state we’re proud of our race,

nationality and ethnicity. A question always floated in my

mind: How can we be proud when there was no choice,

contribution or accomplishment?

It’s irrational to maintain pride because of skin colour and

ethnic origin for Allâh ‫ ُسبْحانَ ُه َوتَعالَى‬created us that way. As for

nationality, if it’s a place of birth, it wasn’t a choice where

we were born.

So why do we continuously claim pride when they’re

without choosing?
Add to that, followers of any religion asserting pride

because of religious belief rather than embodying it as a

way of life.

When we declare such nonsense, “proud to be . . .”, we

are often trying to prove something to ourselves – an

affirmation – with a need to share with others –

compensation for a deficiency.

We either lost the meaning or never knew what the word

pride meant to begin with.

PERNICIOUS (NATIONAL) PATRIOTISM

In the words of Arthur Schopenhauer,

The cheapest sort of pride is

national pride . . . every

miserable fool who has nothing

at all of which he can be proud

adopts, as a last resource,

pride in the nation to which he

belongs; he is ready and glad to

defend all its faults and follies
tooth and nail, thus reimbursing

himself for his own inferiority.

National pride, love for one’s country “ethnically” or

“nationalistically”, is an empty and false one.

It’s a vice, far from being virtuous.

There’s something disturbingly wrong with anyone who

claims national pride for racism is involved, in varying

degrees, with an absence of mercy for humanity. A

semblance of superiority, though the simple fact is a

deeply rooted sense of inferiority, in more ways than one.

Even more disconcerting, if racism is present within us, we

need to introspect deeply for we’re not realising the

implication behind it.

Allâh ‫و َتعالَى‬
َ ‫س ْبحا َن ُه‬
ُ created us to look a certain way, so what

does it mean when we’re emphasising our own, or

asserting a dislike for another fellow human being’s

complexion and features?

ِ ‫ت َو ْاْل َ ْر‬
‫ض‬ ِ ‫او ا‬
َ ‫س َم‬ ُ ‫♡ َو ِم ْن آيَاتِ ِه َخ ْل‬
َّ ‫ق ال‬

َ‫سنَتِ ُك ْم َوأ َ ْل َوانِ ُك ْم ۚ ِإ َّن فِي َٰذَ ِلك‬
ِ ‫ف أ َ ْل‬
ُ ‫َوا ْخت ََِل‬

♡ ‫ت ِل ْلعَالِمِ ي َن‬
ٍ ‫ََليَا‬
{And of His signs is the

creation of the heavens and the

earth and the diversity of your

languages and your colours

[race]. Indeed, in that are

signs for those of knowledge.}

(30:22)

History is replete with injustices because of the fallacy of

patriotism, pride, ethnicity, nationality and race, which is

still ongoing today.

Ramblers of patriotism often are: people who are abusing

their power with submissive followers; have little or no

accomplishments opting to go on about something they

didn’t do; use it to explain injustices; and/or bigots who

hide behind it.

Whenever the US or Lebanon, as two examples, rave on

about their country or army pride, I can’t help but laugh.

Considering the former, all one needs to do is read the

bloody history until today, all shed under the guise of

patriotism. The latter is in utter ruins with a useless army that

can’t even defend its land.
Yet, both countries – one with a superiority complex and

the other an inferiority one – go on and on about love for

the land and army via anthems, songs, etc.

One can only wonder as to why.

Since you wouldn’t declare pride of your height or bone

structure, – though I won’t be surprised if there are people

who do this – it’s equally injudicious to say so about race,

nationality and ethnicity.

If this continues to exist, this world will never ever be at

peace, with inequality only rising. George Bernard Shaw

articulated,

You’ll never have a quiet world

till you knock the patriotism out

of the human race.

TRUE PRIDE AND PATRIOTISM

The rightful feeling of pride should arise when one has

achieved or has a quality that’s worthy of such a sentiment.

However, often people who are proud of their doings (and

practises) tend not to declare it for their character and
works portray their pride. They’re confident personalities

and characters who have no desire to “show off”.

Ayn Rand said it so eloquently,

Productive work is the central

purpose of a rational man's

life, the central value that

integrates and determines the

hierarchy of all his other values.

Reason is the source, the

precondition of his productive

work – pride is the result.

Pride is, without question, not in matters you had no choice

in or control over and it’s not a badge, placard or group.

Moreover, it’s not in someone else’s achievements.

Patriotism should be about the country you reside

regardless of race, nationality or ethnicity, devoid of any

prejudices.

Patriotism is speaking out when a wrong or an injustice is

committed and against abusive power, in defence of right

and the defenceless.
One of the best forms of patriotism is as Howard Zinn wisely

stated,

Dissent is the highest form of

patriotism.

It’s an avowal of love for humankind for better living

upholding virtues like equality, freedom, justice and

respect.

For this, it’s essential to define nationalism and patriotism

for they’re not synonymous, as George Orwell clarifies,

. . . one must draw a distinction

between them, since two

different and even opposing

ideas are involved. By

"patriotism” I mean devotion

to a particular place and a

particular way of life, which

one believes to be the best in the

world but has no wish to force

on other people. Patriotism is of

its nature defensive, both

militarily and culturally.
Nationalism, on the other hand,

is inseparable from the desire

for power. The abiding purpose

of every nationalist is to secure

more power and more prestige,

not for himself but for the

nation or other unit in which he

has chosen to sink his own

individuality.

Patriotism isn’t obsequiousness, ostentatious public

displays or shrouding in flags and lyrics.

To be proud and to be a patriot, all comes down to one

thing: HONEST ACTION, for oneself and others. It's the

loudest declaration one can make without any pretences.

ALL for Allâh ‫ ُس ْبحانَ ُه َوتَعالَى‬.

So, what are you “proud to be” and, if you are, why? Take

a moment to reflect on this.

TUESDAY, 5TH NOVEMBER 2013 | SATURDAY, 16TH AUGUST 2014