Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Off-Topic > Off-Topic > International affairs/politics  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11.01.2009, 20:47
Kicker
 
Posts: n/a
Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Does being a nationalist bring with it more problems then it solves?

I have a good laugh when it comes to world cup football etc, watching the different nations competing in a good spirited manner and it's always entertaining making fun of idiosyncrasies of different nations including your owns.

However is it justified when the government of a country does things because it's in its own 'National Interest' but detrimental to the interest of others?

We also know that great wars and other criminal acts are committed and justified by appealing to the Nationalistic feelings of the population.

Also in the climate of the whole globalisation movement and of increased immigration does it make sense anymore to be a hard and fast Nationalist?

We also saw the subject come up in the latest US elections where it was much more important to be a 'Good American' as opposed to a Good World Leader.

Would be interesting to hear peoples thoughts on this.....the pros and the cons.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11.01.2009, 20:58
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Nationalism: Wrong, but real.

We ignore it at our peril.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11.01.2009, 21:33
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

I suppose I should expand upon my previous post:

Nationalism is probably the greatest evil that has been unleashed upon the world in the last two hundred years or so: It has directly and indirectly caused the deaths of millions of people, from the Armenians in 1915 to the Jews of 1939 - 45, to the poor sods who are getting leathered in Gaza this week; it has displaced many more millions of people from their homes, livelihoods and families, from the Greeks and Turks in 1923, to the Sephardic Jews and Arabs of Palestine in 1948, to the Cypriots of both communities in 1963 and 1974; it has caused wars, terrorism, street violence; it has prevented people from getting jobs, from starting businesses, from owning their own property.

All in all, nationalism has turned out to be a very bad idea.

Unfortunately, since it exists, and, to a greater or lesser extent, is viewed with a certain degree of favour by those who run the affairs of this planet (like the United Nations and their concept of 'self-determination' for all peoples - itself a clear sign of approval for the concept of the nation, and, therefore, nationalism as an ideology), and, if we're to be honest, cannot be avoided in a post-dynastic world; because of all these factors, we have no option but to engage with nationalists and recognise their demands.

This can be seen in such actions as the creation of the state of Israel, the international recognition of the state of Kosova, the international approval of the secession of the constituent states of Yugoslavia, and so on. If it is accepted that the Irish, say, or the Norwegians should have their own state, then it follows that the Albanians of Kosova, the Jews of Israel and the Croats, Slovenes and Macedonians (whatever they are) should have their own states too.

Of course, in those regions which had previously been vast, polyethnic empires, where a Bulgarian, an Arab, a Saxon, an Armenian or a Serb could live pretty much anywhere they liked within the confines of the Sultan's domains, it was inevitable that, with the marking out of national borders (often drawn by foreign bureaucrats in wood-panelled offices thousands of miles away from the people whose lives they all-too-frequently buggered up), some poor buggers were going to get caught in the wrong place - surrounded by those who had established their 'right to self-determination' and to hell with the rest. From the Serbs of Krajina and Kosova to the Arabs of Palestine to the Jews of Yemen; from the Armenians, the Kurds, the Hutu, the Gypsies and the Koutzovlachs to the Roman Catholics of Belfast and the Russians of Latvia: For every people in control of their own destiny, there are more who have lost what few rights they may have had in the past, all in the name of 'nationalism'.

And, throughout, the world approves.

But then, what is the world supposed to do, itself being made up of nation states?

The end result of this is, repeatedly, a kind of hypocrisy, whereby some ethnic groups are invited to assert their rights to a nation, while others are told to put up and shut up - depending, at all times, upon the power games of the wider region in which they are living.

Can the Cypriot Greeks go home again? Not while Turkey provides a fervently anti-communist, not-particularly-Islamic bulwark against Russia and the lunatics of the East. Can the Arabs of Palestine go home again? Not while Israel remains NATO's biggest friend in a sea of unstable, independent minded Arab states. Can the Serbs of Kosova go home again? Not while the pro-western Albanians are there to keep their orthodox, a-bit-too-slavic-for-their-own-good neighbours in check.

You're alright so long as you have a sponsor, and somebody, somewhere needs you to be a pain in the arse to someone else.

If you're a Gypsy, though, or a Tibetan, you might as well forget it.

Partition is horrible, but once it has been established as a means of creating strong nation states - which it has - there simply is no going back. And so long as there is partition, there will be losers.

So, to summarise: Nationalism is really, really bad, but it's what we've got, and that's what we have to work with.

Horrible really, isn't it?

Last edited by Dougal's Breakfast; 11.01.2009 at 22:19. Reason: can't type for toffee
Reply With Quote
The following 6 users would like to thank for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 11.01.2009, 21:41
Colonelboris's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 1,137
Groaned at 23 Times in 22 Posts
Thanked 1,273 Times in 671 Posts
Colonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Every time a set of nations either comes together or is forced together, it goes ok for a while, but always goes wrong, or at least so far in history. There will always be some grievance that 'them over there' have got it better than that end of the nation and there will always be someone to foment that for their own gain. As long as people can't see above the notion of their own tribe, then nationalism will exist.
But, at the same time, it's a step up from local tribes. Over time, it would appear that maybe the idea of the 'home unit' is slowly increasing in size, perhaps - we've gone from family, to tribe to nation and even given what we have now, nations increasingly work together. Given enough time, groups of nations may well merge into blocs and maybe one day they will even merge and we'll have our coke-drinking, teach-the-world-to-sing planet.
But there's likely a lot of bloodshed to hapen before then.
One way of speeding this process is the common outside threat. If a sufficient number of states are sufficiently threatened, then groups of previously disparate people can work together remarkably well.
__________________
New book out now: European Bird Names: A Translation Guide.
www.tonykeenebirds,co,uk - photos, paintings and drawings of Swiss, Australian, NZ and British birds
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Colonelboris for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 11.01.2009, 22:26
Deep Purple's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: England
Posts: 5,266
Groaned at 16 Times in 15 Posts
Thanked 5,255 Times in 2,557 Posts
Deep Purple has a reputation beyond reputeDeep Purple has a reputation beyond reputeDeep Purple has a reputation beyond reputeDeep Purple has a reputation beyond reputeDeep Purple has a reputation beyond reputeDeep Purple has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

There is a scale from acceptable to totally wrong:

Patriotism, Jingoism, Nationalism, Racism.

The difficulty comes in drawing the lines between these and the threshold for acceptance in particular circumstances.

Waving a national flag at a football match may be patriotic, whereas waving the same flag at a political rally could be taken as Nationalistic, or possibly even racist.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Deep Purple for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 11.01.2009, 22:45
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Quote:
View Post
There is a scale from acceptable to totally wrong:

Patriotism, Jingoism, Nationalism, Racism.

The difficulty comes in drawing the lines between these and the threshold for acceptance in particular circumstances.

Waving a national flag at a football match may be patriotic, whereas waving the same flag at a political rally could be taken as Nationalistic, or possibly even racist.
I seem to recall there being a thread about ethnicity and nationality a few months ago.... but I'm not entirely sure.

I agree that waving a flag at a football match is, most of the time, a bit of fun. At last year's EM, it was interesting to see how the loud, flag waving Greek crowd at the big-screen showing of the Russia/Greece match reacted to one of their number who took it a bit too far and started shouting nationalist obscenities at the (heavily outnumbered) Russians on the stand. Greeks are not exactly known for their, erm, internationalist qualities, but he was soon brought down to size, nevertheless. Nice to see, I have to admit.

The irony is, though, that quite a lot of nationalities, and their related ethnicities, are very recent creations. When a Scot from Edinburgh waves his saltire and hurls abuse at the effete Englishman at a football match, the chances are quite high that, not so very long ago, his own ancestors came from the same Anglo-Saxon stock. The difference between a Serb and a Croat is nothing more than the line left over from the division of the Roman Empire - there's no fundamental ethnic difference at all, other than the tendency of one to go to a Roman church, and the other to go to an Orthodox church. And Macedonians? Well, until the middle of the twentieth century, everybody just thought they were Bulgarian.

Even those nationalities which are not so closely tied to ethnicity (rare breeds that they are: Switzerland, the United States and a few other post-colonial nations being the only ones I can think of off the top of my head - I'm happy to be corrected here) are artificial constructions, often based on what the people aren't rather than what they are. It is fascinating to read American books and articles from the nineteenth century to see how the notion of 'being American' was almost consciously created, and was, to a large extent, defined by not being European, not being imperial, not being dynastic, not being subject to the whims of a pope or an aristocracy. Switzerland, too, is pretty much defined by what it isn't. That is, it isn't Germany, it isn't France, it isn't Italy, it isn't Europe, except when it is...

So, essentially, ethnicity and nationality are little more than a load of fuzzy nonsense, dictated as much by whose names you see on your voting slip as by anything as supposedly iron-cast as blood and soil.

Which is why, from where I'm standing, I can't see much difference between a flag waver at a football match and a flag waver at a National Front rally. They're both celebrating something that doesn't exist except in their own heads.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank for this useful post:
  #7  
Old 11.01.2009, 23:11
Macchiato's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Zurich
Posts: 732
Groaned at 22 Times in 15 Posts
Thanked 330 Times in 218 Posts
Macchiato is considered knowledgeableMacchiato is considered knowledgeableMacchiato is considered knowledgeable
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Nationalism & religion , can be more destructive than H bomb.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Macchiato for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 11.01.2009, 23:19
Colonelboris's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 1,137
Groaned at 23 Times in 22 Posts
Thanked 1,273 Times in 671 Posts
Colonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Quote:
View Post
Nationality & religion , can be more destructive than H bomb.
Nah, it was ideology that led to that, or more the difference thereof.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11.01.2009, 23:24
Colonelboris's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 1,137
Groaned at 23 Times in 22 Posts
Thanked 1,273 Times in 671 Posts
Colonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Quote:
They're both celebrating something that doesn't exist except in their own heads.
Mind you, a lot of things that only exist in people's head can be very much real and important to some. I'd imagine that very few people being shelled in some war or another take much comfort from knowing the reasons behind it are just a figment of imagination...
Mind you, there's sometimes something to be said for these thing we make up - what natural basis do we have for human rights? None. So it's just as well we do make these things up from time to time.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Colonelboris for this useful post:
  #10  
Old 11.01.2009, 23:33
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Quote:
View Post
Mind you, a lot of things that only exist in people's head can be very much real and important to some.
That's very true - and pretty much the point I'm getting at.

It's like race: There isn't really any biological support for the notion of 'race' as a discrete feature of human physiology. But as long as 'racism' exists, then we must recognise the existence of 'race'. The fact that it is a sociological construct makes it no less real.

The same goes for ethnicity: So long as nationalism exists, then we must acknowledge the notion of ethnicity too, even if it's a somewhat arbitrary concept, with very little to support it other than the wish that some people have to define themselves by their perceived differences from their neighbours.

They think it's real, therefore it's real, even to the rest of us.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11.01.2009, 23:40
Colonelboris's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 1,137
Groaned at 23 Times in 22 Posts
Thanked 1,273 Times in 671 Posts
Colonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Quote:
That's very true - and pretty much the point I'm getting at.

It's like race: There isn't really any biological support for the notion of 'race' as a discrete feature of human physiology. But as long as 'racism' exists, then we must recognise the existence of 'race'. The fact that it is a sociological construct makes it no less real.

The same goes for ethnicity: So long as nationalism exists, then we must acknowledge the notion of ethnicity too, even if it's a somewhat arbitrary concept, with very little to support it other than the wish that some people have to define themselves by their perceived differences from their neighbours.

They think it's real, therefore it's real, even to the rest of us.
Hmm, there is a very definite idea of race in biology and it does apply to humans, just as to other animals. Race is also not always discrete in animals, either.
But it's purely scientific, and by that, I mean there is no politics attached to it and nor should there be. Given the movement of people nowadays, race will probably become less of an issue, unless there is a sudden influx of people into an area - then you can get trouble.
But I agree with you about ethniticity.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 13.01.2009, 12:30
Macchiato's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Zurich
Posts: 732
Groaned at 22 Times in 15 Posts
Thanked 330 Times in 218 Posts
Macchiato is considered knowledgeableMacchiato is considered knowledgeableMacchiato is considered knowledgeable
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

I can open up the issue I was saying about religion and nationalism deeper, with some examples:
- Former bigger India divided to 3 parts, India, Bangladesh and pakistan (you have heard "Divide and rule policy" during last
centuries, colonisation,...) decades ago, and ever since politicians used to strengthen Nationalism, to get votes and rule easier,
and in the end there are always disputes and close-to-war situation, while differences betwen people of 3 countries are not more
than many diversities, differences inside those countries. So Nationalism causes the chaos, not ignoring religious fundamentalism.
I have seen often people in mentioned countries blame all problems to the other country.
- Most of the countries and borderlines in middle east set up right after WW-1 and collapse of Ottoman empire. Before that, sense
of nationalism was hardly existed in the region. Then some new cuntries evolved and Nationlism grew by politicians to unify the
countries and to strenghten against the other countries and of course to keep or get the power.
2 countries in the region have strongest sense of nationalism, Iran and Turkey, and the reason was first of all they were older
than the others in the region as an ifdentity (Iran, for 2.5 millen. and turkey for around 1 millen.) and after WW-1 Reza-shah in
Iran and Ataturk in Turkey, wanted to rebuild the countres from ruined corrupted and religious governments of Ghajar and Ottoman,
and used Nationalism to achieve this. They partly succeeded to do some modernization, but what they sacrifised was human rights and
religious or ethnic minorities right there. So to say, Nationalism became too important, and overshadowed some other rights and
aspects of life. In Iran shah, glorified past kingdoms a lot to relate himself to them and get more power. Since they focused too
much on it, some religious fundamentalism grew up within there to resist agains Nationalism, and during revolution this group could
mobilize lower educated and poorer part of society, and get the power, and rule out all other parties and beliefs.
-Kurdish problem arose in the region due to Nationalism. As said when British made borders in the region after WW-1 Kurds which are
related to Medes branch of Aryans, who moved more than 3 mille. before to that region and even had kingdoms around 800-600 B.C,
were divided in 4 countries,Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, and despite promise of those governments to deal with them fairly, as
soon as rulers got enough power, they started discrimination against them (and other smaller ethnic or relig. minorities) and the
result has been fights and protest for autonomy or independence,... So briefly to say those countires thought the only way to rule
stronger and unify is to ignore or deny different minorities for the sake of Nationalism.
-Since most of Arab Gulf countries established in 20th. cent., sense of Nationalism is much weaker in that region. Alsoin North Africa, since Islam and Arab invasion turned local poulation to diff. language,... Nationalism is not too strong there. As said before in another tread, in most of Arab countries Tribal valuse are stronger than Natioanlism.
-The issue of Palestine and Israel is also mixture of religious and Nationalism. After WWii, European and US did not mind to have most of Jews, somewhere else than EU or US, not to have ground for another war. And religious beliefs of Yahwa and Moses also promising of gatehring and get united in Holy land. Therefore Israel established under direct British mandate and control. However unlike they told jews "here is land without people for people without land", there were people inc. majority of palestinians living there. Then power of money, faith,... caused more and more land overtake, expelling more refugees to Jordan, Syria,... and all the issues you hear now.
- Hope one day human right will say last word, instead of National or religious interests! Amen.
To have a brief, If PKK or PLO or HAMAS or Turkish gov. or Jews or Moslims, or palestinians, Tamils, Basques,sikhs, Indian and
Pakistanis,... fight for 10000 years more, in the end, humans need to learn to tolerate each other and leave peacefully beside each
other. There is no other way around.
All diversities of man beings, like language, culture, color, race, (not religion) ... is to make the world nicer, not to make ground for disputes

and discriminations, fights, wars,... but unfortunately stupidity, selfishness and greed makes the things not as we wish!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 18.01.2009, 06:10
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

What happened to the OP?



Nothing to add? It's a fascinating subject, and well worthy of debate...
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 18.01.2009, 12:56
Colonelboris's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 1,137
Groaned at 23 Times in 22 Posts
Thanked 1,273 Times in 671 Posts
Colonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond reputeColonelboris has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Quote:
What happened to the OP?



Nothing to add? It's a fascinating subject, and well worthy of debate...
He's still struggling with the difference between facts and opinion...
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Colonelboris for this useful post:
  #15  
Old 18.01.2009, 14:03
Kicker
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Nationalism....is it right or wrong?

Don't worry I am still here and have read all your replies with interest.
It certainly opened my eyes to new aspects of this issue from different perspectives.
I thank everyone who has contributed so far and look forward to reading any other opinions.

I will make a contribution once I have something of value to add.

Mainly I wanted to know how others view the issue of Nationalism in today's societies and the importance that is placed upon it.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
globalization, immigration, nationalism, nations




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Circumcision: right or wrong? Guest General off-topic 1127 18.07.2020 16:04
Mainstream Media - What's Wrong With It? Guest International affairs/politics 157 13.09.2008 13:02
house buying that goes wrong :( patrious45 Housing in general 28 11.09.2008 15:56
What's wrong with Formica anyway? Galatea Complaints corner 8 18.08.2008 17:18
Is it wrong to snigger at what your child is doing? Zug bound General off-topic 10 09.11.2007 23:11


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 10:58.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0