The Perils of Patriotism

Yes I have two flags tattooed on my lower back. I did this in my younger days as a symbol of heritage pride. A tattoo that will remain factual until I perish. Unlike a butterfly or stars or some twigs, the meaning and relevance will not change. I was born in England to one parent from Barbados. Fact.

Over the years I’ve prided myself on being able to correct people’s factual mistakes about England, Barbados and the wider Caribbean. Attended some sports games in support of my various home teams and even cheered (this is a big deal for those of you who know me. I try my best to meter and even suppress my enthusiasm). I even used to be Super West Indian (a super hero like figure who adorns everything in the flags of their country. examples: headrests of the car, wrapping my head, using the flag as a belt. Not only is this extremely tacky, many countries have guidelines and laws that prohibit the various uses of a flag other than on a flagpole or over the bodies of soldiers (draped across one’s ass really is a significant sign of disrespect if you think about it).

However, I’ve grown leery of patriotism and the attributes associated with it. Profound sense of pride for a body of land, judgement of someone not from that land, that superiority muscle you flex when you’re on someone else’s body of land…What is it all in aid of?

When we’ve left this world. Death is a certainty we’re all assured. Will the degree of our patriotism be called into question? Will our entrance or treatment in an afterlife depend on how much we loved that piece of land we were born upon? Or our parents? Or grandparents?

The love or perceived love of a country can galvanise people to do the wrong thing. Persecute, hunt, beat, and isolate people. The flag, the symbol of patriotism is generally used to divide. Planted on land to stake claim to it and its inhabitants. Not to take that flag and wave it in unison with the flag of another.

Now don’t misconstrue my words. I am extremely appreciative for those who fought and continue to fight to protect me, my freedom and save millions globally from the perils of evil. I’m also sorry for the soldiers who have lost their life and limb for fictitious wars and greed.

credit Stijn Swinnen (Unsplash)

Patriotism is another ism. Something to be proud of. Our homes, our grades, our jobs, our possessions…something to tweet about. It gives us another reason to discriminate, exclude. I’m not perfect, definitely not a peaceful hippie and can accept that this concept will not go away nor am I judging people who want to exercise their rights to be proud. Perhaps my lack of patriotism stems from my nomad status, multicultural background? 🤷🏽‍♀️

As with previous posts, my opinion is my own. It applies to me. I don’t seek to change your life or lifestyle.

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