Do Patriotism and Nationalism see eye to eye?
Throughout History, we have seen Nationalism growing as nations of people of the same culture, traditions, and heritage. Like many things in our world, different versions of Nationalism have cropped up in history, healthy ones as well as unhealthy versions. The ‘healthy’version of Nationalism that entirely focuses on the Patriotic Identity of people, is ‘the story’ about these people and how they live in micro and macro communities making them part of the society that distinguishes them. They have a pride in their heritage as part of their identity; a pride in their life skills that have been passed down from generation to generation, which is inevitably embraced in time by the philosophy they have of their way of living life- bound by the ethics behind this pride they value.
Their homeland is distinguished by the landform and characteristics of their land that has cradled them, fed them and even protected them from invading forces. The land and its morphosis have been the ‘home’ of the people who have respected it, for it has provided them with a living; not to mention that it has been detrimental for their survival. Furthermore, their land has inspired them in a school of thinking and the development of the discipline of education on how to overcome obstacles in order for these people to habitat regions harmoniously in small communities as hamlets, villages, towns and even cities. This alone in time, over time, has instilled a love and a pride for their land these people have, and have fought so vividly to protect it for they have sacrificed hard labor, over the generations to respect it, for it has always been the basic element of their survival and is respected as a Nation of their people and their heritage. It is a form of identification and a sense of belonging which has always been part of the nature of human beings.
How many times, when in a foreign country, have people felt comfortable with their own people and have always called them “Patrioti-Patriot”? The language, heritage, and philosophy through customs and traditions bind people. Constantino G LAMERAS states this in his book ” LEVISSI and MAKRI”(1945) where he has documented Hellenic Traditions and Customs throughout the ages. Lameras has always supported the fact that custom and traditions determine the National Identity of people.
Nationalism developed in an ‘armed force’ and Patriotism clung on to Ethnicity as Identity.
Growing up in the 1970’s we tended to read books that George Orwell had written in the 1940’s and tended to see Nationalism in a different light. Just after the Second World War Nationalism was seen as a ‘Dirty word’. But why? To understand the ‘ugly’ version of Nationalism would be to study Economic, Industrial, Social and of course Colonial History. To understand the course of events that led to the growth of Empires, Colonisation and the reasons behind them their establishment, the study of History is required. Wealth and the continuous supply of resources for growing Industries in the North of the Western World played a vital role in creating a more ‘Dynamic Version of Nationalism’. As indicated in History this form of Nationalism used populations of people and probably conditioned them to believe that there were classes of nations as there were economic classes in Modern Society of a ‘new age’. Where diplomacy did not work in persuading Nations to trade resources for good, sophisticated weaponry did. Weaponry worked particularly with a conditioned army that would die to maintain their country’s wealth and power over weaker Nations where governing figures began to acquire wealth in exchange for their Nation’s wealth and even sovereignty.
The European Continent saw dramatic changes since the ‘discovery of the wheel’. The strange thing is that even though we had invented the wheel, funny enough, it was not after a very long time later we built roads-and they were built for trade and later armies. National Identity existed, we can even refer to it as ‘Ethnic Identity’. People for a very long time dwelled and survived through farming and agricultural activity where trade began to flourish. This trade and the development of the Cottage Industry soon led to Industry and the growth of Cities. With the Fall of the Roman Empire, The Byzantine Empire held the ‘light’ during the ‘Dark Ages’ of the West. The Middle Ages saw a consolidation of power particularly in Unified Countries under the Aristocracy and Monarchy that sought resources for their newfound Industries that mobilized an economy. The Industrial Revolution then led to the search for resources that were plentiful in nearby regions and always catered for the demand in the communities but later the demands to fuel Industries that in turn helped the growth of cities in most parts of Europe. This is when Colonisation and New Found Empires established themselves. This brought a lot of wealth and the establishment of economic classes. The centralization of wealth in large growing cities began to establish a different form of Nationalism. This New Nationalism that was governed by establishing boundaries collecting taxes and protecting regions with an army grew a gained power that led to wars. Wars were fought for different reasons that can be seen from the Boar Wars; WW1; The Genocides and looting of the property and wealth of Armenians, Assyrians, and Hellenes throughout Asia Minor; WW2 and many other wars and conflicts that were based on ideological differences and the exertion of power in controlling Natural Energy resources even though they belonged to other Nations. The technological age led to more wealth and commercialism in the 1970’s -1990’s. What soon took over was the Information Age which led to a new form of Ideological Theories and Globalization and Maro Economics absorbing Nations into Common markets and free trade for multinational companies and renewed Economic Institutions that assured continuous growth and the disregard of National Sovereignty as a part of the ‘New World Order’,as seen in wars in the Middle East and Mesopotamia. Since the discovery of Natural Gas under Syria, The Dodecanese, Cyprus, and Crete in 2010 different waring strategies have been used: Not only through non-conventional wars but through economic wars and economic crisis used to create Nations of Slaves by having governments create national debts. Another serious problem that probably has been a product of the overall strategy in he Powerful becoming more powerful is the use of displaced people that were uprooted from their homelands from the wars that have occurred. The Humanitarian Crisis with millions of refugees and illegal Immigrants has created problems in Europe, particularly Italy, Spain, and Greece with people from different countries and Nations. This has disappointed people worldwide. It has forced them to re-evaluate their values, their ideologies, and even their National Identity.
How is Patriotism, that a different form of Nationalism, seen today?
People have ‘wised up’ to what has happened in the world since 2008. The fall of the stock market in the USA and the economic crisis had a great number of effects and changes to what people were familiar with in the recent past. The economic crisis had great changes in working and living standards and conditions. To make things worse the ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ with displaced people from war-torn countries who want to go to different places in Europe, has caused a drastic stand by people. Some countries in the Balkans have closed their borders. Many countries in Europe have closed their borders too. On the shores of Greece, Italy, and Spain, they still keep coming, on boats, dinghies and even on foot. The Mediterranean has turned in to a refugee cemetery with so many refugees, asylum seekers, and illegal immigrants. The Government in Greece has adopted a particular mentality which is not in line with what people are experiencing in the economic crisis. Not only do they feel the burden of austerity and high taxation. They are experiencing a drop in incomes whether it is a salary or even in rental properties. People do not receive as an income what they are expected to receive. People feel at a loss of what they should believe in. The people have been told to accept these people. They have been asked not to sing the National Amthen at schools. They have even been discouraged to raise the flags. How do you expect people to feel with all these measures? The added problems on the islands in the East Aegean have given rise to a need to hold onto the Patriotic identity people have. Is this a form of Racist Nationalism? Or is it a last desperate need to hold onto their Patriotic Identity. Seeing a Nation lose its control of sovereign rights to National Resources, Airports and Shipping Ports have people worried about their Nation. Did their Fathers and Grandfathers die in vain in protecting this nation? Are we as a Nation confident and comfortable with the Allies we have and even the neighbors that exist around us?
We shall see. Summer isn’t finished yet. We have had a great number of Mysterious fires In Attiki, Skopelos, Rhodes, Evia, and even on the islands of ‘epta nisa’- the Ionian Islands.