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Death for the Motherland


Death for the Motherland


  The most important thing in the national notion of a motherland is the willingness to die for it. Contemporary national education and popular culture instill into the consciousness of people the numerous attributes of a powerful patriotism: Love of ones country, devotion to the nation, the great Motherland and so on. Political terms are at great pains to connect with deep human emotions and instincts, because these connections make a man controllable. 
For example, memories of childhood and emotional attachment to native places, which are peculiar to the majority of the planet's people, are tightly fastened together withthenotionsofMother=Home=Motherland=Country. That is, when a question arises about the fact that one need fight for the country, it turns out that one must fight for his childhood, for mother, and for home. Lets try to grasp where the substitution takes place here.

  The thing is that in the succession of values mentioned, the notion country is not at all as natural as it can appear. The country is per se a political association, and, when they say: "I love my country, this, using the strictest standards, is just as strange as to say I love the United Nations or I adore the lower house of parliament"...

  Everyone becomes responsible for social, psychological or natural surroundings of living in different ways.  Some simply are brought up like that, some with the advent of children begin to reflect about where to rear them, some after illness, a psychological or social cataclysm, but often in a combination of all these factors. And in particular these people, for whom what happens around them makes a difference, become the primary bearers of national propaganda, mistakenly equating patriotism with political association with the country.

   The national idea so deeply enters into the subconscious that its loss is equivalent to the destruction of the family, the destruction of the aura of life or even of castration.  For example, after the break up of the Soviet Union, the arguments of the elderly of the opponents of the break up, sounded like:  How will you rear children now?  How will they grow up? What will they be?  The break up of the state is perceived by them as the break up of a tribal clan or the family. The loss of a customary symbolism inflicts a deep emotional trauma, causing one to lose ones bearings in an ethnic space.

  A deeply instinctive need of man is to feel himself a part of society - that marketplace in which all modern political practices are parasitic. Any national politician is supposed to use the word "we," denoting unity within the framework of the state, and the word "they," denoting all those or are outside it. Such a division even has a basis for all the crimes of nationalism of the conscious and of the unconscious.

  Nationalism just pours from the screens and pages of the mass media even in the most developed of democratic countries. Lets take any news source, for example, CNN. A report about the wreck of an airplane over the ocean without fail will begin with a report of how many Americans died, notice, not teenagers, not children, not women who often generally are not referred to as statistical units, but of Americans in particular. That is, if Americans were not injured, isn't this such a great tragedy any longer?  Its the very same picture in any country of the world. When terrorists blew up a night club on Bali, all the Russian mass media emphasized in their reports that no Russians were there.

  It is impossible to limit patriotism, or responsibility for living surroundings, to one country, since such the limitation quickly leads to serious consequences.  For example, a long indifference to what is happening in the Arab world has placed the majority of countries in the Near and Middle East in the position of societies lacking in prospects, in which the influx of oil incomes support not the sprouting of progress, not the first steps of democratization, but feudal, medieval control systems, preventing the region from being developed naturally.

  In particular, the thinking of the we and they type has given birth to the al-Qaida phenomenon. It has allowed the Western world from the start to forget irresponsibly about the existence of problems in Afghanistan, and now, after the events of 9-11, instead of a considered, long-term policy, to carry out hysterical bombings and spasmodically search out the guilty.   

   This very thinking allows for the sake of the punishment of one criminal, Milosevic or Hussein, the dropping of purposeful bombs on peaceful people. Certainly, if Serbia were an American state, the means of force would be more civilized. But the Serbs weren't in luck, they don't elect the president of the United States. The American political establishment doesnt depend on the Balkans in any way directly, so one may use any means, right up to mass bombings. And after all, there are few of the national patriots for whom this is any of their business!

  But real, global patriotism already exists. Greenpeace activists and some other organizations partly demonstrate this today, although it is impossible to be limited to the protection of the environment. The protection of public health and the basic material security of all people on the planet is the very same, and perhaps, even more important, a priority in the struggle for the future of mankind. You will not build happiness and prosperity in one country taken separately, its as if the country werent rich and it is all the same per se a very spacious prison, since the chief feature of the prison is a border, which is impossible to cross in the usual manner.

  Of course, to be a new-tradition patriot is somewhat more difficult than to be a nationalist who is saddled with xenophobia and focused only on his own home concerns. War in Africa or flooding in Bangladesh, the income level in Afghanistan or human rights in China do not worry such a national patriot. They answer everything with one question: What business is it of mine?  And a tragedy of the type of terrorist act in Moscow is needed in order that, although for a short time, it comes to that: it is not possible to be fenced off by frontier posts from worldwide problems. It is sad that for the attraction of attention to the problems of the Moslem countries, al-Qaida had to appear and how much blood will be enough to understand that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't just the business of the Jews and the Palestinians?

  You see, despite everything occurring, the majority of responsible, patriotic people as before are continuing to limit the zone of activities of their own conscience by national frameworks. As before, they think only of their own dead, dividing mankind into we and they.

  The new-tradition form of global patriotism excludes political terms from the notion of "motherland," because it is impossible to divide the motherland into parts. The motherland cannot come to an end at the border where in two paces it is no longer the motherland, the motherland cannot be a country. And not to mention fighting, because everyone has it the same. And if it is even necessary to fight, then, most likely, with those who try to divide it, with those, for whom, even with political or with economic points of view, it is favorable to limit the freedom of their own citizens, while following a border on the ground and calling their side the motherland, for which one needs to die without thinking and without hesitation. Often just for the glory of the fatherland.

In conclusion, I want to cite the example of an exceptionally deep understanding of patriotism by one veteran of the Second World War. A reporter asked him to tell how he fought for his country. The veteran answered: I didnt fight for the country, I fought with fascism.

Vlad Melamed . 2002

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