Re: Re: Easter I916 Commemorative Military Parades to return to Dublin
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I don’t see what’s to celebrate about nationalism. It’s basically a form of mild xenophobia presented as some sort of moral virtue. I find all nationalistic displays off-putting – not just American and British flag-waving and pompous smug self-congratulation but also the Irish version of it.
While mild nationalism has been used as a tool for some liberation movements to create popular support for independence, I don’t know of any other positive contribution that it has made to humankind. On the other hand I can think of many many instances when modern nationalism (i.e. the form which emerged in Europe in the early 19th century) was (and continues to be) used as a tool to create human suffering on an unprecendented scale.
I’d consider myself a human first and an Irish person second. I can’t deny the appeal of nationalism, having gone through a phase of being quite nationalistic myself for a few years but I actually hate it now. You don’t have to have militaristic displays, etc. in order to appreciate Irish history, culture and identity.
Suggesting that celebrating nationalism will be a sign of our self-confidence as a nation makes little sense to me. It seems to me that it’s a lack of self-confidence which encourages people to turn to nationalism. Historically this has been the case anyway (think of Germany between the wars). It’s almost and admission that there’s little or nothing to celebrate about Ireland except the fact that we happened to be born here. Everyone in the world was born in some country – there’s nothing unique about been born anywhere. When we had no self-confidence as an independent country, we seemed to spend considerable energy “celebrating” our nationalism. Thankfully these days, people expend their energies on more productive and socially rewarding persuits. You still have the option of following a football team if you need a dose of flag waving, emblems and feeling part of an arbitrary group.