Beyond Borders

I love my country. It’s a wonderful blend of cultural extremes and unquestionable natural beauty. The natural environment feeds the national psyche but is quite possibly under appreciated by a majority of inhabitants. The contemporary, urban environment I call home is richly multicultural, spiritually varied and is underpinned by an ancient civilisation that existed for thousands of years before it was subjugated by western ideals. Sounds like a lot of other countries yet we all have our particular unique characteristics.

Much of my outlook has been shaped by the filter of my national psyche. There are parts of it I adore and other parts that I am ashamed of. I will defend it and then at other times criticise it for failing its citizens.

So even though I love my country, the idea of nationalism doesn’t work for me.

The main reason I don’t feel overly nationalistic is because I see national borders as divisions rather than unifiers. I see myself as human first and citizen of a nation as secondary.

Take a big picture snapshot. Looking at the history of space and time it’s hard to accept attaching my entire identity to something that has only existed for a very short period of time. It’s like going to the beach, picking a grain of sand and saying ‘I define myself based on this grain of sand’. It’s random, an accident of birth, granted, for some of us, a lucky accident. Just imagine if you had been born in a different country, or born at a different time in history. What you love suddenly becomes very subjective.

It doesn’t make sense to me to decide who I help, who I protect or who I care about based on national borders. They are arbitrary, completely subject to change and not nearly as important as the people in charge would have you believe.

Not believing in nationalism does not mean you don’t love your country. On the contrary, you love it for what it is, not what others tell you it is. How much do you allow borders to determine how you think, feel or love?

Evan Shapiro
Author – Road To Nowhere

What do you think?