Saturday, February 09, 2008

National pride: the good, the bad and the ugly

I hate it when people treat me like dirt because I'm foreign. I have lost count of the number of times I have been told, "*&^% off back to wherever it is you came from!" often by "service" staff when I have challenged them on a point which, from my position as customer, I feel entitled to do... within reason. I hate the bandying of epithets and the denigrating attachment of stereotypical prejudice.

But I have just this minute sat through the anthems at the start of the Scotland v Wales game in the Six Nations rugby tournament, and the tears are ready to spill over. The camera zoomed in on one man who was punching the air at about waist height, singing his heart out (okay - he was Welsh, and they're a nation known for their love of and skill for singing). And during Scotland's anthem, Nathan Hines - all hairy 6'7" of him, was weeping openly. I love that. I'm always a wreck during anthems - the passion and pride get me just here... and as for the opening ceremonies of the olympics, wel don't even get me started!

So is national pride good or bad... or just plain ugly?

I reckon there is a line between national pride and nationalism. Sporting competitions tend towards the latter, but it's the former that gets my goat!

What I love about this community is the way we can express our national pride without getting nationalistic about it. Anyone who reads this blog regularly, will know that, even after a 9 year absence, my heart is still in South Africa - much as it has turned into a place I know I will never feel able to return to. In spite of the fact that he now speaks his mother tongue with less skill than he does English (and with a strong South African accent), my husband's national pride is for Sweden. We are never in any doubt that Dave Snowden is Welsh to his core - his posts make it abundantly clear, while Stephen Downes is a proud Canadian. - I mean, just check out that flag on his home page! I use those two as particularly strong examples, but there are others whose national pride comes through loud and clear.

And why not, I say? It's part of who we are.

No comments: