Friday, December 02, 2016

Burning a flag: My thoughts of patriotism.

It’s been too long since I’ve updated this blog, and I find that there are so many things I want to say that I don’t know where to begin.
Too many times I started to write entries about the US election, and every single one of those entries got deleted upon further reflection. However, this is a blog about a citizen of the world (in Japan, though raised in Spain) so I have a strong opinion when it comes to patriotism and flags.
Yes, the straw that broke the camel’s back is the recent controversy on flags.

Patriotism is something I grew up surrounded in, yet was never a part of. Seriously, though, as the foreign child (with the strange name) in a provincial, almost rural town, it’s no wonder I was considered an “outsider.” Children would call me racial slurs, but boys will be boys, right? Who knows, maybe if I had been Spanish, or Catalan, this would’ve happened anyway --rendering my point moot. But still, the words they used --the words I grew up with-- were racist.

It saddens me to admit this has skewered my perspective, but denial would be worse.

So when I see patriotic events taking place, flags on balconies, graffities on walls, the rejection I grew up with makes my stomach churn.

Sure, I could “get over it.” I have certainly improved in leaps and bounds when it comes to unpleasant memories, but patriotism is a sore spot. It’s not something I could possibly agree with. I’ll nod politely if you mention it, if you profess to love your country (as is your absolute right) but you will never hear me say “I love my country as well.” Ever.
(For starters, what on Earth is my country, anyway?)

To me, patriotism is a wall. A wall that surrounds people, making them happy and snug and comfortable if they’re on the inside… and that shuts down the poor unfortunate ones who ended up on the wrong side. The ones on the inside don’t *usually* think of those outside their zone, and some even believe those on the outside deserve to be there. “They’re not one of us,” and some might even believe them if it’s yelled enough times.

Source: Petrol/CanStockPhoto

So yes, patriotism.

When I see a flag, I am reminded of that wall. I hear “I am snug in my world,” and see the poor fellows who ended up outside. You’re either in or out. That’s the thing about flags, there’s no middle ground. You might have more than one, but if you’ve got zero, you’ve got an absolute zero.

Also, do remember what flags have meant over the course of history. Good things, yes, but too many bad things have been done in the name of patriotism (and religion, yes, yes). I am half-German and half-Japanese, raised in Spain. These three countries have a deep, dark history with self-love for their country and hate for the outsider, and I would be a fool to ignore what’s been written in the blood of millions.

※Flags are a huge trigger for me, but it’s one I’m willing to face in order to put my views out there. Because this is about a wall, about racism, and about all the children who are called names because they’re not on the inside.

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