Saturday, September 20, 2008



.......................continued from part 24


Definition. The America Heritage Dictionary (1978) gives the meaning of nationalism as devotions to interests of a particular nation. Historically it attempted to unite men around flag and country (Groth, pp.85). Nationalism channels its aggression impulses toward outsiders. It is a predisposition to pay for more atention about one's own people, or the messages from its members, than to messages from or about any other people. Extreme nationalists want their people to have all the power, all the wealth, and all the well-being for which they can possibly compete. They want their people to command all the respect and deference they can possibly get from others; they tend to claim all rectitude and virtue for their country, as well as all enlightment and skill; and they give it a monopoly of their afection. In short, extreme nationalists identify totally with their nation. Though they may be willing to sacrifice themselves for their country, their nationalism is a form of egotism written large (Deutsch, op.cit. pp.114)
The belligerent nature of nationalism can not be possibly concealed. The bloody French Revolution of 1789 marked the birth of nationalism (Groth, op. cit. pp.80), and since then the nationalists had inflamed the aggressive impulses in human beings on war-path that resulted in numerous tragedies. Between 1918 and 1945, nationalism became synonimous with intolerence, inhumanity and voilence (Alter, 1985; pp.5)
Deutsch (op.cit.pp.115) noted that in a speech at Montreal in 1966, the then United States Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara stated that more than three fifths of the 149 conflicts that the United States Defence Department had counted since 1945 had occurred within the non-communist world. These were primarily conflicts engendered by nationalism.
It is ugly. In its zeal to gather support, nationalism has to invoke the potent human agrression impulses and direct them towards chosen targets. The rise of nationalism in the present day Muslim nation-states was primarily to oust the colonial rules. Once the colonialists were ousted, the nationalists will have to invent new enemies in order to feed the ferver of nationalism, without which its tremor would subside and seep into thin air.
It has to unleash its aggression so as the reverberations would keep the feeling constantly boiling, and this, according to the nationalists' calculation, is needed to keep them in power. Therefore the nationalists turn to other races in their respective countries in order to unleash this effervenscence.
The recent events in Malaysia demonstrated this ugly nature of nationalism. The issue of pig rearing plans in the state of Selangor had been used to stoke discontent among the population of the state and the country as well. The issue of calling the azan for the prayers of the Muslim population in the Puchong area in Selangor was harped upon by the nationalists with the single aim of creating hatred among Muslims and non Muslims, so that their nationalistic sentiment can feed on the discontent. The recent furor sparked by some nationalists which attempted to identify Chinese Malaysians as squatters or temporary residents was another clear example of the feed that the beast called nationalism needs to feast on.
Nationalism is a husbandary herd which feeds on hatred. be continued