Did you ever happen to be in a football stadium? And if so, have you experienced that distinctive feeling of everybody in that arena supporting their team? During the World Cup this year, we were ones again brought a little closer to that feeling of patriotism, of belonging all together in a sense.
But, let’s stick to the facts, apart from events like the WC, the Olympic Games or others which are connected to sports mainly, patriotism isn’t that spread in Germany. But why?
When we speak in terms of globalization, one thinks of the gathering of countless different races in one country for example. This means that there are many different individuals and many different cultures. Isn’t it wonderful that, especially during big sporting events, all those individuals are united by patriotism? Even if it is not their fatherland, which they support, at least they support the country they live in.
This so-called “party-patriotism“ is very dangerous. We would like to give a current example of this years world cup in Brazil. During the game between Germany and Ghana, when Germany was one behind, some supporters of the German national team published racist comments on social networks. Probably these people aren’t racist at all, but under this special atmosphere, they could not accept seeing their team lose.
In our opinion this example clearly shows how easy one can be attracted to become closed, hostile or even aggressive towards other countries. As a consequence you can say that there is only a thin line between PATRIOTISM and NATIONALISM.
Actually Germans do have some things to be proud of, some of the world’s greatest minds, like Goethe, Schiller, Lessing, Tucholsky, Luther, Beethoven, Bach, Willy Brandt and many others are of German origin.
Yet, in the first and second world war, Germany, driven by nationalism, wanted to conquer the rest of Europe and committed crimes way beyond our imagination, like the Holocaust.
Especially the second world war, which Germany lost, lead to a total loos of reputation in the European community (which actually of course didn’t exist yet, but however was present in a way amongst the allied forces). Germany had to surrender on the 8th of May 1945.
Ever since that day, it is has become impossible to love our country and to be proud of it’s achievements and it’s past. Although some people say that the peaceful revolution of 1989/1990 in eastern Germany and eventually the resulting fall of the Berlin Wall again gave us a reason to be proud, we disagree with them. Not wanting to doubt the bravery and compassion the people had to tare down the endless seeming barriers between our world and their world, you have to see that these events couldn’t have happened if Hitler and the Nazis weren’t there and they hadn’t lost the war. It is impossible to ignore certain elements of history just because something astonishing happened a few years later on that base. We’re of the opinion that history can only be seen as one thing, one complex structure that is connected in so many endless ways. That makes it very difficult to be patriotic, because every country has it’s dark periods.
We think patriotism is behind the times. We’re living through the greatest age of global inter-racial, inter-ethnic understanding, which is known as globalization. We all live in one world and yet we seem to be separated invisible borders that only exist on maps.
But people rather tend to not understand this. If they had understood it, would there still be wars going on all across the globe? We doubt it. Admittedly we don’t understand this ourselves, although we’ve just written it down.
Christopher Peter and Joris van Uffelen