The Myth of Nationality

Nationality. Some people get all teared up and emotional about their nationality. Others use it as a way to discriminate between people. Some even use it to hate and despise. Nationality is basically a dividing factor used to keep us from coming together like we should. As Europe supposedly comes together, nationalism is springing up all over the place from Yorkshire to parts of Belgium. Nationalism is ugly. It is basically a reaction of fear and hate. Nationality is about as silly as being in a gang. The sooner people understand that nationality is an accident of birth and purely arbitrary the better. Your nationality – those misplaced emotions about belonging to some gang – are being used by people who manipulate. They will cite history and other myth to get the reaction that they desire.

Let’s get something straight here. I am not talking about culture. I am not talking about making everyone the same. Differences are interesting and there is too much pressure to adopt some shallow version of fast food, pop culture. Nor am I talking about understanding who you are and why you are. No, I am talking about bearing a chip on your shoulder because you believe your ancestors where mistreated or ganging up on a minority because you fear what they may do to your culture. Yes – I am talking about the politics of division and hatred like the SNP and UKIP and National Front (Yorkshire One, Plaid Cymru and all of those nationalist parties without exception). Such nationalist parties always and without fail attract an element who sooner or later will resort to violence to achieve their objectives.

Until we realize that nationality is manipulated, abused and used to have us fight one another then it will remain a barrier to moving forward into a different reality where people see the similarities as things to unite as opposed to differences to fight over. Politics and religion are two other dividers.

One of my Facebook friends said that nationality was not an accident of birth but a spiritual challenge. I guess I agree with that. Perhaps we chose to be born in a particular location at a particular time hoping to transcend nationality as a divider. However, when I say it is an accident of birth I mean that there are some locations where depending on the year I was born, I could actually be a different nationality – borders move. Borders are arbitrary and man-made.

It is that latter point that we should remember. National borders are man-made and they are not permanent features of life on planet Earth. Your nationality is artificially created and in using it as a divider you may as well stamp a gang marking on your forehead – it is essentially the same thing after all.

I left the UK in 1989. While there I lived in Yorkshire, London, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Birmingham. I enjoyed being in all of those places. Each offered something new in terms of local customs and habits, landscapes and myths. I learned a lot and took away a lot. By age 14, I had spent considerable time in France. This was also an amazing experience. Since then, I have lived in Texas and traveled North America extensively (talk about an alien culture…. but a great one in its own way) and more recently, I have lived in the Czech Republic for almost a decade having had the opportunity to travel in what was eastern Europe. The UK these days seems like a foreign country to me. My nationality is only important in that I have to have a passport. The country that issues me with one no longer matters. I no longer view myself as belonging to a nationality gang. I enjoy experiencing other cultures, other landscapes, other mythologies… exploring the world and there is a lot of it yet to see.

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