But maybe it’s okay not to belong…
Day five of #JPsLateNightScribbles
I’d be lying if I said I’d rather be writing right now instead of being curled up with a mind-numbing novel. I’d even twiddle my thumbs instead. Or maybe stare at the ceiling fan go round and round. And round.
But no. I will write on…
(And that’s because I don’t have a goddamn ceiling fan. Duh, that’s so passé!)
(And because I’m not even a week into the 100 day challenge!)
(Why the !@&* did I take up this sodding challenge in the first place?)
A steaming pot of coffee ready. Brows furrowed. A miserable expression plastered on. You know, the perfect setting for a cliché crabby hermit writer.
Tapping my nails away, waiting for inspiration to come my way as I mute my phone, trying to ignore the incessant incoming messages wishing me a very “Happy Independence Day!” Paired with those are the lengthy chain 11MB patriotic videos in that annoying shrilly voice trying to make me feel guilty for not sending it out to 17 people. What’s worse though, is when I don’t forward them and I die the next day…
Every bloody year.
And I’m not even Indian!
Well I’m of Indian origin. So it’s not really the same thing…
I was born in Mauritius.
I have lived in three different countries throughout my young adulthood.
And now I’m traveling the world looking to take over another city and call it ‘home’.
So, wait, come to think of it…where do I really belong? What a bourgeois question to be asking myself, I know.
Yes, I am Mauritian but the truth is I don’t think I identify myself with one particular nation. And I love it. Of course, I understand the need for people to feel part of a bigger group and it seemingly goes back to a primeval feeling of security in larger numbers. But as years have gone by, I realize that the feeling of being controlled by geography is one I have tried my best to knock back.
Quit judging me and ponder the following statement:
Is love for a nation natural? Or is it something that is foisted upon you at home, in school and on national television? In that same breath, does patriotism become a form of brainwashing idolatry? And, by extension, what is the difference between nationalism and patriotism in the world today? And why should I succumb to any of that malarkey?
Some will argue that patriotism is a duty we have towards the country while the more pragmatic and forward thinking will speak of a better future, should we adopt a patriotic attitude. Fair enough — no arguments there. But as an educated young and extremely rebellious woman, it would be justified to question my ‘patriotism’ (or lackthereof) towards Mauritius. Think about it: you go to a school where you are taught to pledge allegiance to a country you know nothing about yet. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot like indoctrination to you? What makes up a country is everything within the borders of that nation. But why should I be proud to be from a country where there has NEVER been a government that has NOT been accused of flagrant corruption, nepotism and social injustice?
Let’s use a broader analogy. Plato’s Crito highlights the plight of Socrates who knew that he had been unfairly condemned and as a result, put behind bars and yet, he felt it would be “wrong” for him to violate the laws of Athens by escaping from prison. Don’t Socrates’ patriotism and acceptance of his fate here help perpetuate a form of injustice? And patriotism is a concept that seems to have no alternative: it’s either you are or you are not. And there’s nothing you can do to counter patriotism other than not being patriotic. But at the same time, wouldn’t you consider it an argument from ignorance? Hitler went to war, rose to power and people that went along with his ideologies did so because they decided their country was worth fighting for. Regardless of Hitler’s political and social agenda. Because they had the ultimate trust in their country. A trust that was misused as a banner to justify heinous actions.
Am I thankful to be Mauritian? Yes.
Culturally-attached to my country? Yes.
Unpatriotic? Most definitely!
And I am not ashamed of it.