I am opposed to the concept of nationalism for several reasons. I believe it separates people and causes unnecessary conflicts and tensions, based on constructed and often arbitrary boundaries. Furthermore, the nationalistic pride garnered within a boundary is based on an “imagined community” (the concept coined by Benedict Anderson), when in fact there are endless differences among people that belong to the same ‘nation’.
The point of this blog is to reflect on a conversation a friend and I had today over the 10-year anniversary of September the 11th, a day that “changed the world”.
He insisted on wearing his I <3 NY T-Shirt and a large American Flag caped around him.
While I said, “you do what you got to do”, I told him that I thought it was too much.
After some banter, in which he told me he was remembering those that died in the tragedy and wearing his nation’s flag proudly to let people know that He is an American and honoring the victims of the tragic event.
I recognize and sympathize with those that lost family members, friends, colleagues, even acquaintances to the highly undignified and cowardly terrorist acts. However, events such as this happen in many places around the globe and the countless victims that die go almost unnoticed by the world. So, the problem I have with the 11th of September and commemorating the anniversary each year is that it is almost as though we are saying, well the other lives that are lost to terrorist activities are less significant.
Why is it that so much emphasis gets placed on an event when it occurs on American soil?
Ok, maybe this is a bit too critical, but I feel that because we placed so much emphasis on the attacks, it justified going into Iraq, Afghanistan, sending drones to Pakistan, all of which have killed many thousands of innocent lives. So for me, the nationalistic pride (which I have a problem with in the first place) and the solidarity that is brought about came at the expense of creating this “other” and attacking and killing so many lives. To me, this is unjustified.