I do not associate myself with any one particular country. This is not due to rebellion, nor is it a choice I have taken. It is simply the result of being of mixed race and having changed location every three years for my entire life, because my father worked for the Foreign Office. In fact, despite having moved out of my parents house a long time ago, I still continue to float around the planet, temporarily settling in countries before moving on.
Apart from familiarizing myself with both of my parents’ countries, which are Germany and Jordan, in what might have been an attempt to build a national identity, I also took from some of the cultures I was immersed in. A prime example being the UK for instance, in which I spent around 5 years. Accustoming myself quickly meant that I blended in, giving a feel for the host countries, their people, humour, traditions and problems.
Its indeed peculiar, because for a start, nations attempt to hide their problems from visitors, but the more I travelled, the quicker I adapted and the faster those boundaries disappeared, exposing me to the issues people faced everywhere I went. Secondly, due to this facade that people put up, perhaps in order to protect the honour of their country or something of the sort, transparency between even neighbouring countries becomes impossible.
Multiply this habit to a global scale, and looked at objectively, it is arguable that we are are all masked in the disguise of nationalism. This national introversion makes it difficult for countries to truly bond, and it is the people I am talking about, not the governments.
You might have a type of friend, or acquaintance that pretends to be perfect. We’ve all at least run into this type of person that hides their ‘problems’, whilst those around them are clearly aware that something is not going right. Reactions to this are usually twofold, as some jump straight to conclusions labelling this reserved acquaintance pretentious or superficial.
The other type of reaction is a more compassionate one, in response to which the pretentious perfectionist might even warm up. The guard has been dropped and reaction B person gets to see a side of their friend’s perfect problems, which are of course very similar to everyone else’s. Meanwhile reaction person A is completely oblivious to the extent and nature of their acquaintance’s issues, as well as the potential similarity, thus distancing themselves and practically eliminating the potentials of a future bond.
It has come to the extent that countries once under the Ottoman empire for instance, which share extremely similar cultural traditions, are mostly unaware of the similarities of a country that’s almost half way across the globe. Take the example of the Balkans and North Africa. I am not however, suggesting that everyone on the planet is the same, although in a sense we are. What I do suggest, is that the similarities far exceed the differences. This is not even taking into account variables like income, which bond the majority of the planet.
Once more, even in this example there are reasonable differences, but the similarities of the ‘99%’ are greater than the difference between most people and the extremely elite which continue to run this planet, fuelling countries with unnecessary nationalistic ideals, separating them from each other.
Masked in pseudo-identities, nations create walls built out of egotistical materials such as pride and judgement and most importantly fear. Fear of the neighbour, who is just as afraid as you are. It has become so widespread and common that the almost the entire world economy is based on it, because war is profitable, so is religion and it has even found its way into the nice of spirituality. The fear of letting go of your ties to a country, to wars you never fought and to past ideals, to what might happen when you connect with yourself beyond your country, your country’s culture. I am not suggesting we abandon our cultures, but add the part where we are understanding with our neighbours because they ttoo are humans. Only then will we create world peace, through non-judgement, compassion and transparency.