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Aysha Taryam: Patriotism: What does it really look like?
August 30, 2017
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We must remember that patriotism is different for everyone but one thing remains true, it is one’s love for his land and no one should be allowed to gauge that according to unrealistic measures.

Defining patriotism in its simplest form is “love of one’s country”, until the 1980s this definition seemed to be sufficient. Yet due to the ever-turbulent world political climates, with globalisation opening doors to the intermingling of cultures and migration on the rise it became obvious that a fleshing out of this basic definition was required. Noticing the power that lies within the idea of patriotism and the variety of emotions it evokes within a human being philosophers began to take great interest in the shades and layers of this elusive concept.

Patriotism regardless of its diverse manifestations spurs from the most persistent and esteemed human ideals, it spurs from love. Psychologists have found that love is closely connected with a human’s vision of happiness and therefore it seems to be the underlying emotion for all that drives us. We all think we understand love yet we fail to see that no two loves are the same, each of us loves in a way that is intrinsic to their character and as psychologists would argue depends on the examples of love a person has witnessed during childhood. Some loves are passionate, some verge on the insane, some loves are timid, compassionate and some are unconditional. If patriotism is a product of love then it too is specific to each person. One’s love for his country is a very sacred emotion that is intertwined with their sense of moral obligation and is an essential part of one’s identity. And just like all types of love, patriotism’s manifestations take many forms depending on and more importantly specific to each individual. One might show patriotism by the simple act of bending over to pick up garbage off the street, another might engage in community service, even in a grandmother’s prayer for the safety of her nation there is the sincerest form of patriotism.

Considering the current agitated political climate in the Gulf, that in many ways is unprecedented in the region, emotions are running high as the tensions continue to rise. It is both unfair and downright slanderous to accuse a person who does not portray patriotism according to one’s understanding of it of being unpatriotic. Social media sites have transformed into courts where hordes of people will act as judge, jury and executioner with regard to who is or is not a patriot. Yes, one might choose to show their love for their country by taking to social media and voicing their opinions or refuting accusations or even getting into a cyber brawl whose outcome is nothing but filthy drivel in the name of patriotism while others might be displaying a progressive form of patriotism which entails working hard to excel for the betterment of their land.

The founder of this great nation Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, God rest his soul, once said:

“The first duty of the citizen is to work day and night to raise his personal growth and thus raise the level of his nation…”

It is our duty as citizens of this proud land to seek higher ground and remain there against all odds no matter what the realities of the situation may be. We must not forget that representing ourselves in the best possible way is a great act of patriotism, we must stand united and not succumb to the lure of fictitious accounts on social media that seek to drag us into the mud and we definitely should not turn around and point fingers at each other as we must remember that patriotism is different for everyone but one thing remains true, it is one’s love for his land and no one should be allowed to gauge that according to unrealistic measures.

All the citizens of the UAE and residents who have chosen to make this magnanimous land their home are the children of Zayed the generous and Fatima the mother of the nation. We are all the product of Khalifa the kind-hearted, Mohammed the inspirational and Sultan the educator.

And we are all soldiers standing at attention in Abu Khaled’s brave army.
 
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