All entries for Monday 19 June 2006

June 19, 2006

I've given up on the wrestling phrases

Writing about Threatening patriotism? from Musings of a blonde

"Why on earth should an English person feel so threatened by a flag representing his own country displayed in his own country?" was an interesting question raised on another blog entry

raising some even more interesting claims, such as "Our nationalist spirit never returned after this initial attack because the attack was so complete that a new anti–British orthodoxy had developed."

I was originally going to post a response, but then I realised that no one had actually tried to answer the question on the previous page. So here's a couple of thoughts.

Firstly we are talking about the St. Georges Cross here, since the original reference was to footballers. This flag was originally picked up during the Crusades – as an army uniform, by a certain namesake of mine. I am not saying that waving St. Georges Cross about is a problem – in fact I was doing so last week. But you can understand why people might get offended.

I am pretty sure that no one these days really associates SGC with a 'lets kill the muslims' attitude so one could rule the above reason out. I suppose in that case it is yet another case of the football association combined with a common dislike of football in this country.

Whats really more disturbing is that people seem to have concluded this is one of those 'if you don't love your country you must hate it, get out' – or conversely 'if you love your country you must be a racist'. Why can't I just be 'meh' to the whole subject? Its not as though my apathy is going to cause directly negative consequences. (yes I am begging the question) No one will die because of a mass apathy towards their country.

Furthermore the question is really here why should I not be apathetic? It doesn't stop me choosing to support England at the World Cup. I would rather not get into one of these situations where there is a weighing up of the British Empire is a good or a bad thing. Ethical judgements on such massive scale are inevitably prone to error, and judging what people chose to do hundreds of years ago by todays standard is an horrific mistake. Its questionable for me to even tut–tut at the invention of the concentration camp during the boar war due to it being > 100 years ago.

Bottom line how can I feel proud for the achievements or shameful at the mistakes of other people simply because they lived on the same, apparently sceptered, isle as me?


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