Monday, November 17, 2008

Ideas of nationality

Good morning to you, Internet.

How are we today?

Well, it appears I'm here to talk to you about something. Something rather important. The concept of nationality. You know, the idea of how your blood is so important, and how your family defines who you are, and all that jazz. Don't worry, next time I'll just pictures of cats, or something else equally random.

I have no idea why I'm talking like Patrick Troughton, but I'll try to stop.

Anyway, I am of the opinion, and it is an opinion, my opinion, I don't pretend its fact, that blood means fuck all. DNA does not define who you are. Yes, it says what you look like, what diseases you're susceptible to and so forth, but those are just... details. They're not facts. They don't define you.

Environment is what defines you. If you are born and grow up in an area, you inherit that area's prejudices, opinions and thoughts. You are a product of the area. Blood has nothing to do with that.

If your grandfather was a member of some subversive group, and he killed, oh, I don't know, five soldiers, then forty years later, his grandchildren swan around, expecting to be hailed as some great champion.

What if they're arrested and punished for what their grandfather did? Thats not fair, is it? No sir. Not fair at all.

But if you shouldn't be punished for his actions, why should you be rewarded for them? Its a simple question. And the answer is, of course, you shouldn't.

I am not my grandfather. I do not claim to be. He fought the English back when it was in style. I remember him as a hero. Because, well, it was a long time ago. Time makes heroes. If the English were still in power in Ireland, I would remember him as a criminal. It's all about perspective.

If I am not to be punished for his actions in those times, why should I be rewarded? I wasn't there. I didn't do it. I learn the history, I remember the past, but I don't let it define me. I don't let myself get bogged down in the actions of yesterday. Or I try not to, at least.

But, I hear you cry, its important to know where you come from! And yes, it is. If only so you don't make the same mistakes as those who went before you. We are not a nation. We are not white, or black. We are not Chinese, or French, or Lithuanian.

We are people. We are hearts, minds, souls. We are experiences. And until people realise this, we are just going to fall back into the old habits, the old prejudices, the old fears.

And so, I leave you. Hopefully I leave you with new ideas. If not, well, perhaps next time.

Your servant,


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