Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brian Haw: A Tribute

It was not with a certain amount of sadness that I noticed the recent passing of peace activist and thorn in the side of the government, Brian Haw. Obituary from Wedgwood here, and another Guardian piece here. Or try your own search; Brian Haw+Gestapo brings a result or two if you're interested.

Recently raised in conversation, was the subject of patriotism. I can think of no better tribute to Brian Haw, than to republish this piece I wrote back in 2007.

Put Away The Flags

Thankfully we don't do much of it any more, wave the flag of empire that is.
Do I say thankfully, because I'm not nationalistic? probably, or do I say this because of what the Union Flag represents? definitely.

You see when you are a realist and you cut away the nationalistic fervour and all the bullshit that surrounds these bits of cloth and take a good look at what they have been built on and truly represent, well they're not something a fellow can take a great deal of pride in, and the last thing that any realist wants to be seen waving is this symbol of empire and repression.

I hardly need to give you chapter and verse on British hegemony and our glorious colonial past, suffice to say the Empire is unregrettably no more.

But as is all too apparent and undeniable, Americans have taken the flag culture to it's extreme, and as the two are inextricably intertwined, have also taken the concept of patriotism, wrapped it in the same flag, stuck it on a pedestal and viewed it as something noble.

The horrific history, and the resulting deaths of millions brought on by American nationalist super-patriotism is indeed well enough documented, but I fear not near well enough read, or, just as likely read and ignored or read and denied.
One only has to remember quite recently the thunder of beating war drums and the waving of flags as America set fort on yet another invasion of a foreign land.

Yet another example of this wonderful thing called patriotism is how it has become a cheap and shoddy tool in the political arsenal.
Seemingly the moment anybody, pol or otherwise starts to talk a bit of sense, out comes the cannon and the patriotism shell is fired across the bows of anybody who might have the audacity to suggest that America isn't the land of freedom and democracy but a rogue nation drenched in the blood of millions of innocents that this shining beacon of light, this Christian Nation, has murdered.

What does it say of a country when it's blood soaked nationalistic symbol is so revered as this, (link now dead) and this is not the exception other examples abound throughout the country.

So let us move on to how this super nationalism is viewed by a realist.

I cannot get out of my mind the recent news photos of ordinary Americans sitting on chairs, guns on laps, standing unofficial guard on the Arizona border, to make sure no Mexicans cross over into the United States. There was something horrifying in the realization.........

Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy. That self-deception started early...........more

Filed under the Patriotism tag.


Anonymous said...

Real patriotism is about reclaiming our children.

"What teens really need is help from caring sympathetic adults, not religious brainwashing. They are alienated primarily due to bad parenting - emotional and physical abuse, neglect, and indifference. But bad parents in the country get a free pass. The kids are always wrong, and the parents are always right. Reality could not be further from the truth. We need to start making parents responsible for the misdeeds of their children. Then you will see change in a hurry. less"

Himself said...

My story, kids, and almost living in America.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the link