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Emad Barsoum writes: The Lost Nationalism

Today I was supposed to continue discussing the growing road rage and the lax security in our streets and its repercussions to chaotic traffic and danger.

However, on November 11, which is Remembrance Day, I was struck by another disturbing incident! At my workplace, we announced to workers and clients to pause for two minutes in remembrance of our falling soldiers and those who came back, defending our very freedom and democracy. To my surprise, few refrained from standing and kept seated; even though, the announcement was clear on the intercom, and the music was replaced with a radio broadcast that played martial music and set the time for the duration of the pause.

This disturbing incident reminded me of the several occasions when the National anthem is played, but some people remain seated! And we should view this as even more alarming and depressing.

Together with the flag, the national anthem is the official representation of a sovereign nation, a manifestation of its existence, history, and pride. It is a valid symbol of Nationalism and patriotism. The flag and the national anthem are highly respected and honored by its citizens, permanent residents, foreign workers or students, or even visitors in any country. We have witnessed how people stand anywhere in the world once a national anthem is played for any country, in sports events, political assemblies, economic and commercial exhibitions, and remembrance days for soldiers honoring the memory of their fallen heroes. The latter lost their life defending their homelands.

It is harrowing to watch many immigrants who chose this country to be their permanent home for their families and even strive hard to bring in their extended families, enjoying its freedom, democracy, acceptance, tolerance, justice, generosity, and above all, humanity. Yet, they do not show respect to this land. The land that grew up and was developed by those who sacrificed their lives so we can live in such a great place, enjoying freedom.

Inclusion and diversity must never supersede Nationalism; regardless of ideologies, origins or languages, the flag and the national anthem are above all, and those who cannot show respect do not deserve what the land provides for them.

In almost all nations worldwide, citizens regard their country as their mother, the absolute unconditional love, and the unbreakable bond. This bond may be created by birth on a given land but imagine the land that a person chose to live in and enjoy what it provides. Doesn’t this land deserve all the respect and appreciation?

The phenomena of how people do not respect the symbol of their land must be a subject of in-depth social, ideological, and psychological studies. Otherwise, it is an alarm for a disturbing future, where the citizens of a nation live without belonging to the land, which would create a divided country and a lost Nationalism.