Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Price of Nationalism...

There was one odd thing I noticed going back to Germany this year. There were lots of flags everywhere. Many apartments and houses had flags hanging from their balconies. What is going on? Was it just because of the EU Soccercup was going on? Or are things changing in Germany and it has become acceptable again to show national pride?

We learned about a new item being sold called the "car bikini". They are little slip covers in the colors of your flag that you can put over the sidemirrors of your car. The car bikinis were sold in combination with sets of flags to attach to the windows of your car. I guess we came late to the party since most grocery stores were already out. I am sure they would be a great hit here in the US if someone had the mind to market such an item.

I had very mixed feelings about this display of Nationalism in Germany. On the one hand, I thought it was nice to celebrate how well the soccerteam was doing and enjoy the moment. On the other, there was always hesitation to fully embrace this weird kind of Nationalism. I think we must be very careful to not fall into the same trap again. I wonder if all the slipcovers and flags came down after the Germany lost the game against Italy?

Maybe you want to read one of my older articles I wrote on this subject a few years back.

So when celebrating this 4th of July, I want to tell my kids that they can be proud of their American heritage and traditions, but also to keep  in mind that we share this planet with a lot of other people and we need to live in peace with them. That's why I showed the war memorials at the cemetary of the little village were I grew up. I wanted them to see how many men lost their lives fighting in these two wars started by Germany.

World War I Memorial
WWII Memorial. One of four tablets with names of soldiers from the village where I grew up.
Never forget the great loss of life and devastation that certain brands of Nationalism have lead to in the past, Germany!  Never forget the high price of "heroism". I find it kind of ironic to see the word hero on these memorials. I am sure these guys were brave men but how can we refer to them as heros when the cause they were fighting for was so unjust?

With this in mind I wish you all a Happy 4th of July! I am working on some blueberry muffins to take to a party and some pesto to bring to another one. Better get back to the kitchen...

1 comment:

Mike said...

Nothing wrong with supporting your soccer team and your country. German people should be proud to be German.