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you can love your country...
just don't 'love' your country
by katherine l (aka clevertitania) (@CleverTitania)
6.7.10
news


So over Memorial Day, while people across the US were barbecuing and picnicking, Twitter was reeling from the events of the previous night, when dozens were injured/killed on the 'Freedom Flotilla' when the Israeli navy opened fire on the unarmed ship (according to reports we had from the boat via Twitter and the live Al Jazeera feed NOT Hamas). It's sadly ironic (at least for US residents) that on one of the days when we're meant to not only think about all the soldiers who laid down their life in service of our country, but also about how lucky we are to live in this country.

But it's not nearly so much what happened on the boat that is bothering me at this particular moment; it's the reactions we've seen to the incident.

While I would never argue with Bill Maher's position, that religion has killed more people than any other institution in the world's history, I really feel like it's not the biggest problem anymore. What is the problem? Rampant Nationalism. Every person decrying Israel's actions was faced with baffling reactions, calling us anti-Israel, terrorist supporters and other epithets. And why? Because apparently if you do support Israel you must support every action they take, and you must shout against anyone who criticizes them, no matter what they did to bring on the criticism.

It's the same BS we've seen in this country, in particular since 9/11. If you admit that the U.S. might be to blame, at least in part, for the terrorist's actions you are a bad American. If you acknowledge that our foreign policy is a ticking time bomb that only calls for more attacks on our own soil, you're a terrorist sympathizer. If you admit that our country isn't perfect, that it makes mistakes, you clearly don't love it.

Well it's crap when it happens here, and it's equally crap when it happens anywhere else. When my country screws up, I acknowledge it and call for our leaders to admit their error and try to correct it. Yet every 'pro-Israel' person online goes back and forth between claiming that the press/Hamas fabricated the story on-board the flotilla (even to the point of suggesting that the live feed we were all following was staged) to claiming that they had every right to stop the ship on the chance that this one (the 9th attempt by the group to bring aid to date) was carrying jihadists and arms. Never mind that the blockade itself is legally questionable, or that they fired in international waters. Apparently if you love Israel it is your duty to always defend them no matter what they do.

I am not pro-Israel or pro-Palestine. I do not pretend to know nearly enough about that conflict to put myself in either camp. This isn't about whether you support either side. It's about right and wrong. While Israel is claiming some evidence that the ships were carrying arms, there's is a plethora of evidence that they are lying and they attacked without provocation. Once again, this is the 9th time this trip has been made, so why is this the first time such actions were taken by Israel? I suspect it was because mainstream media could ignore this trip all they wanted, but new media and social networks were making sure they news got out there. But whatever their reasoning, it doesn't make it right.

I love being a US citizen, and I'm grateful on this day, just on every other day, that we have the freedom to speak out and tell our government when they monumentally screw up. But I expect the same from every member of a so-called democratic state. You love your country, that's great and I support your right to defend it when necessary. But Israeli supporters have the same obligation that the rest of us do, to acknowledge Israel's mistakes when they make them, not attack others for calling Israel to the carpet for this tragedy.

If you love your country so much, tell it to be worthy of your devotion and not commit heinous acts against others. If you want to be proud of your country, then tell your government to make you proud, not expect you to have their back when their actions turn your stomach. It doesn't matter what country you are a citizen of, this is your obligation as a citizen of the world.


ABOUT KATHERINE L (AKA CLEVERTITANIA)

When I grow up, I want to be; whoever Joss Whedon wants to be, when he grows up. I am a writer because it's the first thing I want to do when I wake up in the morning; aside from eating and using the lavatory of course. My work includes screenplays, short stories, film/TV/music reviews and socio-political commentary. The last one is a fancy way of saying I like to shoot my mouth off on many topics. I excel at using $1.50 words. They gone up, thanks to inflation. Isn't our economy awesome?

more about katherine l (aka clevertitania)

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COMMENTS

tim lockwood
6.4.10 @ 12:32a

Al Franken once observed that love of country was much like the love of one's parents. In each case, there was the type of love a small child might offer - unconditional and blind to any faults; and there is the love that an adult might offer - just as deep as a child's, but neither blind nor indifferent to faults, especially when they can do lasting harm.

He observed that saying, "My country, right or wrong," is tantamount to saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."

katherine (aka clevertitania)
6.4.10 @ 1:47a

It seems that whenever you talk about common sense versus emotional reaction, in a political sense, there's an Al Franken quote that's applicable. Probably what I like most about him, even beyond his politics and positions.

adam kraemer
6.7.10 @ 10:24a

Actually, the original quote was: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." - Senator Carl Schurz, 1872.

candy green gustavson
6.9.10 @ 6:59a

thanks for writing this...reading "Oliver Cromwell" by Antonia Fraser now (a musty paperback that keeps me sneezing) and it seems the rise of nationalism began on the european continent against rome/principalities...by the time it got to england the reformation was in full swing...faith, nationalism, individual liberties...now it's not a cross that goes before but democracy presented, the paradigm for all the world...it's a "curly one" as the history and faith in the west are intertwined...there was an excellent article in the atlantic after 9/11 about mentality of tribal thinking vs. city thinking (pack vs. law)...



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