By Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)
Cars honking, people dancing, aircrafts soaring through the skies, and flags being waved; these are some of the typical scenes witnessed last December as the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar celebrated their National Days (UAE on the 2nd, Bahrain on the 16th, and Qatar on the 18th). The festive mood on these days is a testimony of the citizens’ happiness and pride and a reflection of their sense of belonging to their land. It is also a time for citizens to renew their allegiance and support for their leadership. This was demonstrated through portraits of the Rulers vividly printed on peoples’ cars, flags, T-shirts, and more.
As I witnessed these festivities, I could not classify these emotions under any category other than patriotism, something I also remember witnessing during the unfortunate 9/11 days in the United States. What is Patriotism? Merriam-Webster defines it as “ love for or devotion to one’s country”. Since the world is constantly changing and development is an ongoing necessity, I believe that definition lacks two important elements that give true meaning to patriotism. In my opinion, the love and devotion has to be accompanied by the desire to achieve certain holistic gains that mutually benefit the country and its citizens. In addition, the love and devotion should come with a strong sense of representation.
“I want everyone in this country to benefit and to be of benefit at the same time.”
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
“Development is the responsibility of every citizen.”
Our father the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan
After speaking to a few participants in these festivities, I realized that the majority I interacted with had no real understanding of the concept of striving to create a mutual benefit for the people of the country. Instead, they were participating solely for the sake of celebrating. This phenomenon of not knowing the meaning behind celebrating drove me to address this issue with great care and a lot of thought. In my opinion, in order to understand true patriotism, it is incumbent to understand the three main pillars that support it.
Faith is the first and most important pillar of patriotism that is required for constant development and improvement. Faith consists of a combination of belief in the country’s vision, optimism, and work. Believing in the goals set forth by the country and having realistic optimism about its results, fuels the work that needs to be put in to achieve those goals that will benefit the citizens of the country.
Passion is the second pillar of patriotism without which any efforts towards mutual benefit would collapse. Passion can be thought of as a strong feeling associated toward someone or thing. In patriotism, passion is a strong feeling of devotion and contribution. Interlinked with its predecessor faith, passion is the drive that fuels work even under the most discouraging conditions. Furthermore, it is the spark that allows individuals to fully contribute in the gloomiest of times.
Sincerity is the third and nonetheless an important pillar of patriotism; it is the element of purity in patriotism. It protects all efforts from hypocrisy, fraud, deceit and any conflicts of interests. Sincerity is important in patriotism especially in nation building and in positions of authority that are delegated with tasks related to development and continuous improvement.
With the correct foundations of faith, passion, and sincerity, patriotism is redefined to include social benefit and pursuit of prosperity. Flag-waving, car decorating, and country boasting then become based on these solid fundamentals that enrich patriotism with meaning and incentivize collective participation.
In Summary, patriotism as currently defined, lacks two important elements; the desire to contribute towards mutual gains and the necessity of appropriate representation. When patriotism is understood entirely through the above proposed pillars of faith, passion, and sincerity, it leads to the mentality of social benefit and only then does it become worthy of representation. That said; let us all educate ourselves to comprehend these pillars. Let us proudly represent our nations under the umbrella of true patriotism.
22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We Start – Art of Living 101 – Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur – Community Talk – Scenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability – Too Blunt For Words – To The Point
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.