“Patriotism is the conviction that your country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.”-George Bernard Shaw
The Fighting Filipinos paper poster depicting Philippine nationalism; image depicts a wounded soldier wearing a bandage around his head preparing to throw a grenade in his right hand as he holds a tattered upside down flag in his left hand; inscriptions at bottom center section.
Maulana Karenga of the US Organization created Kwanzaa in 1966 as the first specifically African American holiday. Karenga said his goal was to “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.” The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning first fruits of the harvest. The choice of Swahili, an East African language, reflects its status as a symbol of Pan-Africanism, especially in the 1960s.
Kwanzaa is a celebration that has its roots in the black nationalist movement of the 1960s, and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions and Nguzu Saba, the “seven principles of African Heritage” which Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy”:
- Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves stand up.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
"Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched."
Guy de Maupassant (via icansmellthegasoline)
(Source: haereticum, via seriouslyamerica)
Meanwhile, the shirt was made after hours in a factory in China and sold in bulk as an irregular to a small South African charity. A wealthy tourist purchased it from a child panhandling in the streets of Johannesburg, intending to make rags out of it to polish his automobile collection. En route to LAX, his luggage is routed incorrectly and ends up in La Paz where a poor baggage handler finds it and takes it home. The handler gives the shirt to his son, who wears it thin and ragged for many years, he earns good marks; he is a kind and humble student. In his final year of school, he enrolls in an exchange program that lands him in Tucson, Arizona. His host mother sees the shirt and intends to throw it away. It is rescued, at the last minute, by a man searching trash bins for cans. He takes the shirt, and various other salvaged treasures, to a local Goodwill; he is poor, but believes in karma. He will keep people warm and, in turn, the universe will warm him. Six months later, a local man who lost his job at a factory for being drunk on the job purchases the shirt. He blames “those goddamned spics”. He wears the shirt as a badge and a statement.
He has no knowledge of the years of comfort it has provided to the poor, the lost and the hopeless.
We are all caricatures of ourselves and we do not even know it.
A good summary of the state of multiculturalism in western politics these days. Despite what some rightwing types would have you belief, multiculturalism is not and never has been hegemonic. It remains an unfulfilled ideal, a whipping boy, a seed of contention:
…“[O]thers” have to be distinguished in the popular mind from other “others.” So when black people attack other black people it is no longer crime but “black-on-black-crime;” if a young Muslim woman in killed over a romantic relationship it is not a murder but an “honor killing.” In a country like England that has been embroiled in virtually continuous terrorist conflict for the last forty years in Northern Ireland, the notion that there are “home-grown” Muslim bombers is supposed to represent not just a new demographic taking up armed struggle but an entirely new phenomenon. Even as the Catholic Church is embroiled in a global crisis over child sexual abuse and the Church of England is splintered in a row over gay priests, Islam and Muslims face particularly vehement demands to denounce homophobia.
The combined effect of these flawed distinctions and sweeping demonization is to unleash a series of moral panics. In 2009 in Switzerland, a national referendum banned the building of minarets in a country that has only four; in 2010, 70 per cent of voters in the state of Oklahoma support the banning of sharia law even though Muslims comprise less than 0.1 per cent of the population; in the Netherlands parliament seriously considered banning the burka–-a garment believed to be worn by fewer than fifty women in the entire country. Disproportionate in scale and distorted in nature, these actions cannot be understood as a viable response to their named targets but rather as emblems of a broader, deeper disruption in national, racial and religious identities. At a time of diminishing national sovereignty, particularly in Europe, such campaigns help the national imagination cohere around a fixed identity even as the ability of the nation-state to actually govern itself wanes. It is a curious and paradoxical fact that as national boundaries in Europe have started to fade, the electoral appeal of nationalism has increased….
But such assaults are by no means the preserve of the far right. Many who consider themselves on the left have given liberal cover to these assaults on religious and racial minorities, ostensibly acting in defense of democracy, Enlightenment values and equal rights—particularly relating to sexual orientation and gender. Their positioning rests on two major acts of sophistry. The first is an elision between Western values and liberal values that ignores the fact that liberal values are not fully entrenched in the West and that other regions of the world also have liberal traditions. Nowhere is this clearer than with gay rights, where whatever gains do exist are recent and highly contested. Thirty American states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, and only a handful of states have passed gay marriage through the popular legislative process. Not only is gay equality not a Western value, it’s not even a Californian value. The second is a desire to understand Western “values” in abstraction from Western practice. This surge in extolling Western virtues has coincided with an illegal war that has been underpinned by both authorized and unauthorized torture and a range of other atrocities and a spike in the electoral and political currency of racism and xenophobia.