August 09, 2003

Do you love your country?

Mr. Badrul Ahsan, a Banker has written an article aiming the politicians of Bangladesh in the Daily Star. Hoever I think there are some universality in his thoughts which can also be seen in other countries perspectives. Here are some excerpts:

Simple question but let me ask. Do you love your country? If the answer is yes, then when was the last time you did something for it? If the answer is no, then do you ever feel guilty for it? Why would you feel guilty if you do, and why not if you don't?

A patriot is someone, whose pleasure arises from the faithful discharge of his duty to his country. He bends all the forces of his understanding, and directs all his thoughts and actions to the good of his country. To a patriot, there is no virtue higher than the love of his country.

Is it true for you, also? Have you done anything lately to uphold that virtue? You have grown up in this country and so did your ancestors. The air, rain, sunshine, music of birds, fragrance of flowers, rivers, sky, horizon, day and night, everything that succoured the cells in your body, everything that nourished your soul, you owe it to the enclosure of land which has nestled you like the mother's lap.

There are people who give lip service to their country, those who shamelessly plunder its wealth and honour, yet claim to be patriots. Are you amongst them, the opportunistic hordes of people who pit fellow men against fellow men to fatten their wallets?

For them patriotism is a ritual, a means rather than an end, an excuse more than ethos. They treat patriotism as a ladder, greed making its every rung, their debauch and perfidious instincts lifted by the pretension of the righteous.

Is patriotism linked with the dignity of man? Is there pride in one's love of one's country? Or is it just organised touchiness, a non-issue mirrored and magnified as a great moral discourse signifying nothing? Frederick the Great, the bosom friend of Voltaire, once said: "Religion is a fraud, but it must be maintained for the masses." Is patriotism a fraud, which must be maintained for the masses, even though the above average and the super smarts understand that it means nothing?

Now you tell me if you love your country, and what have you done for it. If you have plundered and squandered its wealth, then you are an enemy. If you are willing to serve your country and die for it, you are a patriot. Know your place in the new conflict, because a confrontation has become inevitable.


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