Saturday, August 23, 2008



by Dedy N. Hidayat

Retrieved from "apakabar" database, Ohio University Library

Date: Tue Jan 16 1996 - 16:37:00 EST

Nationalism is not everything
It is nationalism that functions as the driving force of the Third World leaders' demand for equality among nations within a "New World Order." Yet, equality among nations is not necessarily equality among people. Some nationalism have been framed within regressive traditional or primordial values that tend to undermine universal humanism values on social justice, democracy, human rights, etc. Thus, while calling for external equality (among nations) some expressions of nationalism in the Third World neglect the issues of internal justice, equality, and human rights.

Various expressions of nationalism also take the form as a response to the globalizing processes, or a desire to eliminate all otherness. They produce tendencies that reject values perceived as superfluos, fake, others, or Westernized. They therefore can easily be exploited by xenophobic, chauvinistic, and anti-Western sentiments.

As national cultural and political unity is the goal of nationalism, we observe conflicts resulted from the centripetal push toward national unity and the centrifugal pull of local cultures or subcultures, especially in heterogeneous nation states. These conflicts have led to "cultural death" of various subcultures, or to the subordination of subcultures by particular hegemonic cultures.

Nationalism is something, yes. Yet, nationalism is not everything. There are values higher than those underlying a political consensus to unite under a nation state; there are values higher than nationalism and patriotism. Warning: failure to recognize these higher universal humanism values in the development of our nationalism, may result in the blurring of demarcation line between nationalism and chauvinism, fascism, primordialism, and racialism. Ask Hitler for valuable experiences. Thus, ignore what those Westerners said about your country; pay no attention to how they portrayed your country's human rights records. Just look around with your own hearts, and make your nationalism as a driving spirit in placing your country on the same ground as other countries in terms of the implementation of globally accepted human rights values.

Nationalism, in Soedjatmoko's words, should be part of "the general search among people all over the world for new moral foundations on which a viable international order can rest." (dedy n. hidayat, madison WI, Winter 1994).

. . and what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free?

If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.
You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.

And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.
For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyrany in their own freedom and a shame in their own pride?

And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared . . . (Kahlil Gibran)

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