Re: "Patriotism is in the eye of the beholder", Letters, July 28.
“Patriotism” is a subjective notion, as explained well by Robin Grant. However, that subjectivity extends beyond observers, to those who claim to be true patriots. It is this group who tend to cry loudest of their love for motherland.
Hitler is a great example of someone who used the word successfully. History tells us that the louder the cry, the less patriotic the person. Both red shirts and yellow shirts relied on this call to bring out supporters. They maintained that their actions were for the common good and that trespassing on others’ rights was justified for the sake of patriotism.
China’s Cultural Revolution and Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge are examples of why the word “patriotism” should be treated with the utmost caution.
Loving one’s country is natural. But when a person exploits the word “patriotism” to support private actions or arguments, then one can be assured that he or she has lost the rational and moral ground. Dr Puey Ungpakorn’s silence in the wake of the October 14, 1973 uprising speaks loudest of why we view him as a true patriot. Those countries who speak loudest of patriotism and of their flag are largely self-righteous and lack empathy.
How many lives have been lost around the world in the name of patriotism?