Nationalism: The Destructive Force Within

Rodney Dunning photo

 

By

Sami Jamil Jadallah

 

Over the last decade here in the US and in Europe we have seen the rise of “Nationalist Parties” parties that stand to the “right” of the political spectrum.

Immigration in Europe and illegal or undocumented immigrants here in the US, the rise of unemployment, income inequality a disillusionment with the European Union in Europe and disillusionment with Congress and Washington have given rise to political parties with a narrow focus based on race, ethnicity, or religion that are now the driving force behind the unsettling events that may, if not checked, lead to wars and conflicts.

The story is no different from Israel with its Jewish-Ethnocentric Zionism and the Arab world with its “Arab Nationalism” at the exclusion of other non-Arabs. Recently we are now confronted with “Religious Sectarianism” which is no different from “Nationalism” dividing Muslims against Muslims, Sunnis v Shiites and what may come may be too ugly and destructive to think about.

Here in the US the Republican Party is almost “White and Christian” with sprinkles of Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, even Indians from the subcontinent adding to what is a White Christian Party. No different from other nationalist parties in Europe.

Even within the Republican Party, there is a narrow ethno-centric group called the “Tea Party” which sees itself at the “guardian’ of American values and culture (White and Christian) to the exclusion of others that makes a substantial and significant segment of society.

As defined in several sources, “Nationalism” is about “loyalty and devotion to a nation, especially a sense of national consciousness, exalting one nation above other.” However the true and practical use of “nationalism” is superiority of one group dominating over other subgroups that make the nation.

We have seen it here in the US, with the nation divided almost along “color lines” with the majority voting for the Republican Party’s “Make America Great Again” raising the challenge for America to be Great Again going back to the days when America was mostly “White and Christians”, not withstanding the “cliché” Judea-Christian culture or values. Deep down it is all about “White Christian America”. Even the often used term “Judea-Christian” values did not prevent the Alt-Right from expressing Anti-Semitic slogans during the March on Charlottesville, Virginia.

In Europe there has been a significant and dangerous rise of “Nationalist Parties”, political parties that formed around “Anti-immigrant” issues, tainting the “purity of the nation” and not around economic and social issues which are given secondary importance.

A few days ago, tens of thousands of Poles took to the streets in perhaps the most powerful show of force of a “nationalist party” calling for Poland to go back and be White, Christian and Polish to the exclusion of other “Whites” and to the exclusion of Jews and Muslims.

 

What follows is a schedule of the rise of “nationalist parties” in Europe, more significant being the rise of “nationalist parties” in Austria winning 35% of the vote. Other European countries also experiencing similar rises include; Sweden with 13% for the Sweden Democrats, Finland at 18% for True Finns, Denmark at 21% for the People Danish Party, Netherlands at 10% for the Party of Freedom, Slovenia at 8% for the People Party-Our Slovenia, Hungary at 21% for the Jobbik, Germany at 4.7 for the Alternative for Germany, France with 14% for the National Front, Switzerland at a record high with 29% for the Swiss Popular Party. Even Greece has witnessed a rise of the nationalist movement with Golden Dawn at 7%, with Italy’s Northern League consistent at 4%.

The danger is more for Europe than here in the US with the proximity of different “ethnic-centric” groups such as Germans, or Poles, or Slovenian or Hungarian or Austrian with a historic culture and history of conflicts that produced WW1 and WWII.

We can only recall the rise of German Nationalism that lead Hitler to war against Europe including the Soviet Union, and not too long ago, the civil war in former Yugoslavia that saw the ugliest face of nationalism with the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims from Catholic and Orthodox areas.

In the Middle East the story is no different with Zionism overtaking Judaism as the ethno-centric Nationalism with its values around the ethnic cleansing of Non-Jews from Israel and the extensive use of Apartheid which began with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The Arab world too has its own issues with “Arab nationalism” that unfortunately forgot or chose to forget that the Arab world is more than Arabs; it is Arabs, Amazigh, Kurds, Armenian among others and it is more than Muslim; it is Muslim, Christians and Jews.

Iraq and Syria under Ba’athist leadership of Saddam and Assad have seen the most extensive use of “racism” against Kurds with the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of villages in Northern Iraq and have seen the denial of Syrian Kurds their basic rights of citizenship. Lebanon too has and since the end of colonial times institutionalized “sectarianism” in its political and economic systems.

For the most part Arab leaders touted their “Arab Nationalism” rallying Arabs around the cause of liberating Palestine, when in fact they used this slogan to create and establish the cruelest, corrupt dictatorial regimes spanning the Arab world. Leadership that laid the ground for so many inter-Arab wars (over 28 and counting since 1960) and leading to the foreign invasion and destruction of nations such as Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen to name a few.

“Nationalism” as practiced, promoted and advocated is not about patriotism for one’s country because here in America a Black or Hispanic or Arab is as loyal to America as any White or Christian. Here in America, as in Europe, “Nationalism” is all about racism, and racism is not only White v Black but Poles v Germans or Austrians v Hungarians, or Jews v Arabs, so one does not need to be White or Black to experience racism. Racism comes in all colors and in all ethnicity and all religions. Let all the non-racists stand up.

 

 

 

 

sami-jamil-jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah is a US citizen, an immigrant from Palestine with over 35 years of international legal and business experience in the US, Middle East, Europe and North Africa. He is a Veteran of the US Army and holds a BA degree in political science and economics, a master degree in public and environmental affairs and doctor of jurisprudence from Indiana University.

Active in international and local affairs, Sami is a co-drafter of the Pre-Ample for the Constitution of the One State for All of its People in Palestine and is active in veteran’s affairs in support of their re-integration in American society. He lectures and writes on a variety of topics including terrorism, social, economic and political issues related to the US and the Middle East.

Sami believes that education is the only way to transform the Middle East into a peaceful productive region and calls on all foreign troops to get out of the Middle East, leaving the people to shape their own destiny. Sami is in semi-retirement but fully engaged in voluntary work and engaged in the peace movement in the Middle East.

Editor review

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply