Nationalism and its manifestations, consequences and possible solutions, how to conquer that antinationalism struggle in a society that declares itself democratic, were the topics that we discussed with journalist Zoran Ivanov.
CIVIL MEDIA: How and where does nationalism arise from, and how is it usually manifested?
IVANOV: If we begin from the basic political science point of view of interpreting the term “nationalism”, where theory says that it is political ideology in the center of which is the nation as the supreme good, imagine, “supreme good”, then what is existentialism? It does not recognize the nation, it recognizes life and the constant struggle for an elementary decent life, for elementary existential equality. For humanity, for everyone to have a job, a home, healthcare protection, education, and from there on, as much as God gives them, some a yacht, others luck. The important thing is for everyone to have equal starting and life opportunities.
That is why my human matrix is existentialism. The elementary individual human rights and needs. As for nationalism, it is contemporary inquisition.
The sad thing is that nationalism arises from everywhere. From all human environments, from all communities. From groups and from individuals. From unexplainable reasons from the streets and from culture, from men and women, from educated and illiterate and academics and teachers, from elderly people and young people, from athletes and from the public, from artists and consumers, from fathers and from children, from priests and believers, from writers and readers. And what is most sad is that it even comes from mothers, not to mention political subjects. For them, in various circumstances in the political dimension, nationalism wrapped in a form of patriotism, in certain moments of crisis, is an elementary political offer.
I am neither a philosopher, nor political scientist, and I cannot offer some deepened thoughts about the phenomenon, about the need of manifesting nationalism. I cannot even imagine, let alone figure out where those negativistic, paranoid, xenophobic urges of the people are coming from. What internal force pushes them to such feelings, and what external factors encourage them. I understand the need, and even necessity, for our self-identification, both as a group and as individuals. To belong somewhere and to someone. And let it be the nation. That’s nice, but why hatred towards other such identification, the different one, actually identical to us and ours? There is no answer. Where do those urges come from for manifesting inhumanity only if the other one is not from one of us, from our tribe, when in fact, basically, we are both all us and ours.
Whatsoever, but if there is something on this topic and particularly on this phenomenon, on the rise of nationalism and on its manifestation that startles me most, it is women nationalists that startle me and disturb me. I am talking about women who are mothers. They have breastfed their children, and the mother of the other nation also breastfed her child. She brought up her child and rejoiced. One and the other. And now, in given circumstances those two young somewhat older kindling are in aggressive mood against each other. In a real war or war between fan groups in sports competitions, it doesn’t matter. And the child upraising it not important. Nationalism usually does not come from the family, rather from the political and social environment. But what is least clear is how those women on various occasions, political, protesting or any other one, manifest nationalism. When by definition it is practiced by mothers as symbols of something most humane, let alone the others.
But let science, anthropology, for instance, deal with this issue as well. Nationalism comes from everywhere, it is fostered in certain centers, usually political ones, and is manifestation of hatred towards someone we do not even know at all. So this mysticism is also for a separate expert elaboration.
CIVIL MEDIA: What are the consequences of nationalism?
IVANOV: If we begin from the constant that nationalism is a lie and hatred all in one, that the empty phrases for positive nationalism are a lie, claiming it to be patriotism, dosed nationalism that is just an ordinary wafer for nationalism, the real cruel and bare tribal primitive one, then the consequences are atrophy of the environment.
Politics, a state and a society in which and where nationalism is fostered, under the pretext that it is healthy both for politics and for the state and that the national is a structured element, some kind of pillar of the homogenous group in the community, then those politics, that state and that society are no good. We need to say go away to nationalism in any form, from anyone, in any manifestation, even the most benign one.
Especially go away to the most popular politicians, most professional professors, most prominent artists, most successful athletes. Go away to all of them if the forced national is so primary to them that it in the everyday life it is reflected as nationalism, and nationalism is sowing hatred. Communities should commend such stars for their expert values and artistic and sports achievements, but at the same time turn their backs because of their fake patriotic, in fact, chauvinistic matrix.
The consequences of the actions of such holders of emphasized national is nationalism. Alive and a dangerous wound of all contemporary societies. A disease of the past two, three centuries. An infectious disease for which the twenty-first century has a vaccine, but not everyone can receive it.
The most horrible thing is that nationalism is contagious. Transmissible from parent to child, from teacher to pupil, from professor to student, from director to actor, from coach to athlete, from priest to believer, from writer to reader. And so on, generations wise. It is found in a human environment where instead of happiness there is hatred in sight. And this makes living ugly. The consequences are immense.
CIVIL MEDIA: Who can be engaged in the fight against nationalism, and how?
IVANOV: Antinationalism should become a mission. To grow into a movement. To be promoted to an emphasized distinguished value social category.
Every society, every environment also has healthy elements. Here, fortunately, they are a majority. Our multicultural society can praise precisely with the ability to isolate nationalists, to recognize them, to disclose them. To prevent crisis encouraged by nationalistic idiots. However, in order to prevent and suppress the evil called nationalism, a phenomenon not adequate for nowadays, for this global digital time, the system should be engaged.
Primarily the system, and then everyone in it, and of course the most responsible. First politics and the politicians, all of them in order. Writers of textbooks, teachers, public figures, politicians, journalists, cultural and sports authorities. Everyone who in some way have any kind of influence in the public. It is their and our obligation to constantly and publically stigmatize nationalism, in all forms, as something destructive in politics, in education, culture and sports, as uncivilized, as retrograde.
And certainly, in addition to the inertia of the state, the agility of the non-governmental sector is and should continue to be that bright fighting point against nationalism in any of its cruel or any kind of hidden chameleon form.
And certainly the media, the loudness and the public. Nationalism is supported by deep roots. Its field is even broader. But the field for fighting with it is just as big.
Camera and photo: Dehran Muratov
This post is also available in: Macedonian