Monday, 25 April 2016

Beyond National Identity

Are the people of Carlisle really so different from the people of Gretna that they should be subject to different laws? One is labelled English, the other Scottish.

Are the locals in Barcelona for that matter so significantly unique that they don't resemble or have any of the same wants and needs as people from Marseilles?

Are folk from San Francisco really any different from people in Kyoto... or Cape Town... or Oslo for that matter?

We've all been brainwashed into believing a massive lie. That we are the nationality that culture and history have imposed on us.

Even those of us who are clearly of "mixed" parentage, as I am with a father born and raised in Poland, and a mother born in Scotland but of Irish heritage; even folk like me end up thinking we're something called "Scottish".

Moreover our convoluted governance structure in these parts mean I have to think whether I'm just Scottish, Scottish and British, or just British. And if the one in the middle, am I more Scottish than British, equally Scottish and British, or more British than Scottish. These are real social survey options.

None of which yet brings in the supposedly vexed question of being a member of the European Union. Do I feel European?

That's an entirely different question from "Do I want to remain part of the European Union or am I against it?"

The former is a question of my cultural conditioning, the latter my political brainwashing.

Which version of European am I supposed to feel? The question is framed in such a way that we think of common connections or likes - Monet's paintings, holidays in Spain, nice wee rural villages with windy narrow streets. That sort of thing.

It's not meant to ask you if you feel a deep connection of Laplanders fishing for their livelihood, Muslim Kosovans kneeling down to pray facing Mecca, or even the billionaire tax avoiders in Monaco.

No one ever asks if you feel human.

No one ever asks if you want a world government, elected by all adults in every country in the world.

No one asks even though some issues are clearly by definition global. Climate Change. The global economy. Water shortages. Terrorism.

How do we handle these. A couple of hundred leaders of bits of land known as "countries" get together to try to agree ways forward.

But they rarely do so effectively because they're looking at the problem not from a global perspective but from a national perspective.

It's greedy, selfish, stupid and ultimately self-harming... as well as harming all of us.

I reject being Scottish, British, European. Hell I even reject being human if by being human we mean we have different priorities and desires than the rest of the living things that populate this planet.

We all want to survive, and of course when it comes to a dangerous reality we will, for the most part, defend ourselves and our families, even if it means killing an aggressor.

This is the 21st century and we are still playing at thousand year old land grab games. We are still petty thugs pretending to be statesmen and stateswomen. We are still imbeciles deluding ourselves that we are sophisticated negotiators.

Meanwhile the world struggles, the climate becomes less predictable, the poorest suffer most as always, and we continue the irrational and unnecessary slaughter of billions of animals.

I would like us to grow up and take care of this planet and all that live and grow in it, and let countries and nations become museum pieces, objects of lessons we learn in primary schools about how we used to sub-divide ourselves.

One day this will be the norm and when it is the people in that time will look back on us as primitive and barbaric, which we surely are.

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