On Nationalism and things at home.

I read Arundathi Roy’s book The Ordinary person’s Guide to Empire some time ago, quite recently I came across the book again and a particular paragraph I read stuck me rather strongly.

“An anti national is a person who is against her (or his) own nation and, by inference, is pro some other one. But it isn’t necessary to be anti national to be deeply suspicious of all nationalism, to be anti nationalism. Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of coloured cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. When independent, thinking people (and here I don’t include the corporate media) begin to rally under flags, when writers, painters, musicians, film-makers suspend their judgement and blindly yoke their art to the service of the nation, it’s time for all of us to sit up and worry. In India we saw it happen soon after the nuclear tests in 1998 and during the Kargil War against Pakistan in 1999. In the US we saw it during the Gulf War and we see it now, during the War against terror. That blizzard of made-in-China American flags.”

I do respect Arundathi Roy for some of her writings, but I am not the most ardent fan of her works. But in this paragraph I think we as Sri Lankans have points to ponder.

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