Flying in the most unexpected places, these blue and yellow banners carry a message of hope and unity to all decent people around the world. As Ireland celebrates its national day of celebration and we pause to remember those lost to Covid, the Ukrainian flags speak of an inclusive nationalism and patriotism.
The reality is very encouraging. Good nationalism enables people to be themselves with ease and confidence. It’s usually a positive thing that gives others the space and freedom to be different. A narrow or exclusive form of nationalism is turned inward and decomposes society.
Vladimir Putin’s Russia’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine has brought us many dire side effects, not the least of which is its economic impact. But it also brought people together.
There is clear evidence of this unity of humanity in good intentions – not only in besieged Ukraine but here in Ireland as well. Hanging in suburban windows and in the corners of farmers’ fields, these blue and yellow flags are a message of strength and unity in the midst of profound troubles, when lives are ruthlessly taken and destruction reigns.
The last two days have brought us Irish a celebration of our own nationality, encompassing people from all backgrounds. We’ve heard Irish language advocates encourage learners to speak with pride.
The new Irish communities featured prominently in many parades. Space was made for newcomers from Ukraine while so many clubs were flying the flag of that country. All of this was a prime example of the benefits of good-natured, inclusive nationalism.
This weekend left us a little room to enjoy. The many sufferings of the world – including war and the shadow of Covid-19 – are currently parked.
In the recent past, when the virus was looming, the Irish moved in together and looked out for each other. We now extend the same enduring goodwill to Ukrainian families who desperately need our help.
However, the last few years have also shown us a lot of bad nationalism. Its downsides have done significant damage.
The 2016 Brexit referendum was fueled in part by much negative sentiment fueled by irresponsible numbers. The rise of Trumpism around the same time has fueled distrust and distrust in society.
For all the positive elements that have been showing in Ireland of late, we have no reason to be complacent in the face of the threat of negative nationalism and its corrosive effects.
It is a good thing to don the green jersey and put the general interest of the Irish community above sectionalism, but sometimes the green flag can be waved to turn off the lights instead of enlightening them.
Let’s keep our pride, but let’s respect everyone else.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/be-wary-of-the-threat-posed-by-corrosive-nationalism-41463769.html Beware of the threat of corrosive nationalism