Lonely Nation Syndrome

During a political discussion with a German friend of mine few days ago I discovered that world nations can be divided into two categories with regard to a certain aspect of their world view. ‘Lonely nations’ like Germans for example have a common aspect of their worldview with other lonely nations like Iran or Ethiopia for example. Arabs, Anglophonic countries, Chinese, and Russians for example have a common aspect in their world view as well.

Members of every nation in the world have their own unique view of themselves and of the world around them. They view their culture, language, ethnicity, and territory as something unique that should last and thrive. Lonely nations, however, try harder to guard their identity because they feel a unique kind of vulnerability.

Let’s take Germany for example. It is the land where people of German origin live. It is the stronghold of the German language and culture. For Germans, especially in this era of history, losing their identity, their language, their culture, or their land means losing themselves forever. There is no “other” Germany in the world, just like there is no other Iran or Slovakia or Ethiopia.

These lonely nations, and many others, are baring a kind of burden that is not familiar to people in the big blocks like the Arab World and the Anglophonic countries. For them letting go is not an option, because they are the sole guardians for everything that represents them.

Being a member of a huge block of nations is like having a big family, with many brothers, sisters, uncles and cousins. This gives a feeling of security and assurance that you are not alone in this world. If Libya or Kuwait for example will be destroyed or lose their identity there are many other countries that will “hold the torch” of Arab language, culture, religion, history, and identity. There is not a single nation that is baring all the responsibility of defending everything that represents who Arabs are. Each nation can afford the luxury of only worrying about its own self, because the language and the culture are guarded by many other nations.

This is a feeling that lonely nations don’t have.  For Germany for example, it’s like being a lonely child for an ailing single parent. A son who can’t afford to be careless with his life, or not have kids because then his genes will die with him, and his family name will be lost forever. This is probably why the European Union is such an important entity for Germany, because it offers some level of protection. This might also be the reason why Iran’s nuclear program is important for Iranians as well!

In this global village lonely nations feel, and are in fact, the minorities of the village. They feel vulnerable in the face of the floods of cultural, linguistic, and sometimes military, invasions from the ‘big families’ in the neighborhood.

The challenge that we face not only as big blocks of nations but also as humanity in general is to bring the same level of tolerance that we practice at home to our behavior in the global scene. Only then we can really say that we are tolerant as nations. A person who is rude to vulnerable people in the street is a rude person, no matter how polite he is at home. This is also true in the case of states.

It’s about time for the tolerance and ethics of the world’s nations to be reflected in their foreign policies. Enjoying a high level of freedom and democracy puts a particularly huge responsibility on Western nations to take the lead and make their ethics govern the politics of their countries. This will give assurance to the ‘minorities’ of the world that their rights will not be violated, and will allow us, as humans, a real hope for more harmony and tolerance in this diverse global village.

 

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