Our Readers' Opinions
June 11, 2004
Fighting in defence of my homeland

EDITOR: Patriotism is the value which allows a person to develop respect and love for country, demonstrated by honest work and personal contribution to the well being of all. Being a patriot is not about being proud to be born in a wealthy and powerful country. It is not about some occasional or passing sentiment which is felt in times of nation celebrations.{{more}}
Patriotism is not a love for what you can get from your country nor is it a love for the countries’ resources, so that you can personally benefit. It does not involve protecting natural resources from foreign exploiters so that you can later be the exploiter of the same resources. (A local exploiter is just as bad as a foreign exploiter).
True patriotism is exemplified in the circumstances where it is cultivated in a country that is poor and has a lot of problems. Patriotism is about giving unselfishly of oneself, not about receiving. It is about nation building not tearing down.
We must work hard to increase production and productivity. We must take care of the environment, and pay our fair share of taxes. One cannot profess to be patriotic if he/she is involved in tax evasion, and defrauding the treasury.
We must not decry that which our country has given to us (school, community services, and customs). It is necessary to give service to the community, the sick, the needy, and under privileged.
It is difficult to see how those who never stood for any thing in the past can honestly stand for something today.
Patriotism is a virtue not a knee-jerk response. It is not an expression of hatred, and disdain for those who are deemed to be outsiders. While patriotism does not mean to stand by a leader or any public official, it does not indicate disrespect for their authority either.
The following message sent to George W. Bush by Fidel Castro in a recent speech, represents the ultimate epitomization of patriotism.
“Since you have decided that the die is cast, I have the pleasure of saying farewell like the Roman gladiators who were about to fight in the arena: Hail Ceasar, those who are about to die salute you! My only regret is that I would not even see your face because in that case you would be thousand of miles away while I shall be in the front line to die fighting in defence of my homeland.”

Dr. Franklyn James