Being a patriot
By Akol Arop Akol
Being patriotic and nationalistic means you have put the interest of your people and the country first before self-image, pride and personal needs with readiness to respect, defend and bring development. It is not a word of a mouth to pretend like being a good citizen yet sometimes doing destructive deeds.
As a citizen by birth or nationality, you have a role to play in bringing peace among people and developing the country through your work-field. We don’t become citizens when we get free services or materials from the land, yet we don’t work with our own sweat. We must have that heart of loving the home still, no matter what kinds of problems occur.
Every one of us is challenged to partake a pride of being a citizen and we have to make sure we are fully participating in things that take us ahead not backward. We must first know the difference between patriotism and nationalism to exactly know who we are and what we are supposed to do as citizens.
Nationalism means the mindset of having the belief that one’s nation or cultural heritage is superior to others. Instead of thinking that our country can be the best in the world in terms of geographical location, resources, wildlife and the people inhibiting it, we only concentrate on clans and tribes to be better than the other. This has not done anything good but only the continuous suffering.
Patriotism sounds similar to nationalism but the terms have different meanings. Patriotism refers to a feeling of love or admiration for a particular belief or way of life. It is a state of loving how the country and people are created.
Anyone who betrays his people to fill his desires is a burden and a curse to the community. We may try to be positive and work hand-in-hand to bring development but people of that kind who think they and their ethnic groups are better always confuse us, cause conflicts and escape for their survival.
A person who is patriotic has good understanding of the history of the people and the country where he learns the culture, struggle and accomplishments that were made and develop a positive mind to correct the wrong and pass on the positive conducts. A real patriotic citizen brings positive contributions to the community.
Patriotism is one of the most common beliefs that unite people all over the world. Countries where people are divided lack this quality in the hearts of the leaders and the citizens.
Our country has many problems today; things go parallel because of lack of the spirit of patriotism and nationalism to unite people as one. It is only when we are patriotic that we shall have a peaceful country.
We (leaders and civilians) must first go deeply into the history of the country to learn where people originated, the suffering they had experienced and the great achievement they have made and honorably appreciate their legacies.
Before we talk or act, we must first remember how we used to be, not just to act like we met in the forest. The struggle for the land was expensive. Our great leaders united and fought, lastly freedom is brought.
We were one and even today we are still one. Our problem is that we don’t appreciate the course taken in the history. Don’t we feel ashamed to loot the resources of the land that are meant for all South Sudanese?