PATRIOTISM AS A TOOL FOR PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE

Juliet Rogers 1By Juliet Rodgers, Sierra Leone

Before dilating on the postulates of the topic, it would be essential for us to examine briefly the meaning of the word “Patriotism.”

Patriotism generally refers to basic love for one’s fatherland. One way to develop this idea of patriotism is to strive very hard to cherish and upkeep the traditional ethos and to adhere to the pledge in the first verse of our “National Anthem” which reads:-

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“High we exalt thee, realm of the free;
Great is the love we have for thee;
Firmly united ever we stand,
Singing thy praise, O native land.

we raise up our hearts and our voices on high,
The hills and the valleys re-echo our cry;
Blessing and peace be ever thine own,
Land that we love, our Sierra Leone.”

A famous American politician making reference to patriotism said: “We must not ask what our country has done for us, but what we have done for our country.”

The above quoted verse from our “National Anthem” reveals various aspects of requirements which constitute “Patriotism.” The need to exalt one’s country by showing love, the requirement of citizens to be united for development and the prerequisite by one to show love for one’s country are all reflected in this verse of our exotic National Anthem.

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It is very significant to note that love goes pride. We must all be proud of our God-given Nation regardless the ethnicity, religion or creed we belong.

In Africa, there used to be a fact that “Our strength lay in our togetherness.” In those dark days, when a village or small town was threatened by wild beasts from the forest, the chief or village town crier would sound a bell and almost all the able-bodied youths would quickly assemble and together repel such an attack in a feat of patriotism.

To be a patriot, it is but mandatory that one put one’s country before one’s self. The Latin motto for Fourah Bay College which is one of West Africa’s oldest and most renowned universities is “Non Sibi Sed Aliis” meaning “Not for self but for others.”
In being patriotic, we must avoid selfishness. We must show love and respect for one another as well as the leaders we have. For as the Holy Bible puts it in Romans Chapter 13: “All authority comes from God.” The Bible also enjoins every soul to be “subjected” to the higher powers. This means, a patriotic person must take pleasure to obey our natural and spiritual leaders, all other things being equal.

No one with a divided loyalty can properly claim to be patriotic. In our political system for instance, there is now effected a constitutional mandate that Sierra Leoneans with dual citizenship (meaning that, they have sworn to loyally serve another country) are disqualified from being ministers, from serving in Paliament and from being President. The rationale behind this is the fact that, “One cannot serve two masters because he would love the one and hate the other.” This is why a basic requirement of patriotism is “undivided loyalty and love.”

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In conclusion, I wish to affirm that, the word Patriotism is derived from the Latin word “PATRIA” meaning “fatherland.” There is a famous latin dictum “Dulce et decorum pro patria mori” meaning that,
“It is sweet and honourable to die for one’s fatherland.”
In actual fact, since almost every child normally loves his or her father dearly, we are equally so expected to love the land of our birth dearly, and with an unconditional love. The reason is because no one can have two(2) birth places at the same time. Your birth place is often described as your father or motherland. This shows, how it is important for this God-given habitat to be loved and cherished. You must treat your fatherland as a sacred location which you must never violate. Therefore, it behooves us, I mean all of us to show gratitude to God, our Creator for giving us a particular nation as our habitat.

In the meantime, reflect on these words:

Patriotism is your unconvertible love and loyalty to your country. It is that inexplicable element in a person which makes him to put love for his country above all other requirements in defiance of his own personal desires.

Admonition:
The lack of Patriotism the world over, has attracted many vices like tribal wars, religious intolerance, religious wars, violence, corruption, disloyalty and other horrible disorders of society. The fact that certain people have not only rejected their own nationality but have also taken the liberty to serve themselves more selfishly and even consider another man’s country more preferably than their own fatherland is totally deceptive and ungodly. This implies, wrongfully though, that God in His wisdom has mistakenly allocated one in his own land of birth. Such a presumption would be sinful and unproductive as “God” never does wrong.

Unpatriotic elements are often found to be disloyal and disobedient. God’s word commands us to obey our leaders. The Bible says “To obey is better than sacrifice and rebellion is the sin of witchcraft.” Leaders are most times only terrors to disloyal and disobedient subjects. Disloyalty and disobedience go with certain sanctions like death, imprisonment and exile.

Because of God’s wish for all to love one’s neighbour as one’s self, it would be very unfortunate for one to desist from showing love and respect for one’s country. One cannot love his country and yet show willful disobedience and hatred for its leaders.

Obedience therefore is the hallmark of peaceful co-existence and it is God’s wish that we all trust and obey our leaders, that we all live a life of unity and peace, without which a nation would never achieve national and economic developments.
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The Writer, Juliet Rogers, is a Sociètal engineer, Life&Emotional intelligence Coach.

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