Tuesday, 06 February 2018 17:29

Nationalism vs patriotism and what about multiculturalism

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Hello, almost a year since I am in Bulgaria and I continue to face challenges with being inter-culturally understood and that’s to some extend due to the fact that different cultures often use same words, but with slightly or greatly different meaning. For instance the adjective national (Fin kansallinen) in English, Finnish and Bulgarian means pretty much the same – “relating to a characteristic of a nation; common for a whole nation. In the Finnish wiktionary though is added – related to nationalism”. Well regarding the latter this is how the noun kansallinen is usually used in the Finnish (spoken) language. Finnish national (Suomen kansallinen) is considered a person belonging to the Finnish nation by prime features and characteristics (which may include genetically different) and as such national diverges from citizen. Well in the (spoken) Bulgarian language though the noun national (национал) means primly a nationalteam player!

Then to be more accurate what I mean here I hyperlink a video done by a young Finnish citizen, who openly and rhetorically asks: “Am I a Finn?”. The video is in Finnish, so I’ll translate a bit: “Hello my name is “Dogbone” and in this video I want to speak about my citizenship. I am upset by the question why I cannot call myself a Finn? Why? I have been born in Finland; I have grown up in Finland; I have educated myself in Finland; I speak Finnish; I even think in Finnish! Why? Mmmm ok says the young man, let me try to explain why (according to some locals/nationals/kansalliset) I can’t call myself a Finn because one man once told me – when a mouse lives in stables could it call itself a horse? Then the young man asks what a comparison that is and I prefer to stop here, though the whole video is worth watching! According to me the young guy is a full member of the Finnish society, nation and new Finnish and European generation! Along the same way of thoughts here I quote Sydney J. Harris: "The difference between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does"..., plus an insightful video about “nationalism vs patriotism”, please do see and hear it. According to Wikipedia “patriotism is the ideology of attachment to a homeland”. 

And then, how about multiculturalism? Well according to Wikipedia “multiculturalism is a term with a range of meanings in the contexts of sociologypolitical philosophy, and in colloquial use. In sociology and everyday usage, it is a synonym for "ethnic pluralism" with the two terms often used interchangeably, for example a cultural pluralism in which various ethnic groups collaborate and enter into a dialogue with one another without having to sacrifice their particular identities. It can describe a mixed ethnic community area where multiple cultural traditions exist, or a single country within which they do. Groups associated with an aboriginal ethnic group and foreigner ethnic groups are often the focus...”.

Then by growing up within two cultures, the Bulgarian and the Finnish ones, I want to try to express my personal multicultural experience in terms of what it practically means for me. Well it means greater and more diverse awareness of the world around and within us and in its positive side by trying to get the best features of the multicultural diversity one grows deeper and more insightful prospective of the World (around and within)!

I hope you can see that from my new Finns, Bulgarians and Europeans point of view, I try to express a personality based multicultural dimension for characters created within different cultures! The latter diverges from the above given explanations and according to me gives greater spectrum for personal and cultural freedom and awareness in the new information borderless age.

P.S. Because it’s not so important what I say, but rather how I am understood, which as you can see is even more complicated in cross-cultural environment, I want to exclusively state that my statements are not “anti-” whatsoever. I mean that I see myself and the boy from the video as a rather natural part of the process of forming a contemporary European culture and society/family, such as the Finnish or Bulgarian etc. one!

Kind regards, Rosti

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