Nationalism – is it good or bad?

This is a post in response to some discussions I had about my previous post about the controversial De La Rey by Bok van Blerk.

One of my friends suggested that the word nationalism had such negative connotations that it is offensive. I must admit I was quite taken aback by this view.

Lets first clarify nationalism. According to Wikipedia, nationalism is an ideology that holds that a nation is the fundamental unit for human social life, and takes precedence over other social and political principles. Of course with such a controversial issue this might also be questioned, but lets agree on this as a starting point.

To me nationalism is a positive thing. I do admit that nationalism is a very powerful feeling/ideal and this scares a lot of people. Almost like a tool that can end up in the wrong hands. But religion, for instance, is no different. Capitalism or communism or even technology can also be exploited to do evil.

Many people immediately associate Nationalism with Nazism. Whilst Hitler exploited Germany’s nationalist fervour after the 1st World War to build his fascist state, he could also have used those nationalistic feelings to build a flourishing and socially responsible nation.

If it wasn’t for nationalism we (the Afrikaners), Indians and Pakistanis would all be speaking English right now; the Scots wouldn’t have their delightful accent and the French would have been speaking German. The list goes on and on.

In South Africa I believe that nationalism actually encourages reconciliation between races. If Bryan Habana scores a try I am just as happy as when Fourie du Preez does. I don’t see black and white – I see a South-African sticking it to the Aussies.

That doesn’t mean I want to declare war against Australia. Far from it; in the UK we had just about as many Aussie/Kiwi friends as Saffers. What it does mean is that I’m proud to be an Afrikaner and I recognise and respect our heritage. Exactly in the same way that I’d expect a Scot/Aussie/Russian/Yank/Indian or Zulu to.

Mainstream Germany & Austria are in total denial about their nationalism. Privately they are as nationalistic as ever, but they have draconian laws (that go 100% against the principles of freedom of speech) that prohibit them from expressing their views. I think this denial is not healthy. Obviously there are exceptions, but as a rule their joie de vivre is sadly lacking.

When the Scots, Irish and Welsh sing their glorious anthems at Murrayfield, Landsdowne Road & The Millennium Stadium visiting spectators are inevitably moved. It truly is something to behold; ask anyone who has been there. It is nationalism as it is meant to be: not pathetic and small minded but rousing and inspiring.

For a well researched & balanced view check out the Nationalism Wiki.

De La Rey by Bok van Blerk – eeeiiisshh!!

general de la reyOne of the bigger talking points in South-Africa (specifically the Afrikaans community) at present is the song De La Rey by Bok van Blerk.

I must say that I liked the song after the first time I heard it but I didn’t have a clue what it was about – it just sounded good. Since then though I have seen the video and heard the song many times and I must say it really moves me. I know I know; I am a sucker for Boer nationalism. It is strange though because I’m not what you’d call a typical Afrikaner – I’ve got too many funny ideas for that, but I am immensely proud to be an Afrikaner.

Some elements in the press thinks this song is so popular because the Afrikaners are searching for their “lost” identity, but I’m not so sure. I think this song will be popular regardless of identity issues and let’s not forget it is a very catchy song. Anyway I don’t think the Afrikaner is as lost as he was 6/7 years ago.

Hierdie quote van Bok, oftewel Louis Pepler, som dit mooi op:

Ja, Reënboognasie en al daai dinge . . . Maar ons is een van daai reënboogkleure. Jy moet saam met ‘n Zoeloe, Xhosa en Engelsman om ‘n tafel kan sit en weet wie jy is.

I urge anyone to watch the video and I challenge any Afrikaner not to get a lump in the throat when watching it. You can Youtube it here. The video is distributed in mpeg format on the CD as well.

Bravo Bok van Blerk!!

Hanlie Retief from Rapport (not usually a newspaper I read) wrote this insightful article about Bok and De La Rey.

Vir die wat meer oor De La Rey self wil weet gaan loer gerus na die Koos De La Rey wiki.

Update: A friend sent me this article by Koos Kombuis about Bok van Blerk. It is certainly worth a read.

Further Update: Die NY Times, een van die mees gerespekteerde koerante ter wêreld, het gister (27 Februarie 2007) ‘n voorbladartikel oor Bok en De La Rey gehad.

Adorable Elke

Elke has grown considerably, both mentally & physically, in the last 2/3 weeks.

She allready has the strength (but not the balance) to stand for up to 5 minutes. She can also focus on something for much longer periods than before. And her hand-eye coordination improves daily. She loves plants (specifically brightly coloured flowers) and going on walks. And her latest – and very cute – trick is to talk to herself. Sometimes she shrieks (of joy?) and other times she just gurgles.

It is a joy to watch her grow into something intelligent. Almost everyday I am surprised at what she has learned.

It sounds like I’m doting. Uuuugh!

The LOUDEST thunder I’ve ever heard

After midnight on Saturday I awoke to the loudest thunder clap I have ever heard. I honestly don’t get scared by natural events, but my breath was literally taken away by this strike. I thought it must have struck one of the trees in the property – it sounded so close, but the next day we heard people from area also commenting on the thunder.

Thunder is sonic shock waves caused by the rapid heating and expansion of the air surrounding and within a bolt of lightning. The bolt changes the air into plasma and it instantly explodes, causing the sound known as a thunder clap.

To read more check out the Wikipedia on Thunder.

Beeldskone Boesmansriviermond

Op dae soos vandag besef ek dat ons terugkeer na Suid-Afrika ‘n briljante besluit was. Dit is rêrig ‘n skouspelagtig aand. Dit is warm; daar is nie ‘n briesie in die lug nie en die rivier se water is soos ‘n dam.

Dit was net so lekker op Boesmans se ou strand gewees – al die vakansiegangers wat nog oor is het almal af rivier toe gekom want dit was net eenvoudig onweerstaanbaar.

So ‘n ondervinding is prysloos en tog verniet. Snaaks nê?

Ek voel net jammer vir die vakansiegangers wat besluit het om vroedr huistoe te gaan oor die wind. Dit was erg hierdie jaar, maar in die Oos-Kaap moet jy maar geduldig wees met die wind.

Vir Boesmansriviermond fotos en ander goed gaan kyk na die Boesmansriviermond webtuiste.

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