The true patriotism, being just a manifestation of love for all the human kind, doesn’t get on with the hostility for individual nations.

N. Dobroliubov

Yesterday I listened to an interview with a famous and recognized politician, known as a ‘real patriot’, and one of his phrases made me hesitate. According to him, to be a patriot, one mustn’t just love his motherland: he is obliged to hate the foreigners. Of course, the politician didn’t literally say “the foreigners”, but he mentioned one concrete nationality.  For sure, you can hear the same and even the worse words every day from many people, but the words, said on TV, are much more influential and can be regarded by people as a guiding principle. 

I have always believed myself to be a patriot, as I really love my country and its people, the compatriots. But when I meet foreigners and listen to their judgments I always keep in mind the difference in our cultures and mentality, and try hard to understand them if they behave friendly. As for me, we just have no right to strike them at the weak points, which are our weak points too:  people often aren’t fond of studying other cultures. Humor and friendly irony are the best friends in such situations.  And we always should regard people individually, as even inside one and the same country people are different. Fools can be met all over the world. And if someone is aggressive or stupid I won’t ask his passport to find out the nationality.  And vice versa, if he’s clever, kind or just interesting I’ll be glad to make friends with him.

And still, according to the popular politician, I must learn to hate the foreigners.

No doubt, it’s never easy to get on with your human neighbors on the Earth, as the more people have in common, the more they have to share. In this small world we’re obliged to accommodate to each other’s needs and merits. But if two individuals often aren’t able to live in harmony, what can be expected from the whole nations, made up by millions of people? No doubt, the conflicts are inevitable. And maybe that’s the reason for the fact that representatives of different nations, especially the geographical neighbors, often feel a kind of aversion for each other. The British, for example, have no special liking for the French, the Ukrainians - for the Russians, and many people in the world aren’t fond of the Americans.

Politicians all over the world use this sad phenomenon for their own PR purposes. They escalate the xenophobia, making people look for an external enemy when something goes wrong in the country, and that’s a grave crime. Many people believe them easily as such point of view fits the historical tradition perfectly, and start to hate their neighbors.

Nowadays almost everybody has relatives or ancestors of different nationalities. Wars and conflicts overflow the Earth, hundreds of people die everyday, so the primary task for a real patriot is to keep peaceful life in his country and don’t let people fight, isn’t it obvious?  We should become more loyal and less provocative, but our politicians study exceptionally their own interests and continue to arouse discord.

So, I prefer to feel myself as an individual with my own views and character, preferences and habits, and to see smart, beautiful, talented, kind and hospitable individuals of different nationalities around me instead of the faceless and politically made ‘nation’, infected by the xenophobia.