Individualism V Patriotism
I have been stuck in a hellhole for several weeks now. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Sky Sports, no Match of the Day, no Hollyoaks, no X Factor and no Come Dine with Me! The only phone is broke, so the main means of communication with the outside world is the dying art of letter writing. Being here however has its positives. None of the variety associated with the modern way of life – struggling to come up with a clever status update for your Facebook or Twitter profile every minute and definitely none of the stress of having to dig into your wallet and pay for extortionate train fares, but there’s also a downside from being away from all of this.
We are starved for news. Newspapers and magazines are delivered to us but they are always weeks out of date. It’s practically history by the time it comes through but I devour every bit of news article, which seems to be full of doom and gloom every time. Economic recession continues, Steve Job passes away – and I am told the iPhone 4S is well disappointing! Tevez refuses to come off the bench to play, yet he his paid thousands of pounds a week!
And the saga continues in Libya. You will find only a handful of good news and the page 3 girls seem to be getting fitter every week! One positive article in “The Week” caught my attention. Warren Buffet has injected $5bn of his own money into the beleaguered Bank of America. He only gets a meagre 6% annual return. With his investment process, he could be making a killing elsewhere but he chose to save one of America’s largest banks! This is a free act of patriotism.
I could not help but take a look at my beloved Ghana. Most Ghanaians have a great sense of national pride. We would hoist the flag of Ghana anywhere in the world.
We will scream our heads off cheering the Black stars and even in defeat but how many of us will put our money where our mouths is?
How many will make the ultimate sacrifice for Ghana’s sake?
How many will do a “Luis Suarez” for Ghana?
“Patriotism” has become a colloquial word to many Ghanaians. It is seen as a word that belongs to the era of the independence struggle and the immediate aftermath. We have increasingly become a very individualistic nation. Each man for himself, the national good is left to second place. In this capitalistic world it is easy for people to put their own interest before that of their country. This is to be expected in a world where individual integrity and enterprise is held in high esteem and even in a country where many feel their share of the national cake is being munched by the big bellied government official at the top. Some may argue a collection of individual success may ultimately lead to national success. This may be true but excessive individualism will only suffocate patriotism. It is a hard balancing act but let John F Kennedy’s words be our guiding principle in all situations.
“Ask not what YOUR country can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your country”
By Maclean Arthur