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Shared Blood and Nationalism in Britain

12/28/2007

Two columns, originating from the New York Times, I read in my local paper basically espoused, in response to news that some geneticists out of Oxford have found the bloods of the peoples of Britain to be about the same, the notions of greater unity because of the shared blood, and more respect for the differences among the peoples of Britain, those of Scotland, Ireland, England, etc, but also with less division. Both are respectable views, but, even though I must admit I saw this as a subtle implication, there was a decidedly anti nationalist tone to the commentaries.

There are some who think nationalism has little difference between it and jingoism, and that nationalism itself is bad, but I don’t see them as being so close to each other. I don’t think moderate nationalism is bad; it can be inspirational to think of how the people before you built your nation, especially of your relatives’ sacrifices. Sometimes one’s nation can do noble acts for other nations. Of course nations and their peoples do bad things, but that’s beside the issue.

I not only am unsurprised to learn many of my British ancestors were probably related before having met each other, I also think it’s bordering on silly to suggest this discovery should make a difference so significant that perhaps nations should show less prideful arrogance and competitive ferver in light of it, though I might be reading too much into the columns, and they may very well have meant only to speak against bigotry in its ugliest forms, but nevertheless I see nothing of surprising or great import in the news of a shared blood line. It is well known that many nations peoples copulated with each other, and that nations often don’t maintain there original peoples as the majority.

If one is going to have pride in something, whatever it has to have begun somewhere. While I might have roots back to Africa (re: out of Africa theory), I am not African in any other way than a theory. I’m mostly Scottish on my paternal line, and that’s what matters to me. I have a connection there that is as real to me as any genetic data can confirm about my connection to nations I might never imagine a relationship to. I likely will never learn the stories of far distant relatives, though I would like to, so there exists no better source of pride, no greater abundance of stories than in my Scottish ancestry. I am British by descent, but I’m most of all Scottish (and Polish on my maternal side), and the English, Irish, etc., best not forget it, or I’ll kick their “arses.”

Have a good day.

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