Friday Forum: Who to bless?

Matt Vroom

Matt Vroom

By The Daily Illini

The following is a collaboration of trepidations about nationalism and the lack of human compassion, written in the ultimate hope of having readers digest an unpretentious, but at the same time, thought-provoking opinion piece.

The concept of nationalism might be practically preferable for most since by instinct all people love their native land, their families and their cultures. But if one refocuses the lenses through which one analyzes society, then it is intrinsically necessary for us to adopt the morally justifiable concept of internationalism.

There is a direct correlation between intense feelings of nationalism and a tendency for societies to perilously misinterpret these sentiments. Sometimes we view people from other corners of the world as non-recognizable specimens that threaten our territory and ultimately our survival. In reality, we are all humans, aren’t we? Aren’t we all basically trying to survive in this sometimes painful and cruel world? And most importantly, weren’t all these artificially marked boundaries that separate our nations, our people and our cultures randomly drawn up on a map by the imperial powers, in order for them to expand via murder and exploitation in the name of nationalism?

Nationalism ultimately brings nothing but anger for the oppressed and fear for the oppressor. This equation unquestionably leads to one outcome: violence. Hence, a new sense of intense and passionate internationalism is vital in order for societies to stop this vicious economic, cultural and physical genocidal cycle against one another.

In this capitalist/individualist society where everyone is told to live their lives via fierce competition in order to become “successful,” it is mind-boggling to me that we have lost a sense of empathy and consideration for the less fortunate. Nothing irritates me more than hearing someone say something along the lines of, “I have worked really hard to be as successful as I am, and too bad some of those homeless people were too lazy or unstable to realize what they needed to do.” I do not comprehend how people can take so much credit for their accomplishments. Yes, these hard-working, successful people have put a lot of effort and dedication into their particularized accomplishments, but I believe that everyone that was able to grasp this concept was blessed or lucky; whichever way you would rather see it.

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None of us have a choice about where we are born or to what family. We do not decide under what monetary/emotional/psychological circumstances we come into this world. So how can we leave these people behind, when it could have just as easily been one of us? How can we all of a sudden take credit for some things that are not in our control? People, for the most part, are products of their environment, and even though there are exceptions of underprivileged people who do succeed, these cases are few and far between.

Next time our individualistic views sneak up on us again, let’s picture ourselves being born to a 16-year-old girl from a developing nation who has no husband, job or future, and thus spends her whole life addicted to drugs and alcohol. If you were in that situation, you would most likely be supplicating people in better circumstances to have some mercy and compassion and extend you a helping hand.

With that said, God bless the world and humanity.

Andres Fernandez

junior in LAS