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We have already expressed our take on ‘patriotism’, but in view of the recent developments on the political scene and as the word ‘patriot’ has been bandied about without respite to condemn those with views that differ to those of the powers that be, Java thought it would be useful to have those patriots out there (particularly the ‘patriotic’ bloggers) give us their views on what they really consider what exactly it takes to be ‘patriotic’. It would help if you would check out the link above, as much of its substance is directly relevant to this post – the opening paragraph of which is as follows:
Samuel Johnson’s quote on ‘patriotism’ is perhaps the most famous of them all “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”. Theodore Roosevelt, one of the better loved American presidents said in 1918, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is also morally treasonable to the American public”. Mark Twain said, “Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You can not shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let them label you as they may”. Howard Thurman – “During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism”. And finally, Hermann Goering (he should know about this!) “Naturally the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country”.
The thoughts in that post were expressed three years ago when the scenario in the country was decidedly different, however the definition of ‘patriotism’ doesn’t change with the scenario, so let’s check on some aspects of relevance today.
For instance, if you are a ‘patriot’, do you believe that the country is being governed in a way that is beneficial to its citizens? This would include agreeing with the rationale of the GOSL for the heavily bloated Cabinet, the massive amount of funds being spent on projects that are abandoned halfway through, the inclusion of criminal thugs in governance, the blatant abuse of power (a relatively minor one being the closing of roads at the whims and fancies of so-called VIPs), the huge security details assigned to politicians (especially since the end of the war) and other acts that are neither transparent nor beneficial to the country.
Then, if the Police Department is as inefficient as it appears to be, in that so many murders, assassinations and abductions are carried out with impunity without being resolved, shouldn’t there be some changes that would replace inefficient officers with those who could do a better job? Or do you think they are there to serve the purpose of powerful persons and not solve the many high-profile crimes that have been committed?
Would the patriots among us agree with the political appointments made that favour friends and relations of those in power over highly qualified civil-service personnel as ambassadors in countries that are important to our wellbeing?
There are hosts of other questions that we’re sure will come to mind as you read this, so there is hardly any point of listing the litany of questionable acts on the part of the GOSL (and it is really irrelevant which party or coalition is in power – the principles remain the same). Anyway, the intent of this post is to get some feedback from folk like our ‘patriotic’ bloggers, so that we may be enlightened of their views in relation to the questions posed here.
And an important question in this regard would be: “if you disagree with the GOSL’s present policies would that make you ‘unpatriotic’ or a ‘traitor’?”
Do feel free to add your thoughts – whether you consider yourself to be a ‘patriot’ or not.
You must be used to getting our annual missive by now and this year at least, you will no doubt be happy to hear that you won’t have to put yourself and the reindeer at risk when you traverse our northern shores. Yes, that futile war that lasted over a quarter century has finally ended. However, things aren’t all that rosy for the children and others up there as yet, as many of them still languish in camps – for all sorts of apparent reasons, although none of those ‘reasons’ make any sense to folk like us. I’m not sure if it will be safe for Donner, Dasher and the others to try landing your sleigh anywhere there without a permit of sorts, as very few ‘outsiders’ are allowed in – don’t ask why! So it looks like the children up there may not be able to have the pleasure of your company this year either.
Other than that, there’s a bit of excitement in the air these days and it’s not just because Christmas is around the corner. The politicians are all agog and thrashing around wondering which way the wind will blow as recent developments have resulted in another impending election – and this one for President. I won’t get into the details, as I’m sure you will get all the relevant information before making the trip over here, but suffice to say it’s an ‘all or nothing’ gamble for all concerned.
I remember you mentioning in your reply to us last year about how you got some pretty weird requests from a bunch of guys who wanted some outrageous gifts from you. Well, don’t be surprised to get some more from the same motley lot, as they are still very much around and still very much in the same situations they were in last year. However, they may be even more desperate this year due to the election which may well set the scene for a complete dumping of the existing garbage and which may see some of them wondering around in the wilderness. I’m sure you can imagine the plots within plots, the stashing of hidden assets, the secret deals and escape routes planned in advance, so watch out for those requests.
There are lots of folk here who are hoping against hope for a change that will get our beloved country back to a state of real peace and harmonious living, so that enlightened, sustainable, development programmes could be implemented – programmes that would swell the coffers of state and not the pockets and bank accounts of those in power. Along with these hopes are also hopes for ending endemic corruption, an administration that is transparent in its dealings and accountable for its actions and a few other hopes that include integrity in politicians and officers of the law. Okay, we know this is a bunch of wishful hoping, given that our track record in these areas is abysmal, but miracles still happen, right? Even small ones? Anyway, if you can put in a word with the ‘Boss’…..
Finally Santa, and especially since Christmas and You are really mostly for the children among us (and in us, I might add), please do your best to make this Christmas a happy one for the children – particularly the ones who are severely deprived and with very little to look forward to. Please make this one a Christmas that they will remember fondly and look forward to more as the years go by.
Take good care on your trip and we shall look out for that flash in the Christmas sky and will strain our ears for the sound of those sleigh bells ringing on Christmas eve. Keep in touch and let us know how it all went when you get back and if you have the time.
Java and I were mulling over the presidential possibilities – what with all the rumours going back and forth and the opposition thrashing around like headless chickens looking for an option to their likely prolonged stint in the political wilderness. The dialogue between Kusal Perera and Mano Ganeshan on Groundviews also added to the grist and we came up with the following, which if a candidate were to make part of his/her manifesto and pledge to uphold, we would unhesitatingly vote for.
For starters, pledge to make the moves to…
• Revise the constitution
• Abolish the presidency
• Get the Constitutional Council in place
• Get those amendments in there
• Sort out the ‘language issue’
• Make inciting violence against ethnic or religious groups a serious felony
• Slash the numbers in the cabinet to an acceptable/logical figure
• Cancel all security personnel for ministers and other government officials (if they can’t handle the heat they should get out of the kitchen, right?)
• Ban ministers and other government officials from hiring their relatives
• Free the roads of security barriers and checks
• Stop abusing power by shutting down roads for so-called VIP travel
• Free all political prisoners unless they are guilty of committing criminal offences
• Let all IDPs who are not charged with terrorist-related offences go home
• Prosecute all those who have been accused of felonies with evidence in support of the accusations
• Have a strict code of conduct for all ministers and government officials with penalties to be enforced for breaking it
• Promise to sign a letter of resignation post-dated to one year from the date of taking office, in the event that he/she has not attempted to fulfill the pledges made.
Okay, so we are both aware that this is a rather simplistic list and there may be all sorts of legal implications and/or other factors that may get in the way, but IF a candidate were to sincerely pledge to uphold these promises, we would have no hesitancy in supporting and voting for him/her.
How about you?
Feel free to add your suggestions. And maybe a more comprehensive list could be forwarded to the candidates for their reactions?
The original version of this post was originally published by Groundviews
The one but last conversation I had with him was about death. And for the two of us, fellow trippers since the break of the seventies, it was all to do with the ‘trip’ and the sensations that would flow – from this reality to whatever was to be experienced next. The way we looked at it was that since there was going to be no respite from the pain and ebbing of the energy from what was left of the ‘life’, the release that death would bring would be welcome, and the fear and attachment that would be the norm for most folks must be moved aside to clear the ‘way’ to whatever came next. I related to him what I experienced in a dream about dying – how the ‘release’ that death brought about was realized in the form of a wet dream and how incredible the whole sensation of ‘liberation’ was.
In the early days of our friendship – both of us ‘refugees’ from the Western-Establishment and living the life that our friends in the counter-culture we knew in the West only dreamed about, we traveled the paths of Sri Aurobindo, Krishnamurthi, Carlos Castaneda, Timothy Learie, Babba Ram Das and like-minded folk, on a spit of land between the ocean and a lagoon on the east coast with two or three fellow-travelers. In a shack with a sandy floor with no power. Battery-powered music from Pink Floyd, Ten Years After, Tull, Hendrix, Blind Faith and that lot. Dark nights in an out-trigger on the lagoon with our fingers trailing through the dark waters leaving the plankton’s shimmering luminescence in very acidy trails behind us – strains of Floyd’s Ummagumma wafting across the waters. Idyllic. Then the aborted revolution took place and shattered that reality. I returned to the West but he couldn’t – and never again traveled abroad – some hassle with his passport – the reason he had to return in the first place. A far cry from crewing on the Jimi Hendrix yacht – but he didn’t mind. And he did love Little Wing – a lot.
I returned some years later and it was just like old times – he was like that. More tripping – of all types. Kataragama, Matara Swami, Siva Kalki, Gauribala, the Manik one and others on the way – good times. And then he found his niche – a fortunate landing – one which he appreciated and where he stayed until the end.
I said my goodbye just before leaving for Flowerbook a couple of days before he left and as I kissed him goodbye I knew deep down that I would never see Mo again.
When President John F. Kennedy welcomed 49 Nobel Prize winners to the White House in 1962 he said, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” And taking a look at some of Thomas Jefferson’s quotes, it is not difficult to understand why Kennedy thought that way. Have a look at the quotes reproduced below and see how perceptive Jefferson was – not just during his era, but all the way down the line to where we are at right now. The ‘truths’ don’t just apply to the US of A, but pretty much encompasses the global village of today.
Here are some of them:
Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
And this one (circa 1802) that hits the nail squarely…
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered..
What do you think?