Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nationalism versus Citizenship

Much of the debate in Ukraine is about the perceived notion of "Nationalism" and  ethnicity, the  us versus them argument.

Russia is not a threat to Ukraine, it is Ukrainians and their political leaders that undermine Ukraine's stability and prosperity.  Their political leaders. sadly, have failed to represent their Citizens. Instead they seek to promote division  based on ethnicity. 

The concept of Nationalism more often then not divides a nation as opposed to uniting its people.  One mans notion of National values is another mans vilification. Exactly who is  Ukrainian and who is not?  And should it matter?  No more is this divide greatest then in the Language debate.  Nationalism is more often than not used to rally the troops when those that promote it as a political tool have nothing else to unite the nation or offer as an alternative policy to secure support.  It is for this reason Ukraine remains divided.

Ethnically Ukraine encompasses many nationalities and ethnic groups. It is the centre of the European continent after all.  The various ethnic groups include: Tatars, Hungarians, Polish, Romanians, Swedish, Germans, Austrians, Russian and Hutzals.  In many ways it is its diversity that makes Ukraine and should be what unites Ukraine. Nationalism is good for promoting various culture but it is dangerous when used as a political tool.

What Ukraine today needs is to develop a sense of Citizenship and the values that come with a democratic society that engages and seeks to unit all its citizens.  I'ts Citizenship that is the most important and from a sense of Citizenship and National pride comes recognition of cultural values which includes all languages.

Democracy is not based on nationalism it is based on universal suffrage, Citizenship and representative governance.

The sooner the political debate in Ukraine can begin to focus on Citizenship  the sooner Ukraine can put and end to division and move forward as one nation. one state with a reverence for human rights and democratic values.