In Priestley’s “Wrong Ism”, he claims that nationalism is not the strength that binds a country together, but rather all of the small local areas we are all accustomed to growing up in that gives us strength. Priestley considers nationalistic ideas and movements to be headed by people who have a love of power and who have left out their regional ties. They no longer have feelings for the areas they came from and any loyalty developed over their lifetime is watered down.
Priestley feels regionalism needs to be given more credit. He assumes it provides us with roots and a sense of attachment to our community which affect people’s lives in such a way that it creates a unique bond that can be very hard to break.
So in a sense, regionalism shapes our identities and I agree with his assumption that people view themselves more as part of their region rather than a part of their nation. Loyalty to one’s region can be compromised when individuals allow national power and greed to destroy their roots.
There are many examples of how nationalism tries to take over a region to destroy its people. For instance genocide, in nearly all examples, has been started by a power-hungry national figure who has an agenda in mind that never takes into account what a local area’s wish might be for their future. Hitler is an example of this type of authoritarian oppressor who had a very complex national strategy in place to exterminate the Jews. He certainly did not consider or recognize regional differences in Europe, but rather put forth his own agenda.
Genocide is on a whole different level than all other crimes against humanity. The circumstance I will describe shows how Priestley’s concept of internationalism also comes into play showing how our global watchdog agencies, such as the UN, can be slow to respond to an atrocity. For the most part, the UN has avoided and has not responded to many genocidal conflicts. Every time subjects of genocide or other similar crimes against humanity have come up, debate was intense. This probably occurred because of the many different world perspectives and ideas concerning human suffering. In addition, the punishment of genocide deals with the crime after the annihilation of people occurs.
The real problem to be dealt with is that of prevention of such crimes.
It seems that a large percentage of every population are ready to obey national authority and be controlled, especially when many of the people are suffering from oppression and
mistreatment. An example supporting Priestley’s statements is seen in the chronology of genocide in Rwanda that started in 1918. This atrocity continued through the 100-day slaughter in 1994, with hundreds of thousands in refugee camps many years later.
When Belgium governed Rwanda, ethnic identity cards were introduced to separate the two different Tutsi monarchs: the Hutus and the Tutsis. When the Tutsi king died in 1959 the Hutu majority was led to kill hundreds of thousands of Tutsi minority to gain power.
Experts say that genocide in Rwanda was not simple hatred between two tribes, but was planned in advance by high-ranking corrupt Hutu politicians together with Belgium influences who did not want to share power with the Tutsi minority. Many people believe that there was much brainwashing by these leaders before the genocide even began.
Mr. Boutros-Ghali, the Secretary General of the UN at the time, called for swift action on the Rwandan genocide. This council, under America’s leadership, procrastinated. The U.
S. wanted to avoid the situation because of the controversy, which occurred in the 1993 Somalia operation. The U.S. made the argument that not all of the murders that occurred in Rwanda were genocidal in nature. Over half of the Tutsi tribe was murdered in one form or another, mostly from being hacked to death with machetes.
This was clearly an excuse to avoid the resolution made in the 1948 international convention which makes it mandatory to take immediate action if any acts of genocide are identified. If the UN had acted faster and more professional who knows how many more people would be alive today. This shows how nations can sometimes .