Musings on George

detail of rusted bridge over a north England railway

Phew! It’s over.

And as we wake up (hopefully!) to the real implications of paying for the  policing & parading of two inbred work-shy over-priveledged parisitic strangers who happen to have squelched “out of a particular aristocratic womb in a particular golden palace”   – and as the frenetic flag-waving for our Great demokkkracy hosting the Olympic Games begins in earnest – here’s a couple of alternative interpretations from ‘Georges’ on this perculiar strain of manipulated and misdirected national pride:

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them”
– George Orwell

“Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favourite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests”
– George Washington

“Patriotism is the belief your country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it”
– George Bernard Shaw

“To me, it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography”
– George Santayana

“To become a patriot is to lie to yourself, to tell yourself that whatever good you might perceive abroad, your own country is, on balance, better than the others. It is impossible to reconcile this with either the evidence of your own eyes or a belief in the equality of humankind. Patriotism of the kind [George] Orwell demanded in 1940 is necessary only to confront the patriotism of other people: the Second World War, which demanded that the British close ranks, could not have happened if Hitler hadn’t exploited the national allegiance of the Germans. The world will be a happier and safer place when we stop putting our own countries first”
– George Monbiot

“Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student”
– George Iles

“The principle contradiction between the oppressor and oppressed can be reduced to the fact that the only way the oppressor can maintain his position is by fostering, nurturing, building contempt for the oppressed. That thing gets out of hand after a while”
– George Jackson

“As long as we hate, there will be people to hate”
– George Harrison

“Saint George. George of Lydda, Born in Turkey of “Black” Palestinian parentage”
100 Great Black Britons

Adapted from an essay originally published in SABLE Lit Mag Issue 12 2008: Black British Perspectives


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