Nationalism, regardless of its variety, is one of humanity’s worst afflictions.
If it weren’t for virulent ethnic and religious nationalism in the Middle East, Israelis and Palestinians—or Muslims and Jews in general—wouldn’t keep killing each other over and over again. These parties’ competing claims are rooted in religious supremacism that disallows peaceful coexistence in a pluralist society.
If it weren’t for virulent ethnic nationalism in Eastern Europe, Russians and Ukrainians wouldn’t keep throwing their soldiers into a meat grinder for nearly a decade.
And if it weren’t for virulent ethnic nationalism in Central Europe, millions of Jews and Roma would have avoided the Shoah and Poraimos.
Nationalism often arises out of systemic oppression. Those who cling to these beliefs often want to defend their cultures and people against invaders or imperial overlords, whether past or present. We see this with ultra-Orthodox Zionists, Palestinian nationalists, Russian nationalists, and Ukrainian nationalists, all of whom have legitimate grievances against antisemites, Israeli nationalists, Nazi Germany, the USSR under Stalin, Poland, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. But these groups go beyond simply defending themselves. They promote their own chauvinistic ideas that invert what the Germans, Russians, Poles, or Israelis said about them. They sully their reputation abroad by attacking civilians, defending ethnic cleansing, oppressing their own citizens, and silencing dissent.
You cannot fight oppressive chauvinism with more of the same. Fighting for liberation need not mean that you copy your oppressor’s tactics—or plan to do so once you have regained your power. All you have done is drunk the poison and internalised it.
Spit out the poison. Resist all nationalisms.