Nationalist Politics

Nadeem Yousaf

politics of nationalismContemporary nationalist parties are offshoot of fascism. In the most recent history, Hitler from Germany followed the fascist approach to galvanize people and the world had seen devastating results of his national sentiments. Some of the contemporary politicians from Europe, Australia, America and other parts of the world appear to be forgetting black days of the history and seeking opportunities to be in the limelight in politics by provoking national sentiments using immigrants as scapegoat to meet their vested interests.

Nationalist parties follow narrow and secondary agenda which hardly play a significant role in growth of a state. They are political actors who believe in exploitation of emotions and sentiments for their own vested interests. Those who drive politics of nationalism look for ‘non-real issues’ which apparently appear to be important and enough to excite sentiments of ordinary people. Non-real issues are presented as a threat to interests of majority and look for scapegoats as Hitler did in Germany when Jews were accused for all the ills in Germany. Nationalist parties’ politics mostly revolves around immigration and immigrants that are hardly real issues of any country. It is incomprehensible how a weak minority of immigrants can take over interests of majority.

These nationalist parties portray immigrants as the father of all economic and cultural problems of a country. They portray immigrants as cultural intruders and over-burden on the national economy, which is quite absurd. In order to promote their political interests, they distort facts and figures; for example, nationalist parties will indeed propagate about number immigrants living in a country but never tell how many natives have been moved out from a country. They never speak about positive contribution of overseas people.

Those who run politics of nationalism they are either political opportunist or/and mentally sick people, for example narcissistic personalities, who have strong desire to be a popular public figure. They create imaginative environment as did the Norwegian mass killer, Anders Behring Breivik. He is justifying his act of killing innocent people because his ‘sick mind’ imagines that Europe, particularly Norway, will be dominated by ethnic and religious groups such as Islam and Asians.

Nationalist parties do not all the time work unaided. Time to time they act as a stooge of the sitting governments. Two examples, one from Denmark and other from Pakistan, might be sufficient to support the argument. Danish Peoples Party, which is proponent of anti-immigration, supported the immigration bill in 2008 that allowed skilled people to come to Denmark; however, now opposing the same because the government inner quarters wishes to change the bill. The other example is MQM, a political nationalist party representing interest of Urdu Speaking group in Pakistan. MQM, most of the time, supported the military and sitting governments and through politics of violance came in the limelight. Sitting governments use nationalist parties to divert attention of people from the real issue. On the behest of the government, they take non-real issues to the public through the support of media. Unfortunately,these political actors find prominent place in media because media looks for the glamorized news to create headlines; and political actors from the nationalist parties are, undoubtedly, the best source; otherwise their views are quite shallow.

Evidence from the history shows that politics of nationalism is not healthy as it disintegrates people on the name of integration. It brings chaos, tension and hatred in the system. In the era of globalization, no country can survive in isolation. Nor is it possible for any country to throw them ‘non-natives’ out of the country unless steps of Idi Ameen of Uganda are followed, who cancelled citizenship of thousands of Asian origin living in Uganda. British ex-Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, also got popularity by playing the card of Immigrants but could not implement what she promised regarding immigrants. Her politics enhanced violence in Britain in the period of 80s-90s. If immigrants from Asia were not being useful, Britain would have not relaxed immigration laws in the period of 2004-2010. Norway also followed harsh immigration policy towards immigrants in 90s to the extent that they werer not letting even highly qualified people in the country but later relaxed immigration laws to take the benefits of highly qualified non-European and American immigrants. Over emphasis on nationalistic sentiments not only is harmful for the world but also for the country that is encouraging superfluous nationalistic sentiments; this is the lesson that we learn from the history.

The article is written in memory of those innocent people who died or injured in the massacre of Utoya, Norway on 22 July 2011.

Nadeem Yousaf

July 27, 2011