Friday, October 03, 2008

German Unity Day

Today is German Unity Day.  I've been looking for commemoration ceremonies in Bonn which used to be the capital of West Germany.  It seems the celebration (and parties?) are centered this year in Hamburg.  The commemoration is hosted by a different city each year.

What is the German concept of unity and nationalism?  At least I see its manifestation everyday. Outside town halls, in cars, gardens, in my office, and of course, in international football games, the tri-band German flag is a common sight.  In the Philippines, you can't see this national pride in practice, probably because it is considered baduy (out of style, uncool) to show one's nationalism.  Although we sing our national anthem in school every morning and in public offices and universities on Mondays.  Come to think of it, we're not any less nationalistic: Germans just do it visually, while we do it orally!


Anonymous said...

I think the nationalism Germany expresses these days doesn't feel uncool or out of style because such visual displays emerged relatively recently, especially during the world cup a few years ago. Before then, it was extremely uncool to wave the schwartz-rot-gold.

Since the end of WWII when German nationalism became a signature symbol of hate, obedience to authority, and groupthink, the flag carried a strong burden of ambivalance--on one hand fierce German identity and on the other a reminder of the dark past when people rallied under a flag against the world.

More than 60 years later, the many Germans who feel comfortable waving their flag aren't by default labeled a nazi.

jadz said...

Thank you for this explanation. It is interesting how sports bind a nation together and promote nationalism. We feel the same, even at least for a few days, when Manny 'Pacman' Pacquiao, win a boxing match, but without the flag-draping.