Monday, October 13, 2008

Centerstage / UPI Asia
Alexander Martin Remollino

Manila, Philippines, October 13 — There is at present such a dearth of patriotism in the Philippines that one-time performance of deeds that may be construed as patriotic is almost always mistaken by Filipinos for patriotism itself. Even some of those with supposedly higher political consciousness have fallen into this trap at one time or another.

This has several times led people to turn to the wrong kind of leaders for hope at having the country's pitiful conditions reversed.

But what is patriotism? The word is derived from the Latin "patria" and the Greek "patris," both of which are commonly translated into English as "fatherland." The Webster's New World Dictionary defines patriotism as "love and loyal or zealous support for one's country."

There are three other concepts here which combine to make patriotism what it is: love, loyalty, and zeal.

"Love implies intense fondness or deep devotion and may apply to various relationships or objects," the Webster's New World Dictionary states. Loyalty, meanwhile, is defined as "faithfulness or faithful adherence to a person, government, cause, duty, etc." and is held to be synonymous with allegiance. Zeal is defined as ardor and fervor, among other things.

Putting the definitions of the three concepts together, we can see that in order to be rightfully called a patriot, one has to ardently or fervently carry a deep devotion and faithful adherence to his or her country. Devotion suggests dedication and adherence implies firmness.

All these mean that patriotism is not a one-time show and one can rightfully be called a patriot only after passing the test of time. One can perform certain patriotic deeds at times but that does not mean he or she is a patriot. Only those who consistently perform patriotic acts are to be called patriots.

So long as Filipinos stick to wrong notions of patriotism, there will be little hope of improving the country's lot.

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