Alice Janssens (23) is a cultural economics and entrepeneurship Masters student at ESHCC. This article represents her personal views on the events of the past week.
“I grew up in the Middle East, Europe, North America, and will never be a nationalist, that much is clear. This places me within a certain group of people, who don’t particularly know what they are – and for this reason I will never be able to properly understand the feeling of my nation being under threat.
Mainly, because I don’t really know what my nation is. However, I find that in the current climate, this puts me in a very awkward situation. America is grappling with its nature, the Middle East is battling ISIS, Europe is under threat and nationalism is rife. Pictures on Facebook bear flag watermarks and I feel the pain of the deaths.
I am not a supporter of terrorist attacks, or terrorism in general but my upbringing has left me out of touch. Reactions are leading people to their national boundaries and all I want to do is reach out and comfort everyone. Some are even arguing that we are harkening back to the post Weimar Republic days of Germany, but there is one thing out of place. The level of globalisation that exists within the current climate has led to a group, a global nation of people who don’t know where they belong.
So where does this leave us? I have spoken with a number of my school friends who grew up country hopping, struggling to reply to the concept of where they came from, and it appears it is not only me who is out of sync. We don’t really know how to react, but the general view seems to be to spread love and support people.
This view is reflected in the #illridewithyou movement and similar actions that have appeared since 2014, but it still seems to be out of step with national policies. How can nations defined by their boundaries relate to a public, or at least a sector of the global public that does not know theirs?
But, it is not just the case for third-culture-kids, as people affectionately like to term us. We aren’t the only ones who aren’t defined by nations. International trade, airplanes, smartphones and social media have made us a globalised society structured within nationalist boundaries that no longer exist. Look at the people on your newsfeed who are posting pictures of the Belgian flag this week.
Where do they come from? Who are they? Clearly, at least from the feeds of myself and my friends, they are international. They do not care about Belgium for the sake of Belgium. They care about the protection of people. This, it must be admitted is a generalisation, yet, their posting is indicative of a sentiment felt by more than just one community. When we define such events as this week’s explosions as affecting the Belgian community we limit ourselves, not only as Westerners, but as members of the global community.
This action enables us to feel estranged from the heinous attack on Istanbul that took place last week. The current warfare that is taking place is not being waged nationally, but on a broader front. It is not nation against nation, but ideology against ideology. How can you say a nation is at war in this case? It is not a nation, but a sector of global society unbound by national associations. It is a war of ideologies that appear on globally accessible twitter feeds.”
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