Not an easy question. I don’t know to which country I belong. Because I was born in Spain and I live in Spain that doesn’t mean I feel I’m Spanish. I was born in a Croatian family, my first language was Croatian, I learned Spanish in school and I don’t know why, I feel more Croatian than Spanish. So, related to Spain I guess I’m not patriotic. This said, you have to know I would defend Spain if someone from outside criticizes without knowledge and unjustly the country. So, I guess, some sense of love and belonging exists.
I consider Croatia my homeland. And because I have been for so long far away I idealized it in my mind and my feelings. I love Croatia with a kind of love I don’t feel for Spain. Am I patriotic? I don’t know. I’m not sure about the adjective because of the political implications. Politically I cannot be patriotic. Because although I have the citizenship I don’t live permanently in the country, so I don’t feel entitled to decide in political matters. Besides, I’m afraid of bad political patriots, the ones that for love of their country despise others. That doesn’t fit in my system of values.
I only know I love Croatia with all my heart and every second I’m far away I’m longing to se once more its shores, its islands, its cities, to listen at the familiar voices signing the songs and talking the beautiful (and difficult) language my parents taught me. I understand and I like when people talk about their countries with the same kind of love. I can listen to them talking about their places with so much interest! You can learn so much about the world!
I guess what happens to me with Spain and Croatia is the drama of many first-generation immigrants in Europe. You don’t feel you belong completely to the country you live and you don’t belong completely to the country you love. I think it’s different in the US. When I spent there two years as a journalist I felt immediately at home. I even thought seriously in staying. But family matters brought me back to Spain in no time and my little “American Dream” finished.
So here I am, a citizen of the world. Better that way, I dare to say.
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