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Ultranationalism: what does it really mean?

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It has been observed that the term ultranationalism has become a pejorative description for nationalists who display an extreme fervor to or advocacy of the interests of their country. Those who claim to be “citizens of the world” are the ones who are quick to calumny nationalists, often accusing them of being this so-called ultranationalism.

But what, really, does ultranationalism connote? Legendary nationalist Claro M. Recto had this to say:

It is evident that our brand of nationalism is different from that of our accusers. We have no desire and we have never attempted to deny the national self-interest of other peoples in their own countries. We merely want to defend our own, in our own territory. We are nationalists but we can live in harmony with other nationalists, because all nationalisms can work out a plan for coexistence which will not detract from the sovereignty of any one nation. Those who are bent on carrying their nationalisms beyond their national frontiers in order to overrun other nationalisms have ceased to be true nationalists and have become ultra-nationalists, which is another word for imperialists. Ultra is a Latin word which means beyond in space, as in the terms plus ultra and non plus ultra. An ultra-nationalist, therefore, is one who wants to be first not only in his own country, but also in other countries to which he is a foreigner; that is, an imperialist.

We would rather take the meaning of ultranationalism from a master of words and an expert in etymology (many critics in literature regard him as our Filipino version of Miguel de Cervantes) than from those with shallow understanding of the true import of nationalism. Nevertheless, we have to admit that there really are nationalists who do show an extreme kind of nationalism to the point that they have disregarded or neglected the interests of other countries. But such people are a minority and do not really represent the lofty ideals of nationalism. The kind of nationalism they adhere to can be classified as bigoted or chauvinistic. But it doesn’t really matter. What matters the most is placing ultranationalism in its proper etimological perspective, that ultranationalism is imperialism after all. Period.

And speaking of bigotry or chauvinism, there are actually no “ultranationalists” (to borrow from anti-nationalists’ twisted definition of the term) in Filipinas. What we have are regionalists who claim that their province or region or town/city or ethnicity is better than the rest. Take this photo, for instance:

Photo taken at the border of Tagaytay, Cavite and Nasugbú, Batangas last 13 September 2011.

“Welcome to the Province of the Brave”, says this welcome arch, signifying that travelers are about to enter the Province of Batangas. Aside from the “warm welcome”, what does the message really want to imply? That Batangas is the only province of the brave? And what does that say of the other provinces? You see, there are many ways to promote provincial or regional pride without overdoing it or putting others down. Regionalism is not only anti-nationalist but anti-Filipino as well. We have to remember (and treasure) that the concept of the Filipino is what united our once divided and warring ethnolinguistic groups.

Other than the parochial message, this arch is a total waste of tax payer’s money. As if the arch behind it is not enough (they could’ve just added the name Batangas with that of Nasugbú).


4 responses »

  1. Ronan Paul d'Ayot y Bulahan

    Ultranationalist is a term used by those Ethnolinguistic Nations (Ethnic Groups) who sees the superiority complex of those who impose hegemonolly their Tagalog’s Language, Culture, Literature, Arts and Music, Tradition, to all NONE Tagalog-Ethnic Filipinos, specially the way they want none-Tagalogs to accept that to be a real Filipino ‘Citizen’ is vow down and suck down their throat the Supremacy of its language and the primacy of its culture.

    We can see many Tagalogists out there who will accuse NON-Tagalog Ethnic Filipinos for Anti-Filipino, Anti-Nationalism and Unpatriotic for ‘just’ loving and the pride for their own respective distinct language, culture and tradition.
    They think that Filipino Culture is evolve around the Tagalog Culture and its language.
    They think to be Filipino is to speak Tagalog.
    They think to know Filipino Cultura is to know the Tagalog culture.
    They have forgotten that the Filipino People is NOT a Homogenous People but comprises of multi-racial or multi-Ethnolinguistic Nations or Ethnicities.

    I am NOT a Tagalog Ethnic Filipino and I have experienced this scenario and I’ve been in this situation for long time and facing discrimination from Tagalogist-Imperialist-Ultranationalist for not speaking Tagalog and for speaking my own mother tongue (my sariling úica). They even branded me as regionalistic, anti-Filipino, unpatriotic. I must speak Tagalog guised filipino at all times to be a real Filipino. Lol haller!
    They think “Filipino” is a Racial Term or an Ethnicity. They became blinded by that super imposed ideology of their and forgetting the real essence of that term ‘Filipino’ is actually the “Common Sense of our National Identity” or Nationality or Citizenshil as a Filipino living and a Citizen of the Republic of the Filipinas.

    Lastly, today, when you mean Filipino is to be Tagalog or Tagalog=Filipino.

    No offense . . My self-expression is NOT about Hatred towards Tagalog as a language nor as an Ethnolinguistic Nation (Ethnic Group).


    Nombre: Ar. Ronan Paul d’Ayot y Bulahan
    Ciudadanía: Filipino
    Ethnicity: Zamboangueño
    Lengua Materna (Sarilíñg Úica): Zamboangueño Chavacano
    Segunda Lengua: Inglés, Castellano, Tagalo
    Tercer Lengua: Hindi, Árabe, Cebuano, Ylongo, Suluanon Tausug.


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