I was going to do a post yesterday, St. Patrick’s Day, as the grid is awash with green at this time of year. We’ve covered St.Patrick’s Day ourselves before, but I decided I’d give it a miss this year, as there’s nothing more disturbing, in 2017, than any display of nationalism, an ideology I loathe. Wrapping yourselves in a flag, any flag, in 2017???? Please, people, stop and think.
Why would you want to identify with one nation, even the one you were born in?
The Brexit vote in the UK has re-awakened a creepy nationalist fervour (amongst some) here in Scotland, and also -with some relevance to St. Patrick’s Day- opened up the same debate in Ireland, as Northern Ireland, a region of the UK, voted to Remain in the EU, ergo -it’s time for a ‘border poll’ about reunifying the two parts of Ireland into one.
Irish politics are complex, and the variety of opinions I heard last weekend in Dublin demonstrated, to me, that it’s not something any of us can delve into with any degree of certainty or knowledge, unless we’re actually Irish. Even then…
Clothes…flags…face paints…that nail our colours to a mast of national identification? No, not for me, thanks. It shouldn’t be for you either.
This got me thinking about the way we dress ourselves up in clothes and flags to identify with an extremely narrow definition of our humanity. My accent is one of southern England, enough of an identifier for me to have endured some low-level ‘racism’ from die-hard Scots. I am a ‘sassenach‘, an ‘enemy’. Because I’m perceived as ‘English’, rather than the (by accident of geography) English-born mother of three Scottish children, two of whom (the youngest is too young to understand) identify with Scottish culture and traditions. Die-hard Scots, wrapping themselves in a saltire, narrow their world-view when they drape a bit of cloth around their shoulders. All nationalists do the same thing.
What’s so ‘great’ about being Scottish anyway? Or English? Or Irish? Or American? Or German? Or from anywhere else?
Naturism is sometimes spoken of as being ‘a great leveller’. Again and again, people will comment on how other ‘badges’ of status are removed. The Judge or Doctor is seen on terms of his or her naked humanity, rather than the powerful lawman in a robe, or powerful physician with a white coat and stethoscope. This is a very true representation of naturism. We just become people, when stripped of our clothes. We naturists talk to one another on that basis. We don’t judge each other on terms of our professions. Perhaps the same should be applied to those wrapping themselves in flags, literally or figuratively. Of course naturists celebrate aspects of national culture. I know at least three naturist locations which will have held St. Patrick’s parties yesterday, but this is more an opportunity for mutual understanding rather than division. The food will be of an Irish flavour -stew, colcannon, Guinness- and was probably attended by as many English (or Scots) naturists as Irish ones. It’s a cultural understanding, rather than a flag-waving one. In a month’s time (April 23rd) there will be an equally English orientated naturist party, with the emphasis on roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, perhaps some folk song and so on. Flags may be in evidence, but no one is wearing one. In June, the British and Irish ex-pats will join their Spanish friends for festivals that celebrate some uniquely Spanish traditions. Once again, flags may be in evidence, for colour more than anything else, but no one will be wearing one. Stripped of clothing, we all look the same, and in a sense our religion, our nationality, can be identified as naturist as opposed to that of some man-made, dreamt up border. The man made, dreamt up borders of the mind.
When it comes to ‘the wearing of the green’, for us naturists that means wrapping ourselves not in a flag, but in the wonderful colours of nature.
Irish avatar Caireann finds herself ‘wearing the green’ in the natural surroundings of SL