On Thursday Tanganyika celebrated 49 years of independence from British rule. I always enjoy Independence Day because it means curling up on the sofa to make fun of the various dignitaries during the live broadcast of the national celebrations. This year was no different in that respect: I noticed that military guests of all nations like to tape the parade (intriguing), that our youth show was obviously Chinese-trained (the martial arts moves gave them away) and that the President didn't address the nation this year. Also, Maalim Seif is wearing suits now, which is really strange to see after years of CUF t-shirts and an impressive collection of flower bouquets masquerading as shirts.
I found this interesting article about patriotism. Of all the various forms of love there are, love of one's nation-state has got to be the one that demands the most imagination. And perhaps a touch of illogic, when you think about it. I got the question once by a civil servant - with the heavy implication of course that being a civil servant is the sine qua non of patriotism. It made for great debate, all things considered. TIA, buddy. There is sometimes no greater enemy of the state than those who work within.
While I don't think it's a fair question outside of wartime (ati, what have I done for my country... how do you mean it!), and I can think of a few people whose definition of "public service" is essentially criminal in nature, at the core the idea of communal endeavor is an appealing one. Some do it by joining the armed forces, pacifists do it by talking everything to death. Some start businesses, some siphon off the odd vijisenti from contracts with multinationals, some just pay their taxes and get on with life, some write.
But the real patriots, the unsung heros? That prize goes to the hardcore handful of Tanzanians who willingly drink Dodoma wine. Now that is a love that knows no fear.