One of the advantages of studying nationalism is that you can observe an event in everyday life and relate it to the things you study academically. What I have just encountered on Facebook is really interesting because of the things we have just talked in the class. I have just got an “invitation” to an event on Facebook and when I opened the link to see what it is, I saw that it’s an invitation to all “Turkish people” (Turkish in quotation marks because what being “Turkish” means for them is really different than my understanding of being Turkish) to wave their flags on 29th of October, which is the biggest national holiday in Turkey because it’s the day on which the Republic was founded. I read some of the comments on the “wall” of the event and saw some things like “everybody who has at least a bit of a Turkish blood should wave the flag”, or “people who don’t wave the flag should be ashamed of themselves”. Somebody even wrote something like “I wave my flag everyday anyway, I don’t need a 29th of October”.
After reading these comments, I posted my own question of what would happen if people don’t wave the flag on that day. Could there be some kind of a conflict between people who wave the flag and those who don’t? Given the polarity of people in Turkey, I fear something might happen. Kurds, who already feel isolated and excluded from the society, might be attacked because they don’t wave the Turkish flag in their house. I think about the Nations and Nationalism lecture on Monday and the popularity of wave flagging in the US, and I don’t think such a conflict would emerge there but why is this so much important to wave the flag? Do people have to prove that they love their country by populist means such as waving the flag? One of the things I’ve liked about UK since I came here is the the very few numbers of flags I’ve seen around. In Turkey, you would see the flag in almost every institution, in the schools, in the universities etc. Does that mean that people in the UK don’t love their country as much as Turkish or Americans? I don’t think so.