All Cameroonians claim to be patriotic but not all do the things they need to do to prove their love for the nation. This state of affairs calls for much reflection on the whole issue of patriotism. Who is patriotic and who is not are the arguments people often raised especially when they want to justify or disqualify certain actions. That notwithstanding, is it really difficult to know who is patriotic and who is not? The Head of State in his speech at the Unity Palace during the ceremony to receive the Indomitable Lions following their brilliant victory at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon stated in no mincing words the high level of patriotism of the boys. “You love your country and are ready to sacrifice for it….You did not hesitate to heed the call to the colours.”
In effect, there are several signs that translate the citizen’s love for his fatherland. Patriotism is conventionally known to be an attachment to a homeland. This attachment can be viewed in terms of different features relating to one's own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to those of nationalism. The level of someone’s determination to do a thing in order to defend the interest of his nation translates patriotism. The Lions may not have been the best team on the field but they were surely the best in sacrificing for their nation. Those who watched the matches “in between the lines” must have “seen” the blood of love for the nation flowing in the veins of the players. That is why President Paul Biya likened them to the bravery of the soldiers who “each day at our borders are ready for the supreme sacrifice to defend our fatherland.”
Patriotism is not decreed. A real patriot loves his country. He is proud to talk about his country wherever he goes. He does the things that are necessary to enhance the image of his country. A patriotic Cameroonian does not need to remind people about his love for the nation. A Cameroonian that is patriotic gets sick on actions that can damage the esteem he has for his fatherland. On several occasions during international events such as the AFCON that just ended in Gabon, one would see people shed tears when the Anthem of their country is being sung. Any citizen who is guilty of corruption does not love his country. Anyone who swindles or mismanages State property on the pretext that it is “government property” cannot stand where patriotic citizens are. Patriotism is symbolised by the honour for State symbols (excuse me for the tautology); respect for the flag, for the National Anthem, State institutions, and the constitution of the country among others.
Many people behave as if the love for the country is the responsibility of others. Patriotism is not a thing of the politician alone. It is not because politicians remind people about patriotism that necessary make them more patriotic. Politicians who for instance do the things that go against the will and wish of the population cannot say they love their country. In the same vein, people who are involved in indecent acts such as littering the streets, urinating carelessly in public places and cheating for personal gains do not like their country. From every indication, the whole idea of patriotism is the responsibility of everyone. The indomitable Lions have set a good example which should be emulated by the rest of the Cameroonian people.
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