The love of country

The FIFA World Cup currently being played on the soil of our mighty neighbour Brazil has, as expected, captured the hearts and souls of avid sports fans, and the interest of even the most casual viewer. It has been nigh impossible to this point for the critics to find anything seriously wrong with the organisation and spirit of this mega event.
It must be agreed that the 11 billion dollars spent on the occasion has been a major talking point, and something that has been a great source of concern to the populace, who had been given assurances that a number of urban mobility projects would have been undertaken. The fact is that these have either been delayed or have not materialized.
This was the case because all of the stadiums went considerably over budget. And so it is with ventures of this nature. The host country will exceed all limitations to present a memorable image for the world stage. Brazil has succeeded in doing so thus far. The fallout will be dealt with when the dust has cleared.
Amidst all the frenzied activity that we have been witnessing, there has been one aspect that has undoubtedly registered with those who observe keenly; the fervour associated with representing and supporting one’s country.
It would be hard to find supporters to match the intensity of those in attendance in Brazil. The singing of the national anthems of the respective teams has been something to behold. The Chileans are hard to match. Their intensity is breath-taking. Despite Brazilians obviously having the numbers, and their renditions being hair-raising, there has been something special about the Chilean supporters and players. They have outdone the competition in this regard.
This Saturday’s mouth-watering round of 16 clash between the two South American neighbours will be like no other with respect to the introductory elements. It should not be missed.
But as we watch and admire, we cannot help but spare a thought for our own homeland. Several generations may not see us represented at the World Cup, however one could say from the little exposure that we have had at international sporting events, we somehow have not seemed to express such enthusiasm when our beautiful national anthem is being played or sung.
And that even goes for national events. Flag-raising ceremonies et al. It’s not even about singing in some cases. Many of our national leaders don’t appear to have any interest in knowing the words.
One may ask the importance of this, and the responses may not be convincing enough to those who have other things on their minds, like making money to last several lifetimes, or just being plain selfish. But there is something deeper. Particularly for a people who have experienced so much strife and unease, there may lie some degree of comfort and impetus for betterment, if we embrace that uninhibited love for one’s nation could, if not should, be the catalyst for a more progressive existence.
Our country has been divided for way too long. There is too much distrust and self-interest. The politicians who feature on our television screens have their own agendas. One wonders if simple things like lusty and heartfelt singing of national anthems at the World Cup would ever attract their interest.
These observations, though relatively simplistic, are eye-openers. It’s not always about money. Because as we have witnessed with those in charge of our coffers, we are too soon parted with even the little that we have.
Patriotism, nationalism, whatever you may want to refer to it as, there is a fulfillment from pride of country which transcends all pettiness – the source of Guyana’s underdevelopment. Our hard-working teachers can probably start the ball rolling, so to speak, by even more enthusiastically promoting to the impressionable among us – our children – the virtues of not only being Guyanese, but simply loving Guyana.