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Patriots by the volcano


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El Diario Montañés, Diario de Navarra

Gerardo Castillo Ceballos

Professor School of Education and Psychology

The electronic revolution has made it possible to overcome two barriers that hindered interhuman communication: time and space. We used to live in a world built from our home; now we live in many places and times. The big world has become for us a global village, a term coined by the Canadian sociologist Marshall McLuhan.

This process has broken down the borders between countries, opening up a new space where we all meet and coexist, in a conjunction of cultures. But with globalization there are concepts that have lost their validity, among them patriotism. To this must be added that, for some, patriotism represents a terrible legacy of the 19th and 20th centuries. This criticism stems from confusing patriotism with exclusionary nationalism, which leads to a political vision of history instead of a historical vision of politics.

The ancients considered patriotism a virtue that they integrated together with piety towards parents. These two human virtues are necessary to counteract the individualism of some postmodern currents. Being a good son must go hand in hand with being a patriot. The virtue of patriotism must be vindicated and cultivated, since it brings many material and spiritual goods, not so much to individuals as to human communities.

At a time when patriotism is not valued because it is considered an outdated conventionalism, the attitude of the inhabitants of the lands near the volcano of La Palma is an injection of optimism .

The palmeros, who as a result of the impressive eruption of the volcano have lost their house and their plantation, leaving them with nothing, are understandably devastated. After many years of effort, sacrifice and savings to have a livelihood and a roof over their heads, they have lost everything in a few hours. They have to start all over again, but without knowing how or where. This tragedy has aroused the compassion of everyone who knows about it. This status of unexpected material poverty is impressive. But the declarations of many victims reveal another poverty, that of subject immaterial.

What hurts the Palmeros most is the disappearance of the land of their parents and grandparents. They are not satisfied with finding a home elsewhere; they long to return to the place where they were born, next to the volcano. This desire has not only not been understood, but has been described as madness. They respond that their ancestors also suffered the ravages of the volcano, but they did not leave and started over. Those lands are more than just land, they are feeling, history, culture, life in common, tradition, blood ties. That is why they do not renounce to return. They say they are made of sun, lava and saltpeter. Will all that have to do with patriotism?

Patriotism is a thought and feeling that binds a person to his homeland, seen as the native land, parents, landscape, customs and history, the people with whom we usually relate and with whom we are bound by the same norms. Patriotism is love for the homeland understood as the place to which a person feels he or she belongs. These feelings are usually encouraged through numerous symbols that encourage the union of the different inhabitants and their country.

Patriotism as a virtue is cultivated above all in the family, since there is a relationship of analogy between the family and the homeland, given that the latter is an extension and complement of the former. It is fostered by talking to children about how much we have to love it for the much it has given us without deserving it; knowing and valuing the history of the homeland and its illustrious sons; highlighting the importance of the patriotic symbols, etc. It is good to explain to them that patriotism is also lived in small everyday things, such as, for example, studying, obeying parents, helping in the family home, respecting the rules of coexistence at home, at school and in the street, etc.