Patriotism, Some Questions



I open my mailbox to find a book sized program for ‘America’s Freedom Festival”. I smiled and wondered what we are really celebrating. We call it freedom, and we raise a flag and sing songs, but what is patriotism?

Many of our songs promote the idea of patriotism, the brotherhood of our country. I thought of the words from Peruano by Pisko,

Todas las sangres, en una sola, todo el océano Pacífico hacia ti en una ola,

2,900 antes de Cristo, en Caral habían pirámides que tú hasta hoy no has visto.

Desde mi cordillera hasta el espacio sideral, construimos el Imperio multicultural,

las Líneas de Nazca y en Cusco la ciudad, que hoy es patrimonio de toda la humanidad

All the blood, in one, all the Pacific Ocean towards you in a wave, 2,900 BC, there were pyramids in Caral that you have not seen to this day. From my mountain range to outer space, we built the multicultural Empire, The Lines of Nazca and in Cusco the city, that today is patrimony of all the humanity

And how similar were the sentiments to songs sung in the United States.

This is my country! Land of my birth!
Thisis my country! Grandest on earth!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country to have and to hold.

But what does it mean to be patriotic?  Is it being superior?

“We are free, entrepreneurs in cooking, superior beings,” as it says in Pisko’s song.

Or does it include a feeling of brotherhood, like the song Contigo Peru by Arturo Zambo Cavero y don Oscar Aviles

Unida la costa

Unida la sierra

Unida la selva

Contigo Perú

Unido el trabajo

Unido el deporte

Unidos el norte, el centro y el sur

A triunfar peruanos

Que somos hermanos

Que sea la victoria nuestra gran gratitud

Yo si puedo darte mi vida

Y si yo muriera

Tendría la dicha de unirme en la tierra contigo

contigo Perú

ojala pudiera darte mi vida

y cuando yo muera unirme en la tierra

contigo Perú


United north, center and south

To triumph Peruvians

We are brothers

May victory be our great gratitude

I can give you my life

And if I died

I would have the joy of joining in the earth with you.

With you Peru

I wish I could give you my life

And when I die joining the earth

With you Peru


Is patriotism a unity or an ignorance of difference?  Does it draw us closer together or cause a blindness to the many cultures that make up the whole of a country?

Altavoz observes When “José María Arguedas wrote his All bloods he is clearly not thinking of a cultural fusion, but rather in an irresolute tension that is what is not shown in the video. And that’s why it sounds false, superficial, made up”


Is patriotism ‘all the blood’ mixed and rising up, as when Peru plays an opposing soccer team, or does it include all the different people who play on different teams that will never play in the World Cup?  Is patriotism forgetting who we are to forge a new identity of solidarity with others who do not have that much in common with ourselves, other than the place that they live?  

The community that creates us is also the one that defeats us.  That is the sentiment in the phrase “the worst enemy of a Peruvian is another Peruvian” which was an advertising campaign in Lima.  If we are our own worst enemies, how can we be best friends, how can we claim patriotism if we are not joined to help and love each other?

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