Random thought: Dokdo/Takeshima/Liancourt Rocks
For those of you who don't know, Dokdo/Takeshima/Liancourt Rocks is an extremely small island in the East Sea/Sea of Japan (sigh...so many naming disputes) disputed between South Korea (they call it Dokdo) and Japan (they call it Takeshima). Both sides have presented historical evidence pointing to their ownership of the territory. South Korea presents records of an island called Usando, which Japan argues isn't actually Liancourt Rocks....it goes on. Anyway. So as I was growing up, I was always told by my family that Liancourt Rocks belonged to Korea and that was that. I believed them - why would I not? They were my family, after all. However, the other day, I read an article about the dispute. Japan also raises very valid points and rebuttals to Korea's arguments. Overall, however, it seemed that no matter how both sides tried to frame their arguments, it came down to nationalism. Rather than making a conclusion from history, both sides were making history fit a conclusion. This isn't a trivial dispute, either - a Korean woman and her son even cut off their fingers in protest of Japanese claims to the island.
All this for a collection of rocks.
Will we ever know for sure whose it was to begin with? Maybe. Would the losing side acknowledge the fact? Doubtful. From how I see this situation, it seems to have very little to do with the island itself; rather, it seems to be a symbolic dispute that both sides are exploiting to fuel nationalism.
So all this led me to think - is nationalism a beneficial or detrimental force on society and the individual? (SAT essay question much?) One doesn't choose which country one is born in, so is it justified to be proud of that country? To defend that country? To die for that country?
I have no clue.