By Alioui Abdelhakim
By Alioui Abdelhakim
Morocco World News
Meknes, January 28, 2012
Nationalism, in its first meaning, is a strong feeling of pride, loyalty, and patriotism towards one’s country. The meaning of nationalism is sometimes shaped by the mass media because the latter have a great impact on people and their behaviors. To support your national football team, for example, means that you are nationalist.
Football and nationalism here are intertwined, and it is difficult to separate between the two in this case, simply because most of the time football unifies people. In other words, football promotes nationalism among citizens, and make them live in an aura of excitement while watching it. Actually, we watched the last match of Moroccan football team against Gabon with a great enthusiasm and hope to win it, but we were frustrated at the end of the game.
In the above lines, I used the pronoun we instead of they because we believe that they- the football players- and we – all Moroccans- are the same in this context. We share the same feelings, we have the same objectives and we belong to the same country; and this is the first meaning of nationalism.
As stated earlier, this belief is shaped by the media and, of course, our Moroccan channels are part of this game. In this regard, I would like to point out that many psychological studies and researches demonstrate the impact of media on people and show media influences on pro-social and antisocial behaviors.
There are numerous examples concerning this issue. I will limit myself to the current failure of our national team, and the great frustration it caused to Moroccans inside the country and abroad. I made a quick scan before the match to the profiles of some Facebookers, since Facebook is the most visited social network on the Internet. I discovered- as I expected- that many users changed their photos on Facebook and used the one of the Moroccan team.
Many of them talked, as I did, with over enthusiasm and expected positive results. Unfortunately, Moroccan team lost the match. I returned back to Facebook to evaluate their comments after the match, and I found reactions totally different from the first ones. The funniest comment I found was that of a person who was very upset. He said the cause of the failure was that forty million Moroccans are coaches; all of them are experts in football.
In one way, he was right. Many Moroccans pretend that they are expert in football, but it was not the cause behind the failure, since other factors contributed to it. His comment had a deep meaning, as it showed that most Moroccans had the same objective in that situation. This reaction of that Moroccan shows how football creates temporal nationalists and patriotic citizens.
Nationalism is what is needed in this time of upheaval in the Arab world than any other time. Many scholars talked too much about the idea of media control, as Noam Chomsky in His book “Media Control”, who believes that mass media are the effective way to control the minds of people as US does to create fear among people all over the world about the threat and the danger of Al-Qaida, and to convince Americans to accept and back the policies of their government.
The notion of nationalism is another word used by the state to control the mind of people and to unify them. The best way to unify people is through supporting public gatherings either festivals or sports. We all know that the government spends a lot of money for that purpose. I’m not against unifying people at all, but to push them to follow and be addicted to football and festivals all the time is unacceptable. I still remember a caricature of two poor Moroccan people fighting ironically about Barcelona and Real Madrid.
I dare to say that those people are not to be blamed, because their minds are shaped by the media; they are the product of their society. Hypodermic Needle Theory, besides other theories of communication, explains this idea of media impact on people clearly. “The theory suggests that the mass media could influence a very large group of people directly and uniformly by ‘shooting’ or ‘injecting’ them with appropriate messages designed to trigger a desired response”(1).
Here, I would like to say that media impact on people is inevitable and inescapable. Many countries, as Morocco, use media to disseminate massages as nationalism and patriotism among citizens. The best example is football. The government uses many slogans as “support your national team” to push people to forget about all their social, economic and political problems and live the temporal ecstasy of nationalism.
In this context, I would like to say that new Moroccan government has a great chance to make people real nationalists and patriotic citizens by offering real change in all domains under the new constitution, because what is needed is permanent nationalists, who will always do whatever they can to defend Morocco and fight for it, not temporal ones whose nationalism ends at the end of the game.
Alioui Abdelhakim is a Morocco World News’ contributor
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
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