15/11/2008

The patriotism of an immigrant

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s piece “You can’t force patriotism on a people” (10 November) is flawed. Loyalty to one’s country cannot be negotiable. Once you become a citizen of a country it is incumbent upon you to identify with the country. Minorities everywhere have to make a special effort to join the national mainstream.

Yasmin claims: “We will withhold that kiss if the state disappoints.” This implies that a democratically elected government should shape its policies in such a way that it never offends the minority. This is an untenable position which will do the minorities no good. This country gave thousands of refugees like me and Yasmin an opportunity to settle and prosper. That for me is enough to be a patriotic citizen.

Thousands like me feel that the time has come to stop playing the victim.

Nitin Mehta

Croydon, Surrey

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