Individuals v. nations: footballers show the way

In the globalised world, does an individual owe loyalty primarily to work place or nation? The work place is where you spend most of your time. Colleagues from all cultures and origins make a coherent whole which you identify with. But can you then still identify with your own nation, which has different values?

Modern footballers show the way. Cristiano Ronaldo plays for Real Madrid, together with other players from all over the world, but in the World Cup he joins Portugal, his home country. He identifies with a totally different group. No problem.

At the Christmas dinner of my local Slovene Association (my wife is Slovene), I met a young Slovene woman who works in Geneva for a multinational. There nobody notices she is Slovene. She is one of the team, and belongs there because of her professional qualities. The company sets her values. But at the Christmas dinner, her heart beat for Slovenia. She sat listening to folk songs and mixing with old and young people who lead quite different lives from her.  Sloveneship brought them together, just for that one evening. Next Monday we were all back in our other worlds.

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