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What makes up a country, a nation? People of course! And so, would a real patriot put his/her “personal right” (i.e. to not wear a mask or not be vaccinated against Covid) ahead of his/her fellow citizens; ahead of the general welfare of the country? Of course not! A real patriot stands up for the well-being of the people.

Freedom is a paradoxical concept. If I truly believe in personal rights and freedom, then I have to believe in freedom for everyone, not just for myself. So, paradoxically, there are times when I need to voluntarily put limits on my actions to prevent taking away the rights and freedom of others.

Being a good patriot is no different than being a good parent, teacher, friend or employer. It is a two-sided coin. On the one hand, a patriot is willing to risk life and limb in defense of the country, of the people. On the other hand, and this can take even more courage, a real patriot speaks out when the country/friend, child, etc., is in the wrong; when, for example, the government strays from its founding principles and commitment to human rights.

Speaking out against injustice can make life very difficult. Many people will hate, and even kill, those who stand up for human rights. True patriotism is not easy — it isn’t for blind followers. It is for those who base their beliefs and decisions on facts and truth and then stand up for the country — the good of the people.

Peter Husby

Belgrade

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