Alfred de Zayas, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, Australia, Brussels, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Geneva, German, human rights, UN, United Nations, United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
We are who we are and ought to be comfortable with our identity, conscious of our heritage and serenely proud of the achievements of our ancestors. Just happy to exist hic et nunc. Each one of us has the faculty to extend our horizons, learn, build, evolve, modify our opinions as often as necessary — as life experience gives us greater perspective and wisdom. We should exercise the freedoms we have to ask questions, seek to understand our dynamic environment, continuously push the limits, but always in harmony with our roots and our identity. An Aborigine need not desire to be European. A Bolivian need not aspire to be Brazilian. A German need not wish to be American. Let the Aborigine be proud of being Aborigine, the African to be African, the American to be American – as long as such pride is tempered by self-criticism and respect for others. There is nothing wrong with patriotism – only with egoism, exceptionalism, chauvinism. Love of oneself and respect for one’s heritage must not to be confused with narcissism or xenophobia. On the contrary: it is a prerequisite of creativity and a foundation to love and inter-relate with others.