Reader’s Letter: The purpose of nation building

POSTED: 08/3/11 1:12 PM

Dear Editor,

Nation-building refers to the process of constructing or structuring a national identity (Native St. Maarten identity or people of St. Maarten heritage) using the power of the state. That power of the state is recognition of the native people of that country.  This process aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. Nation-building can involve the use of propaganda or major infrastructure development to foster social harmony and economic growth.

Originally, nation-building referred to the efforts of newly-independent nations, notably the nations of Africa, to reshape colonial territories that had been carved out by colonial powers without regard to ethnic or other boundaries. These reformed states would then become viable and coherent national entities. The word ethnic means relating to orcharacteristic of a human group having racial, religious, linguistic, and certain other traitsin common or in other words identity or Heritage. For example people of St. Maarten heritage and culture.

First, it’s better if the nation is united with a strong national identity. It hurts if the country is torn into factions (e.g., among ethnic groups). In order for all groups to be proud of their heritage they must agree that the official identity must be of people of St. Maarten Heritage and that it must be officially recognized in the constitution. All people that truly love St. Maarten want a comfortable and happy life. In the case of native, born here and naturalized people in St. Maarten it is a sum of two things, personal happiness and better environment.

Personal happiness can be obtained in a variety of ways. Basically one becomes happy when one is contented or at peace with oneself. We will talk about how to become happy and contented later on. Environmental improvement is what I call nation building. It is the enabling environment that makes you feel happy to live in, work in and just be a part of it. This environmental happiness also gives us a sense of belonging, makes us feel proud of our surroundings and gives us a sense of ownership.

If we create a happy environment for our work and living then we will make this country a great place to live. Each one of us should therefore work towards improving our immediate environment so that it becomes nice and cheerful. Then we will be genuinely proud to be a part of it. And just like all who come here want to fit in and be a part of the island, the people of St. Maarten heritage want this even more so. That is why coming together only can happen when point of origin is acknowledged and that which was there from the beginning is recognized.

To understand the concept of nation-building, one needs to have some definition of what a nation is. Early conceptions of nation defined it as a group or race of people who shared history, traditions, and culture, sometimes religion, and usually language. The people of a nation generally share a common national identity and part of nation-building is the building of that common identity. Some distinguish between an ethnic nation, based in (the social construction of) race or ethnicity, and a civic nation, based in common identity and loyalty to a set of political ideas and institutions, and the linkage of citizenship to nationality.

In conclusion, nation building in St. Maarten must compliment and be beneficial to people of St. Maarten Heritage while leaving room to include those who want to be included, understand where loyalty should be and recognize the origin of who is St. Maarten. Only when a nation is built in the right and justified manner can it last. Failure not to recognize people of St. Maarten heritage in the constitution will lead to catastrophic social problems. It is simple; once people of St. Maarten are recognized we all move and live happily together.

The question, Mr. Editor, is why some people will not want to recognize originality when it is a norm everywhere. If people who say they love St. Maarten truly love St. Maarten they will be more than glad to do that and let the country move on peacefully. For that is the whole purpose of nation building. Remember we do not include to be excluded. I will love this country until I die and it is worth fighting for it to do justice to our native St. Maarten people of heritage and all others who come here.

Yours truly,

Miguel Arrindell 

The Patriot 


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Comments (1)


  1. Ebere peace says:

    My contribution is that nation building promotes togetherness, peace, stability and democracy in a state.