I have really enjoyed the World Cup. The football is one aspect of the spectacle but another part is watching the different fans and the passion shown for the countries they are supporting. From the national anthem through to the mass wearing of national colours and the never ending noise created by the fans; national pride from the players and supporters alike have emanated from each and every match.
It has made for fantastic viewing and is a great reminder of the differences between nations; a difference that is not negative and is instead fascinating and makes the world a more interesting place. Nationalism and pride can clearly be problematic, lessons learnt from the past century echo loudly still, but nationalism is not all bad and can instead be something that is affirming and positive.
I believe that the World Cup has shown us that pride in your nation, pride in where you come from and pride of your culture is a powerful force and one that helps to create that all important understanding; the understanding of ones own identity.
Knowing where you are from, respecting the cultural identity of your family and your history is so important to understanding yourself as a person and especially the values you wish to hold and instil in your children.
I have found the pride shown by the fans and players in this World Cup incredibly refreshing. More often than not we are told that nationalism is a bad thing, that it is synonymous with racism and the "far right". Rather than allow nationalism to become something that is viewed as racist I believe that this World Cup can be the catalyst for it to be viewed as something very positive and something that instead of being viewed as racist instead makes a mockery of racism. As you can see in the majority of teams from their style of play, to the colours of their strip, the logos on their shirts and the languages spoken; it is culture rather than race that separates people. The idea that people are different as a result of their race is frankly risible and one that this World Cup has made a mockery of; thankfully people are great deal more interesting and are defined by a great deal more than their race.
In the desire to be progressive I believe that there has been a recent and significant failing to recognise the benefits of difference. The joy of people having different tastes and beliefs. The difference in human beings has nothing to do with race and is all to do with culture. Accepting the difference in cultures, values and beliefs between people rather than pretending we are all the same will make for far better and less fractious World.