Fatherland, nation, republic
An Italian showman that I know has come back from a long trip with some new (to him) ideas and wants me to help him write a book about them.
He says that in China, India, Iran, Russia and Japan he has learned that people think like a group and naturally (sort of) contribute to their collective (national) interest. He says that Italians are not able to do the same and that this will make losers of them.
He wants to write a book to invite Italians to restart from concepts like "patria" (fatherland) and nation. He says that we have to think "us" and not only "me"...
It's already strange that a showman wants to write about subjects more complicated than their suffering for a tragically ended story with a showgirl. But it is very strange that he wants to write a book about "fatherland" and nation in the hope that Italians will read it. There is something that I don't understand: either he thinks that Italians are changing and would not (as I expect) laugh at him and his book, or he has found some new trend and has a new tv show in his mind.
Italians have never thought to Italy as to any "fatherland". Their fatherland is their town or region. They have never had a nation either: we are by far a too much open society for that... And if it wasn't for our national soccer team we would never think about Italy as a reality.
But something is important: we need to think "us" much more than we presently do. What concept could be of use? Why not go for the best of them all: republic, the "public" thing, "our thing"... Italians are fond of their republic, even if they have tons of problems with the state and even if they keep disbelieving all other "nationish" and "fatherlandish" concepts. Yes, we could be republicans... with an Italian twist...