Friday, November 20, 2009

Uruguay's Inferiority Complex

Uruguay is headed to the Copa Mundial (Soccer World Cup) in South Africa after this Wednesday's qualifying match. The entire country was on hold as Uruguay hosted Costa Rica in the Montevideo stadium. It is quite possible there wasn't a single person NOT watching the game. If there is one thing that Uruguayans take seriously, it's futbol.

When I ask people if they are proud of their country, futbol often has its way of making itself into the conversation. I want to get a sense of the nationalism (or lack thereof?) of the Uruguayan people, but of course, individuals vary greatly, and discussions with foreigners aren't always the best way to assess one's true sentiments about his or her country. That said, speaking from my observations, Uruguay has a bit of a inferiority complex. Nobody cares about us. Our neighbors are so big. Nobody even knows where Uruguay is on the map. Maybe we aren't very important after all. It's almost as if they imagined insignificance into being. But wake up Uruguay: you are awesome! and I could go on and on about why (just look at some of the other posts on this blog).

Despite the tendency to downplay perception of self in conversation, denying great love of country and identification as a unit, we can all agree that futbol is one example of unfledgling patriotism in Uruguay. The entire nation seemed to wear celeste (light blue, color of Uruguay's soccer jerseys) in a celebration of the Uruguay's last game to qualify for the Fifa World Cup. The signs suggest that Uruguayans really do love Uruguay.

Take, for example, the national anthem sung before the game mentioned above. It was performed in the version of a murga. See it here departing from its traditional style. There has been a lot of chatter recently of either strong aproval or disapproval for this new rendition, the "himno murguera." (I like it by the way.) When you speak of symbols of one's country, people are bound to passionately involved, heavily opinionated, and vocal about their convictions. All signs point to a type of nationalism that can't be easily defined.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, My name is Leandro, I'm from Uruguay, but I live in Cedar Rapids, IA. I honestly have to say that when I read this post, I shed a couple of tears. I know it's cheesy, but it's true. jajaj.
    I agree with you that Uruguayans have an inferiority complex, and I think it comes from the fact that we live in the past.
    Uruguay used to be really strong economically, and when that stopped after the 1950s, we sort of gotten into a state of general depression. We live in the past, and we're scared of change.
    It's sad, because we have so much potential as a county, and we're really cool people!
    Thank you for the post! It is great!