Devaluing citizenship

When the concept of a nation surfaced about half a century ago in Europe, it bound people sharing blood (that is, with a genetic link) and a culture, with inter-generational continuity. The borders of such nations made sense, as tribal terrotories. There may have been a few minority peoples within these borders. The borders would be varied through aggression – by either side.

It is, of course, a great tragedy that the colonial European nations drew up borders everywhere they went on other continents, in order to define their respective spheres of influence and control. These artificial boundaries split various (previously coherent) tribes, resulting in unending post-colonial wars, both within and between these artificial nations – often associated with horrendous brutality. Minorities were always at risk. Tribalism over-rides citizenship, as ever!

Confusing citizenship based on ‘jus soli’ is citizenship that is offered or imposed by ‘jus sanguinis.’ Quite a number of nations follow the Napoleonic Code which imposes/grants citizenship to the descendants of a resident citizen, no matter where these descendants were born or now live. When imposed by a government, one would need to be aware of hither-to un-recognised obligations to the nations of one’s forebears when crossing its borders inwards. National service may be one of these obligations.

Recently, Australia enabled dual citizenship. The reasons are not clear. This devalues the mid-1980s concept of a commitment to one’s nation through citizenship. Dual citizenship enables one to fight in wars on behalf of either or both governments. Are citizenship papers now any more than travel documents? What are the advantages to a nation which permits dual citizenship to be held by its citizens?

Indeed, is citizenship becoming irrelevant?