I really feel that the Bedouin proverb, “I against my brother, me and my brother against my cousin, us three against the foreigner” illustrates the idea of nationalism. That is, the individual is most important; however differences will be put aside in order to fight the larger threat of the foreigner. This concept reminds me of Marx’s idea of class consciousness in that the proletariat is competing against each other and cannot join together to fight the bourgeoisie as the common enemy.
It is how in America, individuals are competing against each other in the job; however most everyone disapproves of outsourcing jobs and illegal immigrants in the sense that “they took our jobs”. It is that a foreign threat encourages nationalism in that individuals will come together in order to secure their individual role in society.
A common language is important to foster nationalism; however, it is not required. Language can create an identity for a specific area as well as making communication easier among inhabitants. For instance, in America there is no national language; and we are the least bilingual country in that most Americans only speak English. Concerns are raised with Spanish gaining popularity and Ebonics being taught in schools as a foreign language. So although problems arise in now having a national language it is still possible for a nation to not have one and still function.