Before the EU-Referendum in the UK I used to joke that, for me personally, it wouldn’t be too bad at all if the majority of UK-citizen really would go insane and voted to leave. The EU had 27 member states in 2012 when I began to study European Studies and now we’re back to that number just before I write my last B.A. exam on EU-integration in a fortnight. Nothing has changed, I’m safe to pass.
I woke up this morning at 6 am, and here it was: in a very close election 52% of UK citizen voted for the Brexit, the bogey that had paralysed Europe for the last months. So this happened and I’m here like: “this must be all a bloody bad joke, British humour at its worst, is it?” I never experienced the turn-out of an election as such a surreal happening. But it’s not a joke and neither are the reactions in the financial and the political world. I’m trying to be rational about this, because it’s not my country and obviously it does not long to be united with me, a German, but I fail. And instead I’m both upset and angry.
I’m upset, because never has a foreign national election felt to be more significant to me, never felt closer. And it was close, since the result in a way affect me directly as I’m very passionate about the EU. But there was nothing much I could do. I feel upset about too many people being short-sighted, ignorant and xenophobic. About people who don’t want to believe facts about their holy British Empire, but instead blame bad National Healthcare System and migration on the EU. At the latest with the assassination of Jo Cox just a few days ago I knew that nothing good could result from this referendum and I am devastated by how demented people can get over their imperialist, nationalist and racist mind set (not just in the case of the UK, obviously).
But most of all I’m very upset for the other half, for all the youth who participated with a pro-European mindset in the election: For my dear friends from the UK all over Europe, for the powerful people of my generation, for the visionaries. For all of them who woke up this morning to suddenly not being an EU-citizen anymore, to realizing that part of their identity got stolen overnight. I’ve witnessed how they fought and campaigned, but in the end the ignorance and the egotism won. That is by far the most disappointing things of all.
And then, more than anything else, I’m angry. I’m hardly able to being rational right now, but I’ll try. My anger roots in the history. And in that case, again, I’m not particularly mad at the UK, but at all national governments, politicians and movements who thought it’d be an easy trick to blame the EU for everything and all. And people let themselves being tricked. They hop on to the train just like that and turn into a frustrated, unsatisfied, dangerous mob, claiming to be “scared”, but after all being mostly ignorant or too lazy to make up their minds. And the states just rolled with that, and still do. Egotism no matter from what angle you look. Sure, there is a huge democratic deficit in the EU, but it comes also from the fact that the EU is some kind of hybrid somewhere in between a supranational and intergovernmental system. Neither side is satisfied and cannot be. But, as a matter of fact this means that governments and national representatives are the key actor in EU legislation. Get that into your heads, people, please for the sake of our future: what’s going wrong in our countries is not the EU’s fault. It’s a matter of wrong construction of all our political systems, of increasing inequality and of, again, ignorance and egotism. Voting to leave the EU doesn’t change a tiny little bit here. And, honestly, I wish for the UK to notice that, soon; to not get any special treatment and to – and that’s the part where I cannot be rational at the moment – suffer from the betrayal of our dear European community. Then at the same time I don’t want that to happen, because of the 48% very decent European UK citizen who do value the EU for what it brought and brings and could potentially bring in the future if we wouldn’t let it implode.
I’m angry, because as I made clear, opting out (again, but now for real), doesn’t change a thing. What would change Europe is a future-oriented, open-minded and inclusive model. But that’s not easy to get. It needs united power and it needs united energies. It needs critics and worries and anger. But it does not need xenophobia, nationalism and populism. What year is it again? We need to fight for Europe, not against. And fights for Europe also include national fights. For equality, for social welfare and health care and for successful integration and everything else. But why don’t give it a European touch? Why don’t share the things that are important for you with others, all over the place?
Sometimes I come to think that, yes maybe, people who really fell through all educational and social structures are angry and scared and don’t know any better. Life’s not been fair with them. But who drives me nuts, to say nicely, is the elite of populists and modern fascists who studied, who travelled and who has lived through all the privileges of a life in EU-Europe. And still they dare to turn against everything which has made their life as it is. Mostly, their privilege to be European, living in freedom, peace and, decreasing, equality.
Lately I’m thinking that I’m a visionary more than I’m an optimist, because life is cruel and the world a wicked place, so optimism for tomorrow is by far more difficult than visions for an undefined future. Still, I love to see potential. Potential is one of the most beautiful things in this world, because it hides in so many places. And there is so much potential in the EU. So, in line with many fellow Europeans who speak out today, I hope that this anger and disappointment about the outcome of the referendum will turn into activism, into visions and into reforms. I want to observe a clear stand showing that the EU will not be blackmailed by further countries urging to exit, but instead takes clear, pro-European positions. Of all the things with potential a crisis probably has the most of it. And the European crisis just peaked, once again. So, let’s have the Britons do their thing – and focus on the European project.
Morgengrauen… Can’t translate that. It literally translates to „dawn“ while consisting of the words „morning“ and “horror”