Messages of Farewell

It’s the day after Brexit, and I’m still feeling depressed, and angry, about the whole sorry situation. I’ve been reading messages of farewell published in today’s Guardian from my fellow Europeans, and they have put into words the emotions I am experiencing. Two writers in particular capture my feelings, as these extracts may illustrate:

Carlo Rovelli (theoretical physicist)

What breaks my heart in Britain leaving the European project is the dark message that Brexit delivers to the entire planet: every nation for itself, instead of collaborating for the common good; everybody making its own rules, instead of searching for common ground; every group competing with the others, instead of solving the common problems together.

Agnieszka Holland (film director)

Do you really believe that turning your backs on the continent will hold off ecological catastrophe, the waves of migrants, artificial intelligence, the internet revolution or women’s aspirations? Do you believe that globalisation and unfettered capitalism as conducted by China or Trump’s America will give you more affluence and sovereignty than belonging to a community of Europeans, who can achieve any kind of success only by working together, and who are at least trying their best to maintain the values of freedom, equality, fraternity, solidarity, justice and human rights; the rights of all living creatures; and responsibility for the future of the planet?

Adhering to these values is the only thing that can save humanity from sliding into an abyss of evil; we became familiar with this in the terrible 20th century, and the European Union was meant to inoculate us against the temptation to return to dark times. And for many years, together, it worked.

Aren’t you ashamed to be the first to back away from hope? Can you see an alternative? Do you really think that once we’ve broken our voluntary ties things will be just as they were before? No, they will not. So I cannot wish you all the best. I won’t say “Goodbye and good luck.” Because I’m furious with you. I really do like you – your people, landscape, gardens and moorlands; your history, culture and art; your unique British manner, even in its debased form; your humour, eccentricity and bravery. But I am sure you are making a mistake that we’re all going to pay for – you are sure to, but so are we. I am afraid everyone’s going to pay equally for the lies, cowardice and arrogance of the few.

Also in today’s Guardian is Ian McEwan’s withering summary of Brexit. Well worth reading and reflecting on.

I sincerely hope that my fellow countrymen reflect on what they have done, and that this ignominious decision will come, in time, to be reversed. It will probably take at least a generation, and I am very likely to be long dead, but we Europeans will be waiting.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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