It feels very hard to write anything post-referendum. I’ve been reading Lionel Shiver’s The Mandibles and she writes about “where-were-you-when” moments a lot – Friday morning really felt like one of those moments.
As someone who works in the arts, I find this an absolutely heartbreaking decision for our country to have taken, but it’s also painful more personally as well. I wrote a piece for BookBrunch today on Brexit and the future of literature funding and one of the translators I interviewed for it, Jen Calleja, said: “It feels like the UK has announced that being English and being European, or being English but part something else, is incompatible.”
That is exactly my experience these last few days, of having a whole side of my identity forcibly taken away from me. I know other people who are feeling the same – Europeans who live in the UK and people from the UK who count themselves as Europeans. Sending so much love and solidarity to you all.
I’ve never felt the need to apologise for my country so acutely as I have in the last few days. There’s been even more nastiness coming out post-referendum than there was before, a lot of it race-related. I am so deeply ashamed and upset about this that I can’t really begin. But we can stop this. If you see racist behaviour going on, report it to the police. It isn’t ok, and we shouldn’t let it pass.
Nigel Farage said the fight wouldn’t be over for him after a 48/52% split, so it shouldn’t be over for us either. Whether or not we remain in the EU, we can fight for inclusion and understanding, and destroy the politics of hatred that seem to have taken us over. THIS IS NOT THE END.
NB: This post is copied from my Facebook page. There, and on my Twitter feed, you’ll find more of my day-to-day views and opinions about what’s going on in the world. This just felt too big not to blog about.