A Plea for Love not Hate
I wasn’t going to blog about Brexit, I’ve written “political” posts on this blog before and received abusive comments in return, and it’s not nice, but I can’t not say anything.
When I woke up on Friday morning, at 3am UK time (6am Mauritius time), Remain was leading. Just. And through the course of my morning I watched as it became apparent that Leave would win.
I was devastated. Absolutely gutted.
My marriage and my family came about thanks to the EU.
As a Modern Language student the third year of my degree saw me living in Nice, France and Murcia, Spain as an Erasmus student.
A whole new world opened up before my eyes, which led me to leaving the UK post-graduation, and to moving to Nice, to live and work.
Thanks to the EU, I didn’t have to worry about visas or work permits. I made a decision to live in Nice and going through with it was a fairly simple process.
During my 12 years in France I met and married my best friend, soul mate and man of my dreams. A Frenchman, who I met in a bar in Nice one night.
My non-French-speaking English family embraced him as their own, as did his non-English-speaking French family with me.
Our nationalities, passports, languages, cultures and roots weren’t an issue or a question.
As Friday morning wore on and it became evident that the Leave vote had won I felt something akin to grief.
Grief for the world I had once known.
Grief that my kids and my friends’ kids won’t know this incredible world where Europe is so open to us to live and work.
But as devastated as I was by the vote, it doesn’t come close to how sick and disgusted I’ve felt in its aftermath.
Just to be clear, I voted Remain (in case you were in any doubt), but I have friends and family members who voted Leave. Now these are people I love and admire. They are educated people. They are not racist. If they voted Leave it’s because they had their reasons.
Sadly though, since the votes were counted it would seem that there are forces at work whose aim is to split up my country of birth. And the country that raised me.
I’ve seen such horrific arguments between Remain supporters and Brexiters online. With personal insults flying, and more swear words than even I can usually manage (and that’s saying something).
Then today I saw a video of a policeman, stopping in the middle of the Pride Parade in London yesterday to propose to his boyfriend.
It was so beautiful. And yes I cried.
I loved the tolerance, the acceptance, the love.
So my message to you is this one.
Love and forgive those that voted differently to you. Understand that they will have voted that way for their own reasons, talk to them about it, be open to healthy debate but walk away if it gets to insult-slinging. No matter how upset you may be about the result.
When you see racism and xenophobia, stand up to it (obviously if you can without putting yourself in danger!). I am disgusted to be seeing and hearing about attacks on Poles, non-whites (“Pakis go back”, yes because Pakistan is in the EU….!!!), Muslims and more.
I have never experienced such outright racism in the UK, not even when I was growing up in the 80s and we were far less tolerant or PC than in recent time. The messages on social media and on t-shirts saying “We won. Go back to where you came from!” and variations on this theme have shocked me to the core, as has the seeming green light that some elements of the referendum campaign has given to be openly vocal on this subject.
So please can we try and love, not hate?
Walk away from the shit storm of “discussions” on social media. Healthy debate? Why not? But the “this isn’t surprising coming from you” and far worse? No. Step away from the keyboard and decide if you would say that to your parent/sibling/friend/other to their face, and even if you think you would, be the bigger person, and walk away.
I can’t begin to predict what will or won’t happen in the UK and in the EU, and to be honest I don’t think anyone really can. Do what you need to do for you at this difficult time for our country, but do it with love, kindness and forgiveness.
Love not Hate. After all would you let your kids get away with this behaviour?
Disclosure: Yes, I no longer live in the UK, but I did up until a few months ago, most of my friends and family live there, I am British, as are my children, so this does affect me and my family.
Last but not least – feel free to share opposing views to me in the comments below, but any comments of hatred or attack will be deleted, you will be blocked from commenting here and karma will get you for not being nice to your fellow human 😛