Brexit – A Broken Britain, A Broken Heart
I woke up on Friday morning with BBC News flashing on my phone. That was it. Great Britain had decided that it was leaving the EU. Two days later, I still cannot process the feelings and emotions that are rife within me. I was travelling into central London yesterday, and extemporaneously started to cry. I am scared. I don’t know what the future of the UK holds for me.
I’ve been privileged by the EU - I attended Falmouth University, graduating from the BA (Hons) Dance and Choreography course. Falmouth as a University is highly dependent on EU funding, with over £100 million being invested into the University and Cornwall’s higher education facilities. In my third year at Falmouth, I participated in an Erasmus exchange programme, which funded me to go abroad to train in Croatia for four months. Whilst I was there, I not only trained with some of the most incredibly talented dancers and artists at the Academy of Dramatic Arts (University of Zagreb), but also had the priceless experience of working with BADco. – a performing arts company (also based in the capital city of Croatia). Through participating in this exchange programme, I have now been lucky enough to set up an internship with BADco. as a postgraduate, whilst being funded by the Traineeship Erasmus programme. Of course, Brexit won’t actually come into play for at least one or two years, but I’m thinking of my Falmouth peers. Are they going to be deprived of an experience like mine? One that is so valuable to life experiences and one that has projected my life into a completely different pathway.
I’m thinking with my artist perspective, my friends and colleagues who are freelancers – travelling across Europe constantly - to work and to share their work - it’s not just important for them individually (to survive), but important for the places where the work is shared. Art brings so much to Europe. People from outside of the UK bring so much to our country, likewise people from the UK contribute to other countries in Europe. And not just art – many of my teachers, doctors, colleagues are from outside of the UK. For me the only way I see the world moving forward is if we share and co-operate.
I feel scared now. Things that I’ve seen on the news, overheard whilst walking down the streets of London have truly scared me. A man on the news yesterday claimed he voted out because he wanted “to stop Afghanistanis, Iraqis and Syrians from coming over here.” I couldn’t believe what I heard. Had he truly believed that voting out of the EU would stop innocent civilians fleeing from their war-torn countries (that aren’t even in the EU) - which our government had decided we would bomb, by the way?! How much scaremongering and xenophobia has gone on in the leave campaign? I’ve had family members (put short) tell me that it’s not about racism, but they simply don’t want more people coming to our country taking up our homes and resources. My heart shrivels up a little inside when I hear talk like this. Most of the friends I grew up with and many that I am friends with now, are children or grandchildren of immigrants. Some of my friends are immigrants. I am a descendant of immigrants. I’ve never in my life thought of these people any differently - that they didn’t deserve a home, a job, a place to call their own – just because they were from another country. In fact, I’m about to become an immigrant myself - I’m moving to Croatia in a few months time.
And although this is a huge disappointment and shock to the system for those, who like me voted to remain – we need to remember the reasons why we chose to do so. By continuing the behaviours and beliefs we have of the EU and the unity of the world, we can prevail over the hatred and xenophobia that seems to be arising in the UK at this moment in time. Remember that hate only breeds more hate, and love with always win. We have left the EU, and now it’s our opportunity to make sure that the hate does not win.