A personal reaction – unfiltered thoughts
I have often felt part of a minority. Not for the colour of my skin or sexual orientation, just to name common ‘reasons’ for exclusion and discrimination. The minority I feel part of is a minority of beliefs: it seems like a large part of the world does not share my most basic, fundamental beliefs about humans being one and that the world is better if we work together towards a better future for all.
I felt part of a minority when my country, Italy, years ago voted for a Prime Minister (Berlusconi) that was a joke, proceeded to humiliate us in front of the world and destroyed large parts of our economy and society. I feel part of a minority when I read about campaigns and acts of terrors and about the reactions to those: that we should build walls, that we should separate ourselves from ‘others’, that we should remember that there is ‘us’ and there is ‘them’.
And, of course, I feel part of a minority today, when the UK voted to leave the EU largely on the basis of xenophobic fears and demagogic lies.
Nobody knows yet the consequences of Brexit. In my immediate vicinity I hear mentions of a land border between Ireland and the North; in a wider sphere I hear the end of the European project, two perspectives denying and positively offending anyone who has been affected by war and worked so hard towards the peace process and the building of a secure, safe European space.
My fears are, however, even greater than this. I worry about the world my kids will grow up in and inherit from us; I worry it will be xenophobic, intolerant, paranoid and divided. I worry it will be misinformed and easy to manipulate.
The leaders of the leave vote say it’s a victory of the decent people, but I refuse that. There is nothing decent about hatred, xenophobia, about building walls, many of the ‘reasons’ that sustained this vote and that had actually very little to do with the matter on the table: the advantages or disadvantages as a whole of being together, rather than alone. The people who voted ‘leave’ on anti-migrant, xenophobic grounds are not decent, they can’t claim that title for themselves and can’t take it away from people on BOTH SIDES of the debate who are empathetic and genuinely care for others and a better future. Those are the people I call decent, regardless of their vote.
Most of the British people I know, most of the people I know from all over the world are stunned and saddened by this day. This gives me hope maybe I am not part of a minority, maybe my beliefs are shared by many others and maybe hatred will not prevail. I am not hopeful yet but I know I will play my part with my daily actions and the education of my children to work towards a world that is safe and fair for all. For ALL.