It was a tough week at work for my wife/colleague and I. To make matters worse, I got my heart broken watching our team crash and burn out of EURO 2016. And then there’s Brexit… another current affairs thing I really don’t want to write about it, but it’s so hard to get away from it. It is just there, impossible to ignore like noisy construction work in the upstairs flat during a lazy summer afternoon.
I work mainly with British guests and business associates, and have been for most of my career. Today, they make up probably around 80% of the foreigners I deal with on yearly basis (my job revolves around foreign guests to Dubrovnik). If someone asked me to describe my relationship with British people or their culture, I would have to talk for a long time to be able to cover the whole story. It would begin with listening to my father’s Pink Floyd records back when I was still counting my age in single digits, to discovering over the years all the different British ways I still admire, or even those that I dislike. The list is long and it took a long time to make, but there is no doubt they’ve influenced me plenty. After all, I’m writing in their language, not mine. What I’m trying to say is, Ilike them. There are some wonderful things us Croatians could be adopting into our culture from the Brits (and vice versa, of course). The problem is, no one knows if the process that was set in motion a week ago will make it difficult, or even impossible to do so in the future.
Even with all my understanding and affection for the British, I would never say I feel like we are living in the same country or union of countries, even though both our nations are (still) part of the EU. This makes sense, of course. It would take much, much longer than the time that’s passed since we entered the “European family” to make it really work and you can’t blame some people for being frustrated with the whole process, if indeed they wanted it in the first place.
Personally, I like the idea of European Union. It’s a wonderful concept. One with too many pitfalls to name them all, sure, but when was there a grand idea in the history of human society that was also easy to achieve? This is a grand idea. One of unity on a continent where there never was unity. One of peace, mutual understanding, and cooperation. I like ideas like that, because I strongly believe there is more to us than what’s defined by our passports and birth certificates. It’s a bold idea that needs bold people to make it work, and what better way to describe the British? This is why this new situation makes me sad. There is so much talk with the proponents of “Leave” about taking their country back and taking a stand, as if what they did was really brave, but voting to leave the EU seemed in many cases to be motivated solely by fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the new. Fear of not being great anymore. Well, I believe Britain will remain great, but there was a chance for it to be an integral part of something much greater.
One of my favourite song goes:
“Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way. The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say”.
We know the first part is not true, let’s hope the rest of it is false as well.