Thursday, 6 February 2020

Rejoicing or 'Remoaning': How's your Brexit journey?



So how is it for you? Are you basking in those sunny uplands yet? Enjoying the gold dust of the Golden Age?  Celebrating your newfound status as OfBoris?

Me neither.

As many of you know, three years ago, as a direct result of the Referendum outcome, I applied for, and got, restored German citizenship, as my Jewish parents were forced to flee their birth country and my grandparents Alma and Rafaele were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. You can read about it here.

What I did not realise at the time, was that the after-effects of the Holocaust were felt not only by those who survived the camps, or escaped from Nazi Europe, but can be tracked, by some process I do not comprehend, in those born later.

In combat terms, it is like having PTSD. Another description could be 'survivor guilt'. For Jews like me, born to parents who got out of the utter hell that was Nazi Germany, it manifests as a constant reminder that however safe we feel, there lurks in the shadows of our past, a time when a whole nation lost its reason, when millions of people who had done nothing more than not be 'them', were denied basic human rights and dignity, rounded up, starved, worked to death, experimented on, or shoveled into huge ovens and gassed.

And we were told, over and over, by concerned parents and relatives that the time could easily come again, if the right circumstances and the wrong leaders align.

Listen, I grew up on stories of the gradual indifference of neighbours, the relentless seeping into public consciousness, via a carefully controlled media, that certain races and religions were responsible for all society's problems, and needed to be expunged from the face of the earth. I lived with it. I still do.

But back to you. How's your journey? Did you just shrug when the media was full of photos and video clips of Union Jack-waving white guys setting fire to EU flags and singing Rule Britannia? Were you concerned when certain journalists were banned from government briefings? Does it worry you that attacks on EU citizens (and Jews) have now become so frequent, they almost don't register as shocking any more?

You should be worried.

We, who carry the horrors of the past in our DNA, are lighting our candles and stepping out into the encroaching darkness, and as we hold them up in front of us, we can clearly see shapes and contours that are both alien and strange, and yet chillingly familiar at the same time.


2 comments:

  1. Carol, I'm with you there. It worries me too. Here in the Netherlands as well. We have our own proponents for a Nexit and I find them abhorrent for all the same reasons. The EU is far from perfect, I know, but at least it stops this kind of prejudice and bigotry from gaining a hold.

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  2. People have forgotten, or never been taught how bad life was when countries in Europe were constantly at war with each other.

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