A Day of Thanksgiving to Europa – 24 June

These are sad times for Europe and all those who live within it. Britannia has fallen out with her mother Europa, and the future seems uncertain and confusing for many. However, despite the apparent turmoil in the aftermath of BREXIT (aka British Exit out of the European Union), these are times to also celebrate the relationship that the UK maintained with the European Union (and it’s former self) for about 40 years.

It’s a time to celebrate and be thankful, because along the way, it allowed may lives to flourish and many relationships to be possible. The face of the earth and the human genetic pool literally changed because of the European Union. If my grandfather could have seen Europe now he would have been proud that he fought for this United Europe. He would have been proud that his offspring are open minded, diverse, accepting and most of all hardworking people. He would have been proud that his offspring embraced other cultures and live across Europe, and he would have been proud that we honoured his fight for a free Europe.

This day, the 24th June 2016, the day after the UK BREXIT Election it is a Day of Thanksgiving to Europa. Some call it Independence Day, but that suggests oppression and invasion, but this is not how such relationship started. The relationship between Europe and the UK was consented and mutual, and a beautiful one, despite all the ups and downs. Independence Day in Europe happened when the Allies won the second world war from the claws of a Nazi Europe, and that is not what is happening now.

I have so much to thank to the European Union for who I am and what I have accomplished over the years. I know that I only achieved what I have achieved because I am a citizen of Europe. Am I dramatizing? That’s how it may look like to those not acquainted with life stories like my own, but for those who share a similar path as me they will recognize their stories in mine. Here goes a snapshot of my life story:

I was born in the 1970s. Europe was still picking up the pieces from the second world war, and the European Union was but a little child with perhaps no more than 6 countries with a massive dream. My own birth country was going through terrible civil unrest from a despotic dictatorship government that had just been overthrown using the power of carnations (and not guns). Life was poor, people were feeling hopeless, and the future was but a dark mirage.

At that time, and as a child, traveling in Europe, with my parents and grandparents, we were required to have passports and visas or at least some sort of permit to allow entry to the host country. Neighbouring European countries looked in suspicion at each other, afraid of a potential invasion from their poorer neighbours. This post-war paranoia was fueled by the traumatic memories of war survivors and was visible in politics, regulations, laws, moralities, and ethics. Shopping across the border was as taxing as going on holiday to the other side of the world. Living across the border was but a child’s dream that the grass is always greener in the other side of the field.

Then things changed. The love and trust in Europe re-booted, and the 80s and 90s saw a major unity in European countries, when more and more saw the European Union as a possibility and a reality. Dreams of children became reality for adults, and people were allowed to travel, study, work, fall in love, marry and have children, all across the European Union, with the certainty that their efforts would very unlikely be disturbed by politics.

Just like many people across Europe, I knew that I had the potential to achieve something with my life, but my own birth country was not giving me chance to do so. Call it bureaucracy or call it simply giving up, I just couldn’t face the lack of support and I felt compelled to leave my world for the unknown. Then, as an European citizen I found a new home, which I now call HOME COUNTRY. Being European I was given a chance to explore my skills without the limitations and the scrutiny of the pre-EU world. The only thing in my mind was to work, study, achieve my potential and contribute to my new HOME country. I chose to change and progress myself, but that was only possible due to the European Union agreement. Without that agreement, life now would have been very different for me.

I can’t say how different my life would have been now, but I can only imagine myself still living in my birth country, not having met the people I have met along the way, not having loved the people I love, not having the friends that changed my life, not being able to learn from other cultures and open my mind to the world, not having the evolved mentality I have now, not having the education and qualifications I have now, not being able to be fluent in English like I am now, and not having the job I have now where I have the privilege to help people in distress.

Some may say, that all this I have now I must thank to the HOST country, my new HOME country. Of course, it would never cross my mind to overlook the kindness of my HOST country who believed in my potential, but this new HOST country only became my new home because it was part of the EU. Not only that, but because both my BIRTH and HOST countries were part of the EU. If one of them had not been part of the EU, then life would have been very different.

But now, the UK will no longer be part of the EU, and that will change the lives of many of our children, who will less likely be able to find love abroad, or bring love to their home, perhaps unable to settled down and have children elsewhere in Europe, and to be able to better themselves through travel. Perhaps the birth of the ONE who would find the cure for cancer, or the ONE who would find a way to end world poverty, will never happen now. We will never know.

Nonetheless, and while I am still mourning this massive loss, I want to thank the European Union for making possible for people like me to achieve dreams and become better people. One think I am certain, and this I learnt from my grandad, we can only be better people when we expand ourselves and explore our world. And from this I take it that we can only explore our world if we have the psychological, physical and financial means to do so but also the freedom to go about exploring the things that make up our dreams.

I know that I am not alone in this experience, and there are many people that read my words and can relate and celebrate with me all that has changed in their lives because we were part of an European Union.

Perhaps there won’t be much practical changes, at least not for a few years. Also, a post-EU country will never be the same as a pre-EU country, and for sure there will be certain privileges applied to this UK/EU relationship. It’s a bit similar to a divorced couple who still have children or some sort of connection between them, and their relationship needs to continue with some sort of civilized agreement to ensure that the best interest of their children or whatever is still uniting them is kept as a priority.

My plea is to everyone reading these words; let’s respect people everywhere and keep our unity alive. Just like children of divorced parents, continue to love your siblings, continue to help each other, and continue to show our countries that their decision will have the least possible impact in our lives. Don’t give up on your dreams, and even if the country you live in is no longer part of a larger Union, keep trying.