The New French Revolution! (an appeal to ordinary inclusive civilisation)
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite! Now after the referendum, the French Revolution has come to London! That’s what it seems like, as some of our most basic ways of living have come
under threat! Liberte: that is the right to free movement; Egalite: that’s the equality with other EU-countries (at the very least here it should continue to be possible); and Fraternite: this is our common bond with each other, the respect for our deep entanglements, that we can and should live together.
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite! That old and true demand of that Revolution double-act – as it played out not only in France, but in once-enslaved Haiti too! (for more info. see The Black Jacobins, by C.L.R. James) So together we are strong, we are not just multicultural but we are strong as well together, and we can help each other, and that’s the point of life!
After 224 years, who would have thought we once again have to ask for these fundamental, historical rights of Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite (and of course this includes Sororite, Sisterhood!). Many of us are proud children of the EU, or who grew up with the EU from an early age, and so we have internalized, or taken for granted, its underlying objectives of peace and freedom on a very personal level. Without our free access to one another we feel suffocated, brutally separated. The EU has been the juice that we were surrounded with, that we travelled to, that we worked in! The EU framework was always there, enabling us to reach further than our countries’ borders.
Now it’s hard to bear the division that this causes: the disequilibrium and the conflict! When no major decision has to be made, it’s easy to be friends with everybody, but when a decision is on the cards, friendships and relationships are at risk. And how to reconcile ourselves with each other when if we find out there is a fundamental difference amongst us which has a far-reaching consequence, in what we think or what we don’t consider and therefore fail to think about.
Last night, on my way home, I passed by the City, Canary Warf, its thousands of lights! How much I deeply admire it now! I don’t actually like capitalism, but I much prefer a collaborative capitalism to an isolated one – because within the collaborative version, there’s always opportunity for change, reform and opting out without being lost, lonely and neglected!
I want to feel cosmopolitan, not provincial.
Many of us don’t want to be a big fish in a small pond, but a small one in a big pond, because we want to be able to swim around and meet other fish, not just ourselves!
We have to look in the cracks for new growth, new patterns, new revolutions, try for re-alignment, re-instatement, re-trial, re-thinking, re-incarnations, re-evaluations, re-imaginings, re-writing history, even if it is still in the making. We cannot undo our freedom so far, nor the tiny patches of peace we have achieved. We need much more peace, much more freedom, and for many more of us, rather than less. There are Syrians dying too, whilst we legislate to refuse help. There are many others too, who have enriched our lives; there is Africa, which has enabled Europe in the first place! This is another Special Relationship that we should be working towards.
What it feels like
It’s like a carpet has been removed from beneath our feet, it’s like being on the titanic, how long can we sing until we sink, or it will soon be Atlantis, no longer existing at all, it’s like we’ve entertained the dark side, we’ve gone down a path that shouldn’t have been touched, it’s like a country in reverse, it’s like shock time, like twilight-zone-time, like all sorts of weird and utterly unfamiliar things we had never imagined.
Who has ever been on holiday to Italy, France or Spain?
Who intends to go there again?
And how now?…
Who has ever had a croissant, a pizza, a merlot?
Who intends to have one again?
And how now?…
Who has ever had a Panini!
Ice cream, café late, olives!
Macchiato, tiramisu, courgettes!
Yes, just even simple, ordinary coffee…
And now who can smell the coffee?
Coffee is French, and it’s African
So there are all these countries we are indebted to
There is the whole world
We can’t turn our back on because it’s made us
There is everything out there and within us
That is a part of us and that we can’t deny
Who as ever had a brie cheese, a camembert
A Cabernet Sauvignon, who knows the song
Sur Le Pont D’Avignon?
And how… now? © Ursula Troche, 7.16