Because we are friends, and friends stick together to the end.

#VoteRemain

by laurence

© Photo by Laurence 

If it hadn’t been for the EU, my life wouldn’t be what it is today.

Originally from France, I first left home when I was 18 and in my first year of university, prepping for a mandatory socio-cultural immersion in an Anglophone country. It didn’t take me long before knowing where I wanted to go. I actually reckon it took me no time at all… England was the obvious choice – for many practical and down-to-earth reasons, for sure, but also and above all for emotional ones. I think my love for the UK was born the day my dad took me there for the very first time, and I believe it grew fonder and fonder each time I went back.

So there I went, at 18. My things packed and my mind excited about all the endless possibilities that were then offering themselves to me. If it hadn’t been for the EU, it wouldn’t have been that easy for me to move to England for the first 6 months of 2013. And if it hadn’t been for that experience, I wouldn’t have started blogging. I wouldn’t have re-started writing. I wouldn’t have been healing from past wounds. I wouldn’t have found my calling, and I wouldn’t have worked for the last two years of my BA to get to the university of my choice, to the city of my heart, to where I am now, to London.

If it hadn’t been for the EU, my life wouldn’t be what it is today.

About a year ago last summer, I was receiving my acceptance letter to study journalism at the so-desired University of the Arts – London. I had gone through most of the enrolment process, yet the more practical side of it, the more financial part of it, remained to be dealt with. Luckily, being an EU student, my tuition fees were the same as home students’. If the UK hadn’t been a member of the European Union, I would have had to pay the international fee… yet I wouldn’t have been able to – I couldn’t have afforded that high a student loan.

If it hadn’t been for the EU, I would never have been able to come study to the UK, and make one of my biggest dreams come true. I couldn’t have moved to London. I wouldn’t have started a life there and had the intention of staying. And yet, in this turmoil of political debates, some people of the ‘Leave’ campaign would say to me: ‘Oh, but it’s not about migrants like you, it’s about the others’. While I don’t want to think about what this is supposed to mean, I want to say this to the Brexiters: ‘The thing is, if you vote to leave, it’s not only going to be about the others, but also about migrants like me. If you think leaving’s going to be a gain in a way, it’s going to be a loss in another.’

Remaining in the EU for the UK isn’t and shouldn’t just be about a stronger economy, supporting jobs and opportunities and so on and so forth, although all of this obviously is primordial and very important. Remaining in the EU for the UK is and should be about so much more.

No later than yesterday, I was reading J.K. Rowling’s ‘On Monsters, Villains and the EU Referendum’, and a few lines particularly resonated in me: “My values are not contained or proscribed by borders. The absence of a visa when I cross the channel has symbolic value to me. I might not be in my house, but I’m still in my hometown.”

If it hadn’t been for the EU, I would never have met some of the most wonderful people I know. I would not have built these unique, irreplaceable, redeeming gemstones friendships and this beautiful feeling of finally belonging somewhere. If it hadn’t been for the EU, I would very likely not yet have found a place to call home.

If it hadn’t been for the EU, my life wouldn’t be what it is today.

I have seen families tearing themselves apart, couples breaking up, and friendships gone to waste. And why? Because there is this ever-growing tendency for people to stop fighting for what they once believed in when things get hard.

Of course, the EU isn’t perfect. But how can it get any better if its members decide to leave? Any good and worthwhile human relationship thrives to constantly improve. Being an EU member is like one of these human unions; it is and should be about improvement, it is and should be about sticking together and thriving to become better together. In her essay, Rowling writes: “there will be flaws and disagreements. Because we’re human. Because we’re imperfect. So why bother building these ambitious alliances and communities? Because they protect and empower us, because they enable bigger and better achievements than we can manage alone. We should be proud of our enduring desire to join together, seeking better, safer, fairer lives, for ourselves and for millions of others.”

As the saying goes, ‘we’re always stronger together’, and that is as much true for human relationships as it is for international relations.

Because we really are stronger together. No one wins on their own. No one lives on their own. One only just survives on their own.

Because we are friends, and friends stick together to the end.

and friends stick together til the end via giphy

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