To The Economist:
“So, three-and-a-half years after the Brexit referendum, Britain is leaving the European Union on 31 January. For millions of people, particularly in eastern Europe, the country we tend to call “Anglia” has been a benchmark of nobility, of spirit and excellence. Britain is deeply embedded in our cultural make-up. During the War, our grandparents listened to Winston Churchill on the wireless, grateful to know that there was a place in this world where the bad guys’ writ did not run. For our generation, literature from an early age consisted mostly of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wind in the Willows. Later, the explosion of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, the Kinks, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and the rest blew the cobwebs of communist propaganda out of our souls. The Beatles made us, as New Wave, New Metal and the New Romantics were to make our children.
”When the propagandists railed against the “Iron Lady of imperialism”, we would say to each other, “Iron Lady? Sounds promising”. As Margaret Thatcher defeated tin-pot dictators on the other side of the world, we were wishing she would do something about our lot over here. As she later did.
”In the 1990s, we were fully aware that France and Germany wanted no truck with us east Europeans, and it was Britain that ultimately engineered our entry into the EU. It is our EU membership that has kept us away both from the clutches of Russian imperialism and from the temptation to revive the ideology of provincial fascism we experienced before the War.
”Tens of millions of us are grateful that Britain has always been there for us. Which is why we watch Brexit with great sadness, feeling a wrenching sense of loss. Originally, we thought that the results of that wretched referendum were some kind of cosmic joke. Now we have become reconciled to the fact that the British are, indeed, leaving us, much as we would wish it otherwise.”
Evgenii Dainov, professor of politics, New Bulgarian University, Sofia
Well, it’s done now. In a year’s time we will begin to see the full effects on the lives of millions of people, and the EU can no longer be blamed. Current events have massively disturbed my own ataraxia, but then I won’t have to live with all these changes for a full lifetime, as will my younger family members, bless them.