I was invited by designer Anna Zimmerman to contribute to EUPHORIC, “a magazine that raises awareness about the current situation in the EU and stresses the importance of a united Europe”, which formed the centrepiece of her Graduation Project at Design Academy Eindhoven, 2019.
The resulting text was entitled “Close to Home” and reflected upon my own position as a British person exercising (at time of writing) my right to live and work in another EU member state, Germany. An extract follows:
“Let me say it loud and clear: The European mind is capitulating.
It is capitulating out of weakness, out of sloth, out of apathy, out
of lack of imagination (it will be the task of some future generation
to establish the reasons for this disgraceful capitulation).”
I will not easily forget when and where I first read these words, from the English translation of Joseph Roth’s What I Saw: Reports from Berlin, 1920-1933. It was in the sunny environs of a garden in Brandenburg, Germany in May 2016, midway through the campaign period leading up to the UK’s referendum on continued membership of the European Union. Three years later, as I read them again in May 2019, all that has followed within the context of British contexts along with the ongoing resurgence of the far right across the continent and beyond, the words seem to have acquired even sharper edges.