Can you think of some examples from your own experience, or of someone you know, where there was a clash of identity? What happened and can you see how fluctuating notions of identity are still potentially problematic? What does it mean, for you, to be yourself? (OCA I&P, p11)
source of featured image: bt.com
I reflect upon this question a few days after the UK finds itself as a nation divided and England as a country sliced from within. A people struggling with their identity – European, British, English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish? Native, immigrant, Muslim, Christian, Jew? Political class, upper class, middle class, working class, unemployed? Enfranchised, Disenfranchised? Remain or Leave?
The shock referendum result was to Leave. Then the confusion and the blame-game begins and the dark facist and racist side of nationalism shows its ugly face to our fellow Europeans and human beings as they are told to ‘get out’, ‘go home’. Those seeking another to blame for their problems and challenges. In the crisis of identity there is a crisis of confidence and uncertainty over which group identity will emerge, and whether it will function and succeed. Complexities in money and financial markets unravel in ways that many people do not understand and cannot foresee, hampered by the limits of their own experience and the mix of truths, half-truths, and blatant lies peddled by the political classes and media to inform and misinform the decisions taken during the referendum. They do understand that the fuel for their cars, their holidays, their food is suddenly more costly. They do see the televised shock and panic throughout the globe. Some wonder what they have done, what has happened.
Should they really have remained as part of a broad European identity, with many differences but nonetheless as part of a broad family willing and able to help its own members? Or will they prevail as a small English family, putting up barriers to the world with which they have so many interdependencies?
For me, I am angry and frustrated by sense of European identity being torn from within me by ill-informed mob-rule, incomprehensibility at a political class that has allowed what has been painstakingly built to be torn down in a few short days, with no vision for a future identity and direction for the narrative of a country and the identity of its people.