Open Letter to the North:
This is an invitation to you to choose Europe and this island. We will love you and you’ll be welcome. Your children will play with ours. When you are sick, people will care about what happens to you. You will make friends. Know that you are wanted. We hope you will choose us.
Know that we are not perfect. No country is. We stubbornly chip away at flawed systems to gain rights. What country has not? We fought for basic rights: to be able to divorce, to get married, and now we fight to give women the right to have control over their own bodies. We have won these fights in a slow process that involves letting everyone speak so we all hear the stories that were silenced too long. Stories that break our hearts. And then we know we must right the wrongs. So we do. We believe in a better world and work together to make it happen.
We share so much. This land is ours together, if you want it. Not westminster’s, nor the pope’s, nor the queen’s. And yes, I took away some capital letters there to change perspective so as not to be straining our necks looking up. No one of the three on that list is essentially bad. When they stand for Empire and a view of history that divides, however, that has often led to oppression, hatred, and fear.
We have lived with fear and loss for centuries. We will talk by the fire, share tea and stories, and learn how all of us were cheated and deceived. But we survived and will again. We will heal. Together. This is the journey that becomes joyful when we share it. The connection, the meaning, the love.
Don’t be afraid. We have been afraid too. We have heard hate. Of us, of our language and culture. Hate not shown to French or other foreign languages. What hurts is that it is not foreign. It is the language of this land. But we know what it is to have been told lies, told that one group is superior to another. We have all been told lies. We know you hurt too.
We must understand that no matter how hard people try to please a master, they are still slaves as long as they see it as master. We must recognize who our masters have been and break those chains. Fear is the greatest chain of oppression.
Our beloved poet, Seamus Heaney told us: Noli timere. His last words to us translate as, Be not afraid. We are not too wee. We are at the point where hope and history rhyme as Heaney, who understood the rhythms of life, knew.
So, we invite you to share the journey with us. We want you to love us, not hate us nor fear us. We will love you. We will share stories and work together to make a better world, in Europe together. For our children, yes. Because it is the right thing to do.
We want you to come on this path of life with us. Together. Unafraid. Brave for a future in a world that recognizes the value of diversity, of working together with people who become friends at home and around the world. Know that you are wanted.
A wee land at the edge of Europe filled with beauty and limitless potential
PS. To mainland Europe, we are to the west. To us, mainland Europe is to the east. To the south, you are to the north. To you, we are to the south. But the world is constantly turning. We are an island and we are in Europe. Can that be enough? Can our direction be just forward? Together? We yearn for that.