History does not repeat itself. We repeat our mistakes.
EU’s counterpart in the western world, the US has one thing the rest of Europe lacks; uniformity. US citizens from Idaho, Arkansas, Dakota and Wyoming are above all exactly that, citizens of the United States of America. The Old Lady has too much history, too many conflicts and struggles in its record, thus making it almost impossible for its people to proclaim triumphantly their European citizenship. They’re Italians and Germans and Dutch and Greeks first and foremost and then, when it’s profitable, they become Europeans. Yet if one thing the youth of our times has learned is that diversity and tolerance don’t serve as restrictions. On the contrary, anyone that has traveled abroad and has interacted with the locals knows that our rich background is what makes us infinitely more keen to progress.
One does not win the right to call themselves politically active by exercising their right to vote every four years or by deciding to let their support towards a political party or ideology shape their entire lives accordingly. Simply listening to the news and automatically disregarding opposition because of the political conformism leads to political passivity at best, to corruption at worst. Today’s youth has means that no other generation previously possessed. People of the late Post-WWII economic boom enjoyed a steadily increased income that allowed them to travel and expand their horizons. They visited Paris and climbed on the Eiffel Tower, they celebrated the Fall of the Wall in Berlin but they did not stay behind to witness the local plightsonce the feast was over and all the lamps had expired. Nowadays, economic, climatic and sociopolitical issues no longer hide in the mean streets of the world.
In 2015, young people no longer limit themselves to mere sightseeing escapades. Their group of friends and acquaintances is so complex and multinational that they can’t afford to escape reality any longer. They’ve become aware of their surroundings, they now acknowledge that whatever is taking place in Syria, in North Korea, in China, it affects them. More importantly, they recognise that the chaos and catastrophe of a nation miles away isn’t in fact an otherworldly experience. Our daily exposure to this diversity is what generates our interest in what transpires in the political foreground, it is what prevents us from using barb-wire fences across our borders and manning the walls all in the name of the covetable result; “Protect the Land”, when in fact it is the people that are the borders.
By participating in this programme we solidify that we care, that we are part of this union, not in papers or in words, but in the daily struggles because we do not wish to take a step backwards and give into the enmity that remains latent in our continent as an echo from all the years prior to being a European citizen.
Sometimes, when you believe in something all you wait for is a chance.