Image: David Holt / Wikimedia Commons
In the aftermath of the Brexit, the shockwaves have spread across the globe. Even in the Leave camp, there were many for whom the referendum result came as a rather large surprise. Britain faces an uncertain road, with the pound still plummeting and both the government and the opposition cracking under pressure, but scarier still is the growing xenophobia and racism among citizens.
Regardless of whether you celebrated or grieved for the referendum result, surely we can all agree that some of the consequences have been sobering to say the least. In the days immediately after the vote, there have been so many examples of racism and xenophobia that they inspired a twitter account, hashtag, Facebook albums, and a slew of disturbing articles, like the Huffington Post’s round up of the worst of truly ‘British’ vileness.
When I read some of the horrors tagged with #PostRefRacism I was not only viscerally disgusted, but frightened. It doesn’t take much deconstruction to uncover the shades of Nazism and fascism simmering just below the surface. Though we’ve lived through decades of a relatively peaceful Europe, the scars of the World Wars must not be forgotten. We must remember the impact that hateful rhetoric and discrimination had in the 1930s, and the culminating tragic events of 1939-1945.
With Donald Trump blazing his trail of hatred and fear-mongering in the US – and Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen et al. pushing their ultra-conservative, far-right, extremist agendas in Europe – xenophobic, nationalistic fascism is on the rise. The biggest question is exactly how we should counter it.
Have we learnt from the horrors of the past? Or are we doomed to repeat the cycle of hatred against our fellow human beings?
Only time will tell.