This is a blog I have wanted to write for a long time. There’s no better time than now Article 50 has been triggered. The uncertainty and the anxiousness I’ve been feeling since 24th June 2016 has now turned into pure fear. I’m scared!
My name is Sophie Kathir. I was born and brought up in France and moved to the UK in 2001 as my parents thought it would provide us with more educational and career opportunities. I completed my higher education here (a post-graduate degree), I got married here, my two kids were born here, and I have worked and paid my taxes here since I finished university. I also volunteer and campaign endlessly both locally and nationally about issues affecting young parents. Basically, I made my life here.
So when a referendum was announced about whether the UK should stay in Europe, I wasn’t really bothered. I thought no one would vote out, especially with people like Nigel Farage backing the Leave camp. As the day got closer to the vote, I saw many debates and still didn’t think much of it. The chats at work and amongst friends were always about how it was never going to happen. Laksha, my 7 year old, got really into it and watched some debates. She was dying to vote because there are “too many people who are going to waste their vote”. Her views were that “it’s nice to have friends around and who will help you when you really need it” (she meant other countries helping the UK, and vice versa).
“Mummy, I might want to study in another country for free”
“I’ll be very sad if my friends left. I like it when we teach each other our languages and traditions”
“Mummy, I don’t want you to leave us”
“Mummy, why do they blame everything on people from other countries when it’s the politicians who make the decisions for this country?”
And that when I saw the other perspective of why people might want to vote Leave. But that scary thought only lasted a few minutes.
The next morning I switch on the TV and thought I was misreading the headlines. Laksha sneaked up next to me and started to sob, asking me if they were going to throw me out of the UK and how will they cope without me? Although, I didn’t show any emotions in front of her, inside my future became a question mark. Will I really be separated from my family? Do I need to start my life all over when back in France? And eventually I got very angry. Is this how UK is repaying me for paying my taxes, making my community better for future generations? As I saw Leave campaigners resigning or backing away from their huge responsibility, and then the country being under the control of someone the public haven’t voted for, I got angrier. Especially when they are no plans or explanations about that phrase ‘Brexit mean Brexit’!!! I feel like these politicians have used me and many others as scapegoats just to get votes.
Fast forward to now, I’m anxiously waiting to receive my permanent residency after filling out an 85 page long application form asking me for evidence of everything I’ve done for the past 5 years. I have no idea what the outcome will be but as days go by and more and more scary things are being announced about Brexit, I’m getting upset and nervous.
I didn’t choose to come here or to make a life here, but it was my wish to make this country a better place for my children and other children. But unfortunately, that’s not what these politicians and the majority of the voters had in mind when they voted to leave the EU. They’ve now threatened not only my future (alongside 3.3 million other EU citizens), but the future generation’s too.