The story of the prodigal son in the bible is a very interesting one, a story laced with many silent lessons. In the story, we find four major characters in play; a wealthy father, two sons and a landlord. For some unknown reason the youngest son suddenly demands to have his share of the inheritance, he leaves home with it and squanders it. When he finds himself broke and destitute he takes up a low paying job as a stall boy for a foreign landlord. On a certain day while working he has an epiphany and decides to go back home with no expectations except to have a home under his father’s roof once more. And on his return home everything goes better than he hoped for with his father, his brother, however, is not so excited to have his disrespectful, disloyal, lazy brother back home. Sensing his eldest son displeasure, the father goes on to settle his worries, bottom line he assures each of their place in his life and encourages oneness.

Why has this story suddenly come to mind and why does it matter?

The Brexit situation and the wave of opinions tossed about on the internet encouraging Americans to follow suit makes me think of the eldest son in the story.

A son who isn’t aware of all he has, who doesn’t know how best to maximize/manage new opportunities.

A son who felt the way of life was changing too fast to accommodate a brother who dressed and sounded more like a stranger from many years of being away.

A son who felt disenfranchised by the celebration held to welcome a disloyal, arrogant, lazy brother, while no feast had  ever being held in his honor.

A son who thought he would never have to share anything with anyone except he chose to.

A son who didn’t know that his cousins whom he had worked side by side had only stayed because they had not seen a way out before.

A son who at that point desperately needed his father’s reassurance and clear guidance concerning his future.

Sadly unlike the father in the story, we find UK citizens driven into a hurricane of harsh prospects, finger pointing, horror stories, and forecasts of greater storms by politicians’ on both sides of the divide. As they’re not the founding fathers, but simply surrogates on a quest for a personal gain, one can hardly blame them for misguiding the people, for using them to achieve hidden agendas. Or how else do you explain Nigel’s retraction/rephrase of a crucial statement hours after victory or Sturgeons move to take Scotland out once the die was cast (by the way I respect her a lot, she’s playing the game with the same poker face the boys use and I think she does it better.). And let’s not forget the foreign landlord, the EU leaders who underestimated the referendum, perhaps they doubted the stories of the prodigal son, stories of his father’s wealth, stories of a brother who was no longer receptive to their offers. With everyone clamoring for their own rights and demands for immediate actions to initiate the exit process, one wonders if the eldest son made the right choice.

Did he?

In all fairness his demands were not unreasonable, he had put in blood and soul to build that land and so had his ancestors before him. He has a fair idea of how many people the land can care for, how it can be enlarged. He trusts in the safety of his customs and daily rituals, the unseen things that bring comfort on a hot day. So when a visitor comes in with stories of various sorts, makes a home and starts to procreate both in assets and liabilities one can understand the eldest sons need to ensure the scales don’t tip him out of the equation. On this premise, his choice wasn’t wrong, but his forecast of what the future holds as a result of this choice has neither been true or clearly explained.

They said you will have all this, but failed to explain what ‘all’ encompassed.

They said to do this for you and your children but failed to explain that others will seek to protect their own offspring through the same channel (Scotland, Northern Ireland).

They said preserve your culture hold it sacrosanct, forgetting that this action will raise the ghosts of cultures desecrated, borders obliterated and normalcy ruined as their ancestor's sort to conquer and sometimes misguidedly save the world.

Have they made the worst choice?

I don’t think so but that depends on who they decide to listen to from here onwards and the way they choose to handle future issues. I know there are many who understand what this was really about (self-preservation) not anti-globalization or xenophobia although the lines sit pretty cozy with self-preservation.  There are those who thought it was simply anti-immigration, that message is one that really needs redressing as the world is really blood thirst these days.

The decision has been made it’s time to discontinue the fear driven forecasts and rhetoric’s; it’s time to forge ahead. As a migrant, I am under no illusion that the days ahead will be easy, but I don’t know if they will be horrendous, thus I have decided to grin and bear whatever comes one day at a time.

 "For every step, we take to defend ourselves, those who would attack are going to take a step further." Jonathan James Olivier.

This is by no means a threat, but a reminder that every action gives rise to a reaction from the observer. It is to stress the importance of reinforcing the positive message behind Brexit.

 

 

 

 

Published by Chioma Nwafor