Source: Josef Bittner, political editor, Die Zeit; reprinted in The New York Times, June 26
…Our future is in danger of being taken away by the maniacs of disintegration.
A YouGov poll conducted in the run-up to the British referendum showed that the vote for Brexit was very much one of the old against the young. The older the voter, the more he or she was inclined to leave. Some 64 percent of the age group from 18 to 24 said they would vote for Remain; just 35 percent of those between 50 and 64 wanted to stay.
We – the young, optimistic millions across Europe – cannot lose the West to Mr. Farage and his ilk, to demagogues who have actually much more in common with the scapegoating culture of the Arab world they so despise than with the enlightened, rational tradition of Europe….
The British vote feels momentous, but we will most likely look back at it as merely the first in a series of fights for the soul of Europe. The outpouring of anger and anti-establishment aggression in Europe has only begun. The next countries where the political bulldozers see their chances to act out their long-kept lust for demolition are the Netherlands and France.
We can no longer think of reconciliation between the opposing views of destruction and progress. The angry old men will not be mollified; their xenophobia cannot be controlled or channeled into constructive cooperation. We, the young, the future of Europe, must push back. Too much time has been lost already.