O artigo abaixo é de autoria de Sarah Lyall, e com data de onze de abril corrente, foi publicado pelo New York Times, com fotos de Sergey Pokomarev. Com a devida vênia da autora que solicito, pela sua qualidade e poder evocativo, essa descrição me parece demasiado importante para que não seja levada em conta, em momento quando ainda é possível desfazer esse erro descomunal que é o Brexit. Por isso, achei de grande importância para também publicá-lo no meu modesto blog, para que os meus leitores entendam melhor o que está em jogo.
St. Pancras International railstation
A wonder of Victorian architecture resurrected for the 21st century opened ten years ago as the embodiment of a great notion: that Britain is part of something bigger than itself and (not belonging) to a fellowship of nations is as easy and natural as stepping out of a train.
To catch a Eurostar from a platform in London, slide under the English Channel, hurtle thru the French countryside and less than 3 hours later pull into the Gare du Nord in Paris. To ride the Eurostar was to marvel that the capitals London so prosaic and straightforward, Paris so romantic and mysterious, the two with their long history of rivalry and discord - were part of the same larger enterprise.
Eurostar symbolised an era in which London seemed so inevitably rushing toward Europe, too. At least that was the idea until now and the beginning of the process known as Brexit. The trains are still running, but the era that created modern London appears to be over.
"We've made a horrible statement to the rest of the world, and it's very sad," said Martin Eden, a publisher waiting to catch the Eurostar to Paris the other day to celebrate his 43rd birthday. "We should be moving together", he said of Europe, "instead of moving apart."
I meet with Eden as I wandered around St.Pancras, at the moment Britain officially filed for divorce from the European Union. It was lunch time on March 29, Brexit Day, as you might call it, when Britain delivered a letter to Brussels and opened two years of negotiations over the rules of disengagement.
But as Britain tries to bid farewell to its now estranged partner of 44 years, London faces a different sort of challenge: how a great global city whose residents voted overwhelmingly against Brexit in last summer's referendum should adjust to an uncertain future governed by principles that feel antithetical to its very being. Brexit has divided Britain from Europe but also divided Britain from itself, with London on one side and (...) of England in the other (Scotland and Northern Ireland, which also voted to remain, are another story).
To many people in the capital, the vote last year feels like a rejection not just of Europe but also of the values embodied by London, perhaps the world's most vibrantly and exuberantly cosmopolitan city: values like openness, tolerance, internationalism and the sense that it is better to look outward than to gaze inwardly. Even as a sense of melancholy seemed to descend on St. Pancras, when I walked around the other day, much of the rest of Britain was celebrating "A Magnificent Moment" the Daily Telegraph announced on its front page the next morning: " Dov on its front page the next morning: "Dover & out", said the Sac, referring to the White Cliffs of Dover. But even as moods of the country has spoken darkly of the influx of immigrants, the erosion of British values and the siphoning of resources by Europe, London has remained about as heterogenous and open-minded a place as you could imagine, especially for a 2,000 ish year old metropolis.
Here are Britain's richest people and many of its poorest, living side by side in relativa peace. London is still stuffed with British landmarks - Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral - but also with people comprising 270 nationalities, 8,7 million inhabitants in all.
Brexit has thrown in disarray this great experiment in tolerance. Nobody can predict what the City will look like in 10, 20 or 30 years. If spontaneous travel between Europe and Britain no longer seem so simple, neither does the easy exchange of people, capital, jobs, businesses and languages. Perhaps more significant, it is no longer clear that these are meant to be admissible things, here or anywhere.
"London is a weird place at the moment", said the writer Nikesh Shukla, whose book "The good immigrant" is made of essays by non-white Britons about a country (of ) which they feel increasingly alienated. He lives in Bristol now, but grew up in London, and the city, he says "feels like a uniquely encapsulated version of what Britain means to me."
"The government says it's trying to get the country back, but in the process it's losing the heart of its people in London.", Mr Shukla said in a telephone interview. "People feel uneasy because there are a lot of futures at stake. These are people who live in the city who contribute to society, who have families, social structure, and financial committments, whose futures are now in doubt."
Modern London thrives on the idea that one city can be a global melting pot, a global trading house, a global media machine, and a place where everyone tolerates everyone else, mostly. The thought is that being connected to the rest of the world is something to celebrate. But what happens to London when that idea unexpectedly falls away?
(The article is part of a series examining whether Brexit will sink a great global city)