The (social) karma of Brexit

The jokes and memes regarding Brexit (e.g. how the former coloniser is now destroying itself with fantasies of being invaded) are going around and I’m enjoying them. But I must also admit that I don’t know and will not experience the day-to-day consequences. I’m in London at the moment and this is something that I cannot help but ponder on as I encounter the diverse non-white citizens and migrant residents and workers everywhere.

But, what I’m also noticing is a surge of posts and commentaries that are pointing out the longstanding historical conditions that have led to this moment — I’m curious to think of it in terms of karma, and more specifically as social karma, in that we are talking about the enabling conditions and effects of action that persist over time and the work of taking responsibility for these conditions and effects (this is my engaged Buddhist interpretation, anyway).

That is, it appears that this event has prompted a wider recognition of the karma of Western imperialism, and it’s interesting for me to see people who do not typically talk about matters concerning (neo)colonialism posting about it in the wake of Brexit. This collective recognition is, in a way, also the work of karma, the work of response-ability.

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