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  • Amália Baraona

Should I Stay or Should I go...

..."If I go it will be trouble, and if I stay it will be double, so come on and let me know, Should I stay or should I go!!!" (The Clash, 1982)

This song has been on my mind 24/7, in particular after meeting a bunch of classical young musicians from Macedonia who are going through the "should I stay or should I go" moment as they graduate and see no future in their country (they probably don't know The Clash 'cause they were not yet born in 1982!!!).

The lyrics are about breaking up a relationship because one of the lovers can't make up his/her mind, turning life into "one day fine, the next black", which is actually no different from breaking away from a country where you would like to stay but can't because if you stay the trouble will be double!...

Macedonians are loving family people, but hope has progressively been lost in a future that looks so undecided, so uncertain... The number of Macedonians leaving to settle permanently in another country prevails largely over the number of people who move into the country to settle here as permanent residents. According to the World Economic Forum, Macedonia is among the top 10 countries with the greatest brain drain, the loss of young highly educated people. It's like a love story that breaks because although there is love, there are no conditions to let that love be and grow...! These young people love their country but for the moment their country does not show its love back to them. So they leave.

I grew up in Brazil mainly during the military dictatorship, and in the mid '70s the government released the slogan "Brasil, love it or leave it" ("Brasil, ame-o ou deixe-o"). This slogan created some polemic and a Brazilian journalist and writer, Ivan Lessa, answered in an article saying: "The last one leaving should turn off the airport light" ("O último a sair, apague a luz do aeroporto"). Will there be someone turning off the light here too?

More than 40 years went by since that slogan came out, but life has fundamentally not changed: some countries still do not prioritize the future of their young people, and although you love, you must leave because future cannot be built on indecision and uncertainty... But you know what? The best of the departure is the return. So go, do what you have to do, but come back if you can! Don't let go of your love for your country and of making it a better place in the future!

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