9:34 am EST, June 20, 2016

Brexit: J.K. Rowling, John Oliver among celebrities urging Britain to stay in the EU

Learn about the Brexit vote and why major celebrities are speaking out against it.

As the Brexit vote approaches, J.K. Rowling has penned a powerful article urging U.K. citizens to stay in the EU.

This Thursday, the United Kingdom will vote on an important referendum: Whether or not to stay in the European Union.

The EU, which was first founded after World War II as a means of uniting a war-torn Europe and to secure proper trade agreements, is in the midst of a heartbreaking refugee crisis. It brokers trade agreements, and negotiates common health and safety regulations for food and goods. The U.K. has a long-standing tradition of scoffing at the EU — but that, it is important to note, is not a good enough reason for giving up the countless well-documented benefits for staying in.

If you need a tl;dr on what Brexit is all about, and why the only sensible option is for the U.K. to stay in the EU (despite your personal feelings about it), watch John Oliver break it down on Last Week Tonight:

Right now, it’s hard to predict whether the majority of Britons will vote to stay or to leave, and it’s making a lot of people who recognize the sense of staying in the E.U. — to uphold the U.K.’s trade agreements and to shoulder the pressures of Europe together — very nervous.

One of those people is J.K. Rowling.

The Harry Potter author has been arguing heavily for #StrongerIn on Twitter, and on Monday morning she published an article on her own personal website (!) full of excellent points.

“As this country has entered what will come to be seen as one of the most divisive and bitter political campaigns ever waged within its borders, I’ve thought a lot about the rules for creating villains,” writes Rowling.

“We are being asked whether we wish to remain part of the European Union and both sides of this campaign have been telling us stories. I don’t mean that in the sense of lying (although lies have certainly been told),” she continues. “I mean that they are appealing to us through our universal need to make sense of the world by storytelling and that they have not been afraid to conjure monsters calculated to stir up our deepest fears.”

Related: J.K. Rowling sends flowers to funeral for Orlando shooting victim

Rowling notes that she herself is an expert at conjuring up monsters, and we must concur that she is — she has, after all, written a seven-part novel series all about the rise and fall of one particular monster Who Must Not Be Named.

Rowling meticulously breaks down how the Leave campaign preys on our fears and secret desire for our nation to be ‘the best.’ She calls readers’ attention to other places on the world in which nationalism is on the rise (Trump’s America is only one example of many), and how much of that nationalism is only thinly veiling the fascism beneath. Both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin want Brexit to happen. Most other world leaders urge Britain to stay in.

“The ‘Leave’ campaign is selling itself as the courageous option. Take a leap of faith, they say. Step off the cliff and let the flag catch you! With the arrogance of a bunch of mini-Trumps they swear that everything will be glorious as long as we disregard the experts and listen to them,” Rowling says.

“Yet how can a retreat into selfish and insecure individualism be the right response when Europe faces genuine threats, when the bonds that tie us are so powerful, when we have come so far together? How can we hope to conquer the enormous challenges of terrorism and climate change without cooperation and collaboration?”

Like all sensible people, Rowling doesn’t claim that the EU is perfect. Nothing is. But as a union, the EU can “protect and empower us, because they enable bigger and better achievements than we can manage alone.”

“We should be proud of our enduring desire to join together, seeking better, safer, fairer lives, for ourselves and for millions of others,” she concludes.

And she’s far from alone in her sentiments. In fact, hundreds of British creative professionals urge voters to stay in. Read the full list on StrongerIn.co.uk.

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