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Monday, 30 December 2013

Oddigartre'

I think some of you; deliberately perhaps, or not, as the case may be, missed my point about the greatest activists having been born outside the areas where their arguments were applied. The two arguably biggest proponents of Breton music, Alan Stivell and Gilles Servat were both born outside the 'land of their fathers'; ditto the 'Irish' revolutionaries at the post office in 1916 at the height of the first world war; Eamon de Valera was born in New York to an Italian father. Napoleon wasn't French; Hitler wasn't German; Stalin wasn't Russian; inversely, Jean-Marie le Pen was born in Brittany. Think about it; perhaps a knight on a white charger might come in to save Cymru; for a while in Merthyr we thought it was Emrys Roberts but it didn't last. We were fortunate for a moment in that we had Emrys, Dafydd Wigley and Gareth Foster, they even took power but they were eventually outmanoeuvered by the local labour cabal.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

We are entering into dangerous right wing territory here; we the Welsh have an indigenous culture that we want to preserve, it's lasted for two thousand years and we, or certain amongst us want it to continue, but it shouldn't be a reason for explusion of other cultures so long as they become inclusive and they know that they live in Cymru. Perhaps the most inclusive forign community is the Somalis in Cardiff, they are Cardiffian Welsh, Tom Woodward Jones is Welsh, Shirley Bassey is Welsh. Someone living in Cardiff is like a doctor who only sees illnesses or a policeman who only sees criminals. I am an optimist, sorry I don't live there! Don't you think that thousands of people in the valleys would take it as an insult that because they don't speak the language they are not considered Welsh?

Friday, 27 December 2013

Tendentious

I'm getting a bit fed up of these tendentious polemical arguments; we're all on the same side. WE know what's going on, there are too many outsiders, but many of our worst enemies lie within. The anti-social element couldn't care less anyway, it doesn't help when they are brought in from the London council housing misery. The English pub owners get out their shotguns to vacate the premises of their Welsh speaking natives for their forthrightousness in having spoken their first language which they deign offensive, even though they don't make an effort to understand where they actually live. At a pub in Llangadog I was told by an English landlord that he was a Paki basher, although the West Walians are alright, the North Walians are worse than the Pakistanis. How many times have I heard that English speakers, not English but South Walians, go on holidays to North Wales, enter into a pub where everyone was speaking English only to speak Welsh as they entered, blatant nonsense, who's going to speak his second language, English, only to turn to his second language, Welsh' to satisfy some kind of racist whim, I've got news for these people, they were speaking Welsh all the time, stupid as it may seem. We know from the last census that the language is growing among the Welsh born, but is diminishing on the whole through the influx of foreigners. Sorry Gareth I'm with you all the way and I think there's been a misunderstanding between us, but although Cymru has its 'downs' it also has its 'ups', although for the moment the 'downs' are greater than the 'ups', which they have been since Gruffudd ap Llewelyn lost his kingdom, who knows what could have happened if he could have held on for just another couple of years with a Welsh sovereign dealing with the Norman king resulting in no Norman lords of Glamorgan, Gwent and elsewhere, unfortunately that was not to be our destiny, then there was Llywelyn Fawr, Llywelyn ein Llyw Ola' who couldn't do for the Welsh what that other llyw did for the Chinese; then there was Owain Lawgoch who invaded the CHannel Islands on his way home only to be called back to help the eastern Friench in their war with the Angevin Empire and to be assassinated by a Scot taken into his confidence; then there was Glyndwr, a mighty royal Welshman but only a rebel lesser tenant in chief and a traitor in English eyes. Then as always was the Mab Darogan, this time it was Henry Tudor of dubious claim to the throne of England who conquered England with the help of (Sir) Rhys ap Thomas; the whole of the Welsh middle class built great mansions on former English estates; his son Arthur died, the intended rebirth of King Arthur of Britain, Henry Vlll took over the throne, annexed Cymru into England, we lost everything, we shouldn't really be in a state of existence, look at the former Welsh lands of Cumbria/Strathclyde. What are they proud to be today. THere's only one Welsh song that has any status in Brittany, except for the common national anthem, and it's Dafydd Iwan's 'Yma o Hyd, need I say more?
I was brought up in Merthyr town centre, roamed around the council estates and never heard a word of Welsh until I was accepted into the local grammar school at 11 years of age. My first day in the Welsh class our teacher asked how many pupils had a smattering of the language, about 5 or 6 children raised their arms, which took me completely by surprised because I didn't know that anyone in Merthyr spoke Welsh, so what's new? I'm a bit in the situation of Frank Hennessy, that until Ronnie Williams took him on a journey around Cymru (Wales) he didn't realize that there were still Welsh speakers in the country.

Caerdydd!

Just to be clear about this; when did Cardiff end being a little town in Wales, and when did Wales become a little part of Cardiff?; oh yes I955, when a Welsh town, of no previous value became, with a limited historical veracity or credibility allowed circumstances to dictate that after it took the iron & coal from Merthyr, Aberdare; then later the Rhondda, after outgrowing its boots, asked the Queen of England (I wrote King earlier on, seemed so long ago, but it was very recent) if it could become the capital based on its wealth & size, and was accepted. It became the most important town of Glamorgan, which for Glamorgan meant the same thing as most important in Wales, Gwynedd people have always seen it differently, so has Dyfed. Too late now to change the status quo and for the Welsh themselves to decide our own capital city, it would have been nice to have been asked in a national plebiscite, but except in sporting terms we weren't yet a nation, not fully grown and mature, which by the way we are still not!

Integration

Families integrated, as we see in the non-Welsh family names, there was assimilation, there never was any assimilation in Merthyr, except for when we all became Welsh rugby supporters, but only the satellite villages kept their language in a majority until the twenties, the Rhondda miners, a town that didn't even exist until the 1850s spoke Welsh, southern Pembroke never spoke Welsh, in fact for Dewi Sant to communicate with them he had to have spoken Gaelic before they became Flemish! I agree with you Gareth that there is only immigration, there is no inmigration, it was an effort, unfortunately perhaps, to distinguish between three related arguments, Christian English, non-Christians, and open gate Europeans. I KNOW THAT WE ARE LOSING OUR CULTURE, but we have more defences now than we've had since Arthur. Henry Vlll arbitrarily rearranged the borders and annexed the country so that our Tudor supporting middle class built their manor houses in England, conquered by the Welsh, who up till the Tudors were ruled by the French Plantagenets. Britishness was taken to England, 'that red haired Welsh harlot" ruled over the island, her advisors were Welsh, e.g. the Seisyllts (Cecils). There has been a leak since the 16th century, and our first university since Llanilltud Fawr was built at Jesus college Oxford; Caernarfon was the biggest English community in Wales, only North Walians or Welsh learners speak Welsh in Cardiff today, it was colonised from the West Country. If Caernarfon & Bangor Usaf can be Welsh speaking now all is not lost. Welsh, or should I say Cymraeg, is an official language which is more than be said for French rule; the largest French border is at the Amazonian jungle, not with Germany or Italy. There is immigration and there is work to be done, but don't compare ourselves with people who have no chance; we can come through it, others are lost; the Bretons are losing 10,000 speakers every year! They are French, there's only one language in France!
Do we still give Christmas tips (there was a word for it but I can't remember) to the milkmen? My last milkman was Barry Taylor, big friend of mine, brother of Jennifer who married Philip Corke. Their parents kept the Masons' next to Eddie Thomas' gym on Penydarren High Street. Over here for many years we gave a tip to the post men when they brought us a calendar; I don't know whether or not they stopped doing it or whether they left me alone when I was out of work for three years. I'll find out this week probably.
How many people know that England was ruled by a western french family, the Plantagenets, until being taken over by a tenuous link to Wales, the Tudors, claiming England for the Welsh with a Red Dragon on the royal insignia and the first born son becoming a new Arthur king of the Britons. Unfortunately or not he never reigned, he was denied the royal Welsh succession/accession by his early death leading the way for his brother Henry Vlll to annex our country. Not for nothing was it famously written in the Encyclopaedia Britannica: for Wales see England. Now we are Cymru (Wales) again, we have a national identity for the first time in nearly 500 years. We were officially & legally English, we are not anymore, we have an autonomous government no matter how limited its powers; do we go down or up? Does it really depend on demographics when only once in our history we had a united Wales under a Welsh kingdom, Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, it's been a battle ever since the Irish and Northumbrians threw us out of Strathclyde and Cunedda came to Wales. We've always had a fight on our hands so what makes it anymore different now? I've got you, immigration! And after 2000 years you may be right! But we'll still have a rugby team even though you'll have to go to France to speak to them!

Friday, 20 December 2013

What about the language?

What about the Language? It's all very well to go to chapel in Welsh but with nothing on the streets, nor in the factories & offices, or to go to go dancing at a fest noz and waking up the following morning with a hang over and the French language. South Wales was a rich area, the cradle of the industrial revolution, the Rhondda miners spoke Welsh as a first language, Welsh was also the first language of Merthyr well into the twenties, the largest town in Wales a little earlier. Assimilation or protection? Do we want the Welsh language to survive and prosper, or don't we; as I see it most people don't! They are misguided, Wales is Cymru one of the oldest languages in the world with one of, if not, the oldest flag in Europe. The Brythonic army left its homeland in Wales & Cornwall to defend Gaul against the Visigoths on the Loire. Unfortunately we lost and were left wide open to attack from the Irish & the Germanic English, so many of us settled in Armorica which became Britain or Brittany. Now we are under a new attack, the native language is in danger from non-natives, more Welsh (Cymry) are speaking the language than for many years, but the percentage is down due to immigration. Sorry Gareth if it didn't get through to you what I was trying to say

Sorry Gareth

What about the Language? It's all very well to go to chapel in Welsh but with nothing on the streets, nor in the factories & offices, or to go to go dancing at a fest noz and waking up the following morning with a hang over and the French language. South Wales was a rich area, the cradle of the industrial revolution, the Rhondda miners spoke Welsh as a first language, Welsh was also the first language of Merthyr well into the twenties, the largest town in Wales a little earlier. Assimilation or protection? Do we want the Welsh language to survive and prosper, or don't we; as I see it most people don't! They are misguided, Wales is Cymru one of the oldest languages in the world with one of, if not, the oldest flags in Europe. The Brythonic army left its homeland in Wales & Cornwall to defend Gaul against the Visigoths on the Loire. Unfortunately we lost and were left wide open to attack from the Irish & the Germanic English, so many of us settled in Armorica which became Britain or Brittany. Now we are under a new attack, the native language is in danger from non-natives, more Welsh (Cymry) are speaking the language than for many years, but the percentage is down due to immigration. Sorry Gareth if it didn't get through to you what I was trying to say

Welsh! What's that?

How can we dislike foreigners when our whole Christian ethos is based upon a coloured man from the Middle East who couldn't speak a word of English (especially as English didn't exist for another 1400 years)? What a load of nonsense is spoken about immigrants destroying society as we know it. English upset the Welsh, Normans upset the English, French upset the Bretons. Basically we are talking about numbers upsetting the balance of what we know and respect; we are all immigrants, only time has brought us together, and I can't see the Eastern Europeans taking over, only sending a ripple as the Spanish, Irish and English did in Merthyr many years ago, in saying that, in Merthyr we are very content to be speaking English today, perhaps in a few years time we will be proud Roumanian speakers, these things happen; we've lost our Welsh and we seem to be happy enough it's called assimilation, we Welsh are experts at it whether in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada or wherever; we move on, the world doesn't stand still so why should Britain. Follow the Welsh example, open your doors and shut your windows on the world, become multi-cultural when Cardiff is just down the road, there's no need to be mono-lingual any more; St. David himself spoke Latin, Gaelic & Welsh; sorry, what was that, Welsh! what's that?

Perceptions

Our so called 'traditions' that through non-conformism spawned our choirs but lost us our dances and most of our instruments except for the harp ruined our culture, no dancing and singing unless it was praise be to 'God' and this superstition is still continuing in so much as even though the chapels and 'worshipping', what a word! is declining, our music is still more adapted to the chapels and prayers than it is to dancing (Devil's work). And I mean good old barn dances where everything was cleared out for the seasonal festivities. Now we are known throughout the 'world' (big word) for clichés such as the quality of our choirs, our rugby limited as it is to the British Empire' and a few more who have the audacity to refer to the 'World Cup' (mind you cricket 'world cup' is even worse); our soccer has too much competition, something our rugby doesn't suffer. We weren't the only country to have had coal miners but it's become a cliché. Scotland isn't the only country in Europe to have bagpipes & kilts and stout isn't an Irish drink, but they aren't perceived as clichés and it works for them! Is it that their respective self-awareness of their own identity outweighs the clichés whereas we in Wales have such a low self esteem that it only carries us through as a nation to a rugby match in Cardiff. We have to explain that we are neither Scottish, nor English, nor Irish, even though we have a heritage second to none, and that the founding saints of Brittany were born here, as was the founder of Donetsk in the Ukraine, plus some of the most famous Hollywood stars, entertainers & poets. But we shouldn't have to keep on repeating ourselves, we should be able to stand up equal to anyone on the world stage, so why doesn't it happen and why aren't we known outside the Commonwealth? A big problem is that once we drop our language we assimilate, something that the Scots & Irish don't do!

No Matter!

May I say that there was a Jewish sandal wearing Arab hippy whom we are told claimed to be the son of 'God', perhaps he was drugged, but as in the legends of Arthur these stories were embellished and written down centuries later, the Roman Empire eventually got them to us in Wales. Think about it; we are now complaining about foreign infiltration when for two thousand years we've been under Middle Eastern propaganda that we would never heard of in the first place if we had never been occupied by the Romans. So what if Roumanians, Hungarians, Czechs and so on come into the country; there are so many of us speaking English now and taking it on as our first language that these people are just ripples, and ripples after the stone has been thrown initially always find their way back to the calm waters, even if we still have to wait a while. Wales has a defensive system in that is becoming an autonomous country insomuch that it's the Welsh in the long run who will eventually decide their destiny, that is if it's not to late to defend its language & culture, then what would it matter, we wouldn't be more Welsh than the People of Strathclyde who have no longer any memories of ever having been Welsh, and the Cumbrians of old. For those non political sports fanatics, it was almost too late for our reborn Welsh football (soccer), will it be too late for our rugby? Will it be too late anyway? Are we on the road to a collective euthanasia? No matter; for the moment we can still put on our red, go down to Cardiff and imagine that we're a nation, get pissed and vote Labour.

Friday, 6 December 2013

R.I.P.

In political terms Neil Kinnock put the 'lower' into 'class; he wasn't accepted, nothing to do with his being Welsh, although 'Welsh windbag' was a convenient alliteration; Margaret Thatcher put 'middle' into 'class' and because of it she was not liked by the main stream of her 'Party'; now we are back to the Dickensien 'ancien régime' where England and her Welsh & Scottish satellites are ruled by the 'upper' class Eton educated millionaires. We believe we have a democratic choice, even though the opposition is a Labour Party of class conscious wannabees, but least there is a choice, limited as it is. In the US of A there's no pretension, even a millionnaire doesn't have enough money outside his campaigns. Which brings me to my point that in South Africa a blackman came out of prison to completely transform the politics of his country, he created a 'Rainbow Country' out of former White supremacist rule, a true revolution, not a stone's ripple in a pond. The world watched as a right wing apartheid régime was brought down peacefully. After having unjustly wasted most of his life in prison there was no animosity on his part, no grudges, he just got on with it. He was a hero to everyone who believes in justice. There will be very many sad people tonight, but there will also be many high level crocodile tears at his funeral.

Annie Ebrel & Nolwen le Buhe

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Born Aug 3 1951, Merthyr Tydfil, Cymru/Wales.Moved to Brittany Sept. 1979.I run a rustic Bar in a village of fewer than 800h.Real ale& best whisk(e)ys.At the moment I'm occupied with photos, flowers and music. For more information look up my site & blog: http://crwtynrhifnaw.blogspot.com my story: http://taffawrnantmorlais.blogspot.com my photos:http://picasaweb.google.com/BynWalters    my photos: http://patrimoinebreton/blogspot.com    a.n.other: http://mymiscellaneous-bynbrynman.blogspot.com

 

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