Saturday, 2 March 2019

English Colonialism and the people of Wales.

March 1st is St. David's Day  -  Dewi Sant

Dewi Sant is the patron saint of Wales. If you ever visit Wales and do nothing more than this, visit St. David's Cathedral.

Down in a Valley, not up on a Hill.

There has never been a Welsh nation, i.e. a place with well defined borders, or a place with national institutions such as a parliament or monarchy.

Rather, there have been Welsh people (of Celtic origin): a people with a rich language and cultural history; a people whose land was militarily absorbed into England. (The great Welsh Castles were not there to protect the Welsh, but to subdue them!).

Essential to colonialism is the suppression of local languages. For the English colonial endeavours in Welsh lands to succeed it was necessary for the Welsh language to be downgraded, despised, degraded, disrespected and all but annihilated. School children were whipped for speaking their native tongue in the "English language only" schools.

In doing so the English were saying "your oral history, your music, your literature, and your poetry are of nothing worth".

And if history, music, literature and poetry are dismissed as worthless so will be the people. Welsh people who moved into England were seen as an alien and untrustworthy "other". "*Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief". (* Taffy a derogatory term for Welsh people, probably liked to the River Taff in south Wales")

Of course there was also economic colonialism with the exploitation of natural resources: black gold in the south, flintstone in the north etc.

Try as they might the English overlords never succeeded in killing the Welsh language. It was kept alive in small Welsh villages, and in the Chapels. (There was a Welsh speaking congregation who had a chpale in my home city of Bristol, England.

There is a modern and modest renaissance of the Welsh language. Wales, now with a semi autonomous elected Assembly, is officially a bi-lingual land.

English travelers observing bi-lingual traffic signs and the like are bothered by this. "But, they say, "a majority of Welsh people do not speak the language" - as if being a minority didn't matter.

Now, dear American readers it ought not be too difficult for you to identify cultural colonialism in these United States.

A fine academic study of Wales as a people, not a nation.

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