Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rhodri Morgan Wants to See End of Wales

Good to see some AMs have the dignity of Wales and Welsh sport close to their heart. Plaid AM Chris Franks is one of the few who've taken an interest in the latest effort by the British nationalist Labour Party to rub Wales off the world map.

We all know Gordon Brown wants to get rid of any Scottish international identity now it seems Rhodri Morgan, our First Minister, is also happy for Wales to disappear from the world stage just like Poland was in the 19th century.

After all, Morgan is never short to give his view on any sporting achievement ... he'll give a pass by pass account on Welsh rugby or the Ryder Cup, but the sporting patriot has kept uncharacteristically quiet about the fate of the Welsh football team and efforts to coerce it into signing its own death warrant by joining the British nationalist project which is team Team GB.

Where does Morgan stand on this? Is he with the British nationalists or is he, as First Minister of Wales, going to back the Football Association of Wales who recognise a pearl-handled Colt 45 when it's pointing to their forehead.

Time to be a man Morgan and make yourself counted. Time to takes sides. Are you for British nationalism and the death of Welsh international football or are you going to support your country - the job which you're paid handsomely to do?

Saturday, December 27, 2008


It's not very often I read the London Review of Books and it's not very often I read an article about Abkhazia, especially a balanced one.

But Neal Ascherson's article in the current issue of the 'London Review of Books' caught my eye for its even-handedness, lack of frothing anti-Russian or anti-Georgian rhetoric and for raising a fundamental question. Ignore Putin's power-games and geo-political manoeuvrings behind Russia's recognition of Abkhaz independence, why shouldn't the West also recognise Abkhazia?

To champion the territorial integrity of Georgia is like championing the territorial integrity of the USSR, Spain, Austria-Hungary or any other state. The Abkhazians aren't Georgians, they're not a colonial implant which moved there with the power of a larger colonial power behind them, they're not a totally imagined community which is used as a proxy to undermine a colonised nation. They're an indigenous nation with their own language, history and will.

As Welsh nationalists we support independence of Georgia and their ability to chose their own leaders free of Russian interference, but we should also support the same principle to Abkhazia. After all, the Georgians bombed their national archives. Would Wales wish to be governed by a state which bombed its National Library? What more graphic image does one need that a state is incapable of governing another people if it decides to wipe out the memory and history of that people? If the Abkhazians are supporting Russia it's only because nobody else will help them. Wouldn't we Welsh do the same if no other state supported us?

As Welsh people we should recognise the independence of Abkhazia. Were the West to recognise Abkhazia, what defence would Putin have against recognising Chechnya's independence and Georgia's right to chose its own government?

It's time to talk, and it's time to be honest.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Greenlandic - Stronger After Independence?

I welcome Greenland's move towards independence. As a Welsh nationalist I'm also a Kurdish nationalist, a Tibetan nationalist as well as Breton, Basque ... and Greenlandic.

We're very different of course, but also there are many similarities. Whilst I hope for Greenland's independence and a thriving Greenlandic language I have once concern.

My concern is that having Danish as an official language has in many respects in recent years, strengthened Greenlandic. That is, once the tipping point was passed in the 1970s, Danish was never strong enough to kill off Greenlandic. The fact that native Inuit became bilingual with Danish strengthened their language rather than weaken it. Danish became just another language, another asset among many possible languages and language skills, the prime one being of course, English.

My fear is this; come independence Greenland will only have English as the second language as Danish will be discarded (as it was in Iceland following their independence in 1944). That could undermine Greenlandic in a way Danish never did as English becomes the only 'other' language. An all-powerful 'other' reality.

The danger for small languages like Welsh (and possibly Greenlandic) isn't that Welsh was conquered by another language (English) but it was conquered by only one language. It would have been a strength for the Welsh language if our people also spoke another language on top of English and Welsh - Spanish, French etc. The ability to communicate in more than two languages makes the weaker indigenous language stronger not weaker. Their language is evidently just one among many linguistic possibilities. When a weaker linguistic community becomes bilingual in just one other (stronger) language, then the indigenous language is always in the orbit of the stronger, always in its shade always as a comparison to it.

So, independence to Greenland. But for tactical as well as cultural plurality and diversity, don't give up on Danish!