Monday, May 25, 2009

Brittany - A Nation Reborn

The French Cup Final on Saturday 9 May was anything but French! The two teams in the Final were both Breton; Gwengamp (a small town) and the capital of Brittany, Roazon (Rennes). The euphoria surrounding the event it seems to me will renew Breton confidence and politics for a generation to come.

Not only did the French press make much of the event - the sports daily Equipe gave a Breton make over but the Bretons made most of the day.

The nationalist Parti Breton asked for the Breton national anthem, Bro Goz ma Zadou (Hen Wlad fy Nhadau - literally the same title and same tune as ours) to be sung before the final a la Cardiff City at Wembley last year. Of course, the French wouldn't allow that, but they did allow the Bretons to sing their anthem before the game (that's big of them!) ... and tens of thousands did.

A huge Breton flag the Gwenn ha Du (yes, gwyn a du - white and black) covered a good part of one of the stands and thousands of Breton flags were flown with pride. To tell the truth, I'd be damned if I could see any French tricoleurs being flown by the fans at all.

This is incredible. After two hundred years of the awful French republic which has tried its best to kill off any significant sign of Breton language and culture beyond the folkloric, the events on Saturday prove that the Bretons are a nation reborn. Their flag is the Gwenn ha Du, their anthem is being confirmed as Bro Goz ma Zadou and they're not a cowered and beaten nation which the French have come to expect. That Breton, the nation like Kurdish, so long humiliated by the French like the Kurds by the Turks, is still fighting is proof that the French state has not won.

The Breton, for so long humiliated by the French and the French state (and it is a French state) have turned a corner. There's no turning back. I don't expect Brittany to become independent any time soon, but with this historic football event, the ongoing campaign for the reunification of Naoned (Nantes) with Brittany and the continuing call for Breton status, Brittany is on the march. President Sarkozy stayed away - a quite incredible decision for a head of state. Maybe after implying he'd support reunification of Nantes he didn't want 80,000 booing him and making him keep to his word.

All in all, a historic day for Brittany. A Nation Awakes. Good news for the Breton language and culture and all who believe that the beauty of Europe is the plurality of her languages and her peoples.


Bynbrynman said...

Football supporters, one day Bretons and whoever told you that President Sarkozy didn't turn up couldn't have been in France that day. It was the same mentality as for a Cardiff v Swansea final at Wembley. Roazhon (Rennes) and Gwengamp (Guingamp) football clubs don't allow 'Bro Gozh Ma Zhadou' in their grounds.

Bynbrynman said...

That should have been 'Zadou', a confusion with 'Nhadau', sorry.

teod-karv said...

"Contrairement à la tradition, Nicolas Sarkozy ne s'est pas rendu, avant le coup d'envoi du match, sur la pelouse du Stade de France pour saluer les joueurs des deux équipes."

This is the source of the error - reading one part of the stroy in a hurry! He didn't go on th the pitch to greet the players of the teams.

teod-karv said...

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Bynbrynman said...

From this week-end onwards Rennes will be playing Bro Gozh Ma Zadou before every home match, League and Cup.
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