Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Szczeb said...

Good points Szczeb and thanks for pressing me further. I hear your concern. It's expressed very well.

Let me be provocative. Dare I suggest a different way forward to the paths offered by the two alternatives you suggest in your latest posting. In the background I discern, perhaps wrongly, the all too familiar traditional arguments that have flowed from a vulnerable culture not wanting to loosen its grip on an absolute principle because that very loosening may well lead to the thin edge of a terminal cultural wedge.

What I am seeking to contend with here is not the manning of the usual cultural barricades for defensive purposes by a set of absolutes but an approach more reflective of the dynamic allowed by the two buzz words of modern equality thinking - reasonable and proportionate. A dynamic that can look to a greater confidence and linguistic growth precisely because it is not so constrained by fear. The absolutism caused by fear is rarely reasonable or proportionate.

The removal of that fear may well demand the meeting on common ground of two dynamics. It may well demand, on the part of Wales' minority linguistic community, such confidence that it is far more able to go beyond the absolutes of the barricades and accept the vulnerability of reaching out. From the majority linguistic tradition there must be a growing recognition that it is clearly an unreasonable act to ask a culture to so dilute itself that it dies. It must meet the reaching out with a shared sense of belonging and a desire to promote a common good.

Wales desperately needs a shared set of narratives and transforming conversations that allow us, as a diverse and modern people, to imagine how our cultures and politics can be so much better than they are now - for all our sakes. For such aspirations to be more than a mere collusion with rhetoric there must be many more points of conversation around shared futures in the common space called Wales.

Forgive my aspirational ramblings...but this singular noun that is Wales must become far more of a shared plural experience. It is well within our means to hold shared identities in that singular noun.

1 comment:

Marcus G said...

I remember moving to Aberystwyth & for some reason being placed on a town committee for something... I think I drew the short straw & ended up as the church's representative.


The meeting, chaired by the then Plaid MP, began in Welsh, with English translation for the several of us who were not first language Welsh speakers (or indeed who struggled to do anything other than comment on the weather). After fifteen minutes, without any comment, the meeting migrated into English.

After an hour, I was asked to be secretary to the group. I declined, saying I felt I wasn't the ideal candidate as I could only produce minutes in English. At which point the meeting suddenly (and without further comment) reverted to Welsh.

A barrier went up, and a defensive tension existed that was not lovely. I felt sad - because I had raised a point about inclusivism and instead was made to feel second best.

I understood something that day, and have seen it repeated many times, and find your pleas to be totally refreshing and surely a better way forwards for a nation.

I get the battles and wrongs of the past. But living as a victim culture breeds a constantly damaged & damaging society, whereas a healing appreciation of the other, and the refusal to carry on somebody else's battle-lines and battle-scars make a people see what they actually have.

Diversity can be strength. Riches. A wonder and a treasure. Something to be enjoyed. Our revels are not ended, but only just beginning, depending on how we choose to see things.