Saturday, 13th June, 2009.

Not Quite All

          Listening to BBC Radio Three last
Sunday, I had an interesting surprise.  
The station’s “Poem For The Day” was written and read by Gillian Clarke,
one of
Wales’s many talented writers.

          The very English-sounding announcer in
London explained what the poem was about
before Gillian read it.   He told
listeners that it was about The Welsh Not, a stick which was hung from a
school-child’s neck for speaking a word of Welsh.   And that was all.

          He did not mention that the child
could rid her- or himself of that stick if she or he could catch a fellow pupil
speaking just one word of Welsh, and pass the stick on to that “culprit”.

          He did not mention that the child
around whose neck the stick was at the end of that school day would be punished
by being beaten with it.

          He did not mention that the system was
instigated in order to stamp out the Welsh language, nor how divisive it was
within our communities.

          We have had an apology for the
enslaving of Africans.   But the small,
almost ignored and often forgotten cruelties remain.

          Gillian’s poem, ‘Not’, was
well-written, well-read and lovely.   We
must thank her for remembering.


A Serious Warning

          Wales is a very cosmopolitan
country.   Over the years, a lot of
people from other lands – including myself – have settled here.   And we all seem to get along quite nicely.

          We must keep our nation that way.

          That is why I’m publishing a piece
written by a friend of mine this week, and which is not only a warning to we
who have the privilege of living in
Wales, but to all thinking folk.

          Should you feel like replying to what
you read, please do so via me, bearing in mind the proviso that your comments
may be published in my ‘
Weekend Wales-Watch’ column.

          “There’s a mail going the rounds which
pretends to be from someone who wants we who class ourselves as “White” to have
equal rights to “be White and proud of it”.  
This, the mail implies, would give “us” equality with people of other
races who can claim to be proud of being Black or Asian or whatever.

          The mail originated in the USA, and it was written after the advice to
White Supremacists that they’d gain more credibility – and therefore more votes
– if they played up the greatness of being White rather than encouraging the
gullible to hate other races.   That
advice came in speech in one of the Southern States to a bunch of White
Supremacists by the leader of the British Nazi
.   Must be good advice – lots
of BNP voters believe the BNP is not racist, just pro-British.

          There’s another White Supremacist mail
going the rounds, and which I’ve received from more than one source.   It’s about a “woman in a Burkha in a
supermarket queue”, and has much similarity of sentiment to the one I mention
above.   The incident it mentions is claimed to have
happened recently.

          It did not happen recently.    It
did not happen at all.

          The clue to it not being a recent
incident is the reference to the Muslim lady wanting an end to a current
military invasion of her land.   That is
not a recent event.   Another clue to its
fraud is that the checkout girl is wearing “an English flag badge”.   Nobody in these Isles would wear such a
badge if they were supporting our troops in the Middle-East:  the flag would be the Union Jack.   So, obviously, the mail is a translation
from the original
U.S. language.

          Sorry to rant on in this serious and
solemn way, folks:  just wanted to tell
you that, if you get a forward of those mails, they ain’t what they seem.   There are – or will be – other mails going
the rounds in similar racist vein.    Don’t
even think about forwarding ‘em to me!!!

          It may be that, mistakenly, you have
forwarded one or even both of these mails to your friends.   I know you did not do it to spread
racism.   However, might it not be an idea to forward
what I write here to each of those friends to explain the facts about them . .

          And, on that
serious note, I will leave you to your thoughts on Wales
and the World for this week.

Archie Lowe

About Archie Lowe

Though not born in Wales, I have lived and worked here for many years now. I love the place and love that mercurial thing "Welshness". I have been accused of being "a Taffophile" - which is pretty near the truth. The question I ask whenever some idea comes up for the whole of the UK is: "What's in it for Wales". I believe in an independent Wales and am so pleased that our Assembly is a big step on that road.
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