Joined: 09 Feb 2007
|Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:25 pm Post subject: 14th July BASTILLE DAY 2013
|THIS PRIVATE EMAIL IS RATHER ROUGH - IT WAS NOT WRITTEN FOR THIS PURPOSE - !
I think that I ought to post SOMETHING up for the time being - we can't even agree upon a venue this year ... it is beginning to look like yet another thermos of coffee and bean curd sandwiches whilst sitting in the car looking out over the stones and broken glass which constitute Traeth Llaniltyd Fawr again I suppose ... at least Port Talbot actually has some proper sand on its beach ... but there will be some programme on tv and we have been to Port Talbot once before so why should we ever want to go again and ...
Subject: Bastille Day
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013
I've amused myself writing this for you, but put far too much time into it - you'll excuse me using this for other purposes ?
I need to post something about Bastille Day 2013 and I guess that for entertainment purposes my reply to you will do : so just to add something over this about the usual last minute lash-up ... since bad things happen on my past birthdays I began ignoring them and started celebrating Bastille Day instead, partly because it avoids the egotism of birthdays and partly because it is a day for everybody who wants to remember Wales and the World ... only they don't, save X whose birthday is July 14 th so I always promise to buy her dinner on account of that fact. The general idea usually is to have a good dinner in a French restaurant and talk about whatever we wish to : it is purely a social occasion revolving around our various political pursuits ( if we still bother to have any ) with the axle greased by alcohol. My friends are pissed off by what happened with the Martin Shipton - Leanne Wood / Western Mail - Balchder Cymru episode last year and want a quiet life this year. They are not amused that I want them to stand up in any of the places proposed and sing any of the versions of ' Can Rhyddid ' which I have been researching recently - " Why can't we sing ' Country Roads ' - ? - Couldn't we go some place with a proper Karaoke machine, like that pub in Abertillery - the one that had that scampi you liked ? "
Daf and I have also been arguing over the title, wording and design for the leaflet / songsheet for the occasion : so things are as they ever were and ever will be, to be viewed as either a completely embarrassing shambles or a triumph over our petty-minded adversaries, depending upon - but not consisting in - how much alcohol is consumed, how much the bill is, how upset the vegetarians will be when they find out that in their school-girl French they ordered something which sounds really interesting but in fact turns out to be made entirely of meat, or vegetables shaped to look like bits of meat, and - whether anybody is foolish enough to actually mention politics, religion, vexillology ...
... anyway, I just could not resist sending you this sort of reply to your enquiry, and tried to keep it as short as possible ...
... thanks for the info on Brezinski ( ? ) - I see that I have encountered somebody else possibly more capable of surrealist paranoia than myself in your account of him - surely ? - um ... the Bastille was stormed or fell July 14th 1789 and lots of people count that as the date of the ' revolution ' but that actually officially happened on the autumn equinox in 1792 ...
Officially what is often referred to as ' Bastille Day ' is the commemoration of ' La Fete Nationale ' of 14th July 1790 when after a year of haggling political turmoil everything seemed happily resolved, the king attending a wonderful event more or less akin to the National Eisteddfod ( which looks suspiciously as if designed to be like La Fete Nationale de France ) which was conducted with La Fayette flying La Tricoloure which was - emphatically - NOT the flag of France at the time .. which, incidentally, was ' white ' in as much as French royal navy's ships carried the king's flag of the time whose simple version was plain white ...
... after the ' Red Terror ' when the Jacobins carried the red flag came the Thermidorian Reaction in which the remnants of the Girondins or ' real republicans,' who had celebrated the peaceful compromise made with the king in the 1790 with La Fete Nationale, who had survived the ' Red Terror ' - hoisted the ' white ' flag and more or less turned it ' red ' with the blood of the Jacobins ... of course there are lots of legends about the ' white ' flags of ' parlez ' being turned ' red ' with the blood of the political martyrs of Republicanism who tried to ' parlez ' with opponents who did not subscribe to the idea that politics is about talking not fighting.
Incidentally, as in 18c Wales where ' the Colour of the People ' and therefore of ' Democracy ' was always traditionally green, because the ordinary people were basically ' of the land ' working in fields, heaths and woodlands, and therefore the ' green ' flag was displayed to represent Radical political ideas like universal male suffrage ... as also used in Ireland and England and probably Scotland ... where ' the wearing of the green ' indicated the people gathering to assert their rights, so also in France did those demanding political reform and democracy plant - yes, you guessed it - WREATHS OF IVY on their hats because they wanted to proclaim the cause of democracy to be ' forever green ' - and since an ' ever-green ' can symbolise the promise of everlasting life, of renewal, of moral and physical regeneration - of revolution ... and you want to assert of course that GOD supports your cause and damns your opponent's cause ... ' green ' was the colour of the ' Saviour of the People ' and the ' King of Kings ' who would ' Judge the Wicked ' etc - Jesus who like our political cause can never be killed, will always rise again, and - hey ! - Moslems use this colour for very similar reasons !
Anyhow in 1789 there was a nasty nobleman whose name I forget, but his employees all wore green livery and they beat up on his orders those who agitated for democratic reforms who were wearing green leaves, mostly ivy probably since Paris was not well supplied with much else of anything green in 1789 because everybody had eaten everything - most probably any ivy available too ... then in stepped the gay Guards of Paris and instead of beating up the people as normally ordered to do so they beat up the nobility instead for a change and everybody democratic went wild with the excitement of not ending up themselves for a change not actually bruised the colour blue, and mobbed those brave grave boys in blue and ... left them naked : everybody in Paris and beyond started sporting little scraps of blue and red cloth celebrating the uniform of the Paris Guards, and the La Fayette added white to symbolise that the king supported the movement for political reform too and everybody was royally loyal to Liberty and Love, and it was all going to be Lovely ... Lively ... Loberty !
' Blue ' became the colour of ' Liberty ' because blue uniforms now protected the ' green flag ' of Democracy, and indeed ever since then ' blue ' has featured in the idea of a militant libertarian ideal in Europe, the sort of ' Liberty ' that comes out of the barrel of a gun - guns which are as often as not pointed by Liberty-loving Conservative governments at any people protesting for democratic reforms, which is what happened in France after the government led by the Jacobins declared the Republic after the ' revolution ' of 1792 and then started killing hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens for disagreeing with the sort of ' democracy ' they were creating - " In the Name of the People ! " It was all Love, Truth, Peace and Freedom for the right kinds of people - i.e. the left kinds of people who had to become more and more ' red ' in order to survive being denounced : the Girondist friends of the Republicans from Wales in Paris were guillotined, because the reality of ' revolutionary ' France was not that beautiful vision celebrated since La Fete National in 1790.
Why did the French ' Revolution ' go so badly wrong, yet on paper went so goodly right ? Because Republicanism is still bound by the possibilities of politics and societies can not be changed by the stroke of a politician's public pen any more than by a preacher's private prayers. Republicanism argues that it has transcended the wishful thinking of Fascist technocrats and Socialist dreamers, [ THERE I SHOULD HAVE JUXTAPOSED ' TECHNOCRATS ' WITH ' DEMOCRATS ' ] that it has mutually cancelled out the demands of Liberalist repressionism against Communist oppressionism, rejected Conservatist regressivism and equally not accepted Anarchist progressivism - the reason to remember the French Revolution is in order not to forget dewhy a perfectly peaceable political process fell apart because others decided to wage war upon it in order to prevent the threat of such irrefutably sensible political reforms being introduced into their states such as the Austrian Empire - and the United Kingdom.
The French Tricoloure stands as a reminder of this lesson in the minds of French people and many others : the flag as flown in La Fete Nationale in 1790 was ordered red-white-blue - but in 1794, after being at the centre of a howling maelstorm of aggressive warfare by both external and internal enemies - monarchic, aristocratic and democratic - La Tricoloure was officially turned upside down or rather it was turned front to back to symbolise the distress of the French Republic - in other words the colour which was placed first became ' blue ' in reference to the uniforms of the citizen's armies which were protecting the nascent political system which was struggling to survive : ' Liberty comes out of the barrel of a gun ' was the message of the blue-white-red Tricloure of 1794, and the red-white-blue Tricloure - which was the flag that actually flew over the Bastille on the day that it was liberated on 14th July 1789 - has been forgotten : it was associated with that period of political reform over which the king had presided, of peaceful native political aspirations and French national goodwill to all other nations having been treacherously betrayed.
The meaning of the colours ascribed to La ( Deuxieme ) Tricoloure de 1794 are commonly ascribed to be those of the slogan that ( xxx ) [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine-François_Momoro ] caused to have inscribed over the same doorways of public buildings above which the flags were displayed : ( BLUE = LIBERTIE ) ( WHITE = EGALITIE ) ( RED = FRATERNITIE ) - but those associations are of course culturally specific to France, here is an English red-white-green triband and the associations given for the colours are ( RED = HUMANITY ) ( WHITE = LIBERTY ) ( GREEN = EQUALITY ) ( these are ' internationalist ' colours from the 1790's and were common in England, Wales, Ireland and probably Scotland too - these were common for those who rejected the use of blue as a symbol of armed militancy and stuck with green for peaceable democratic reform, but that being said English Republicans raised this flag and swore themselves to ' revolution ' beneath it at Pentrick on 9th June 1817 :
[ P.S. just a short note ... NOTE THE USE OF ' THE MANUS ' WITH TWO FINGERS RAISED IN THE SIGN OF PEACE ON THE TOP OF THE STANDARD OF THIS ENGLISH REPUBLICAN RED-WHITE-GREEN TRIBAND - WHEN CARRYING THESE IN DEMONSTRATIONS, WITH A DEFT TWIST OF THE WRIST, THEY COULD REVERSE IT - " ONLY BY ACCIDENT " - RIGHT IN THE FACES OF THE PEELERS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE MORE FAMILIAR ENGLISHMAN'S GESTURE TO THOSE PLACED IN AUTHORITY OVER HIM OR ANYBODY ELSE WHO THREATENS HIM WITH EVIL ... yeah, I know all about Owain Glyndwr's ex-archers at the Battle of Agincourt etc but the fact is that plaster saints everywhere have been raising two fingers to the world as a gesture of peace for centuries from the walls of churches and cathedrals, it is just that in Wales the protestant plunderers smashed up everything in order to be sure of proving how loyal the Welsh were going to be now that they were going to be ruled directly by the king from London : so they were even more thorough than those in England and virtually nothing of the glories of Welsh ecclesiastical sculpture survives, mostly because the Welsh have little ' freestone ' and so we favoured wooden sculptures which burnt rather spectacularly well for the pryrotechnological purposes of propagandising to popularise the pieties of Protestant preachers to peasants permanently prejudiced by pinching prating priests.
Peasants everywhere across medieval Wales and the World typically took the piss out of priests behind their backs ( still do ) by mumbling mock-latin parodies of the sacred words that they were not to utter as non-priests and they also made fumbling mock-gestures in returning the blessings just given them in church - by inverting them ' accidentally-on-purpose ' into curses upon those that they regarded as thieving priests. They did this by turning the saints' two fingered gesture of blessing around so that the back of the hand and the two fingers were presented instead as the - ' Cyrn y Diafol ' - the ' Horns of the Devil ' - so wishing upon that priest or any other kind of enemy the sorts of blessing to be had from Satan or by denoting those made to be the object of the gesture to be the servants of Satan himself and to be greeted as such. Arguably the " V " sign is being widely mis-used : it should properly be used to mean " You deliberately misled me into voting for you and I will never do so ever again - there is nothing to choose between you : I hereby resolve to become a proper Republican and renounce you and all of your kind as " the Man and his Party " - ! - sorry, I've forgot the Welsh proverb's exact wording for that phrase ... it means " the Devil and all of his kind " - not just the Liberal Democrats !!! ]
The ' red-white-green ' internationalist Republican Tricolour that first appeared in Wales circa 1792 is the reason why the white flag with a red dragon on a green mound was later ' revived ' ( - or rather actually invented, because the mound is a ' gorsedd ' - a ' moot ' - a symbol of democratic government, which is why Iolo Morgannwg dressed his Republicanism up as the ' Gorsedd of the Bards ' in order to disseminate the ideas and values of democratic government.) ' Y Ddraig Goch ' is unique in the history of the world's flags in being a ' heraldic flag ' concocted out of a ' livery ' flag, it is ' always ' the other way round and dictated by the rules of heraldry that Wales' national flag should yield red-white-green tricolours and tribands. It was just a piece of luck that Henry VII's heraldic battle flag at Bosworth in 1485 was mostly red-white-green and a typical piece of Republican in Wales humour to use a royalist symbol to celebrate Republicanism, because - as they anticipated - seizing trilliwiau as evidence of subversion was going to be easy for the local magistrates, but demonstrating royal flags to be evidence of revolutionary intentions to overthrow the monarchy was going to be ... near impossible, and so the national flag of Wales ' Y Ddraig Goch ' is both a royalist and a republican symbol - oh - thank-the-god-that-I-don't-believe-in-but-in-which-I-still-have-faith-in-sometimes - I just have to occasionally cry with love for the privilege of being associated in any way with this delightfully beautiful little nation called ' Y Cymry ' - ! - too big for our boots, too small for our ambitions but just the right size to get some things right.
Good grief, you'll be quoting that and calling me a ' gweringarwr ' next ... not a bit of it, just because I love them does not in any way mean that the other people rattling around with me inside this diminiutive piece of geography don't irritate me excessively and they most certainly and obviously as a result can not be trusted by me to govern themselves, the fact is that they are making all of the sorts of mistakes that I would never make if I were elected tyrant ... sigh ... but there really is no point in applying to be ' Y Treisiwr Cymru ' is there when we already have several already and the whole meaning of that idea as a ' Teitl yng Nghymraeg ' would be argued over for ever by the language activists and ... I think that I might just be able to admit to being a ' pobl-garwr ' ... perhaps a ' pobl-capan-bobl-garwr ' - ? ( I just spent some time there weighing up my choice of words and decided that that rolls better off the tongue than 'pobl-het-bobl-garwr.')
( I'm just pondering as to whether or not I might be able to regard myself as a ' pobl-wobl-nobl-( io )-goblwr ' ? )
A ' gwleidyddgarwr ' maybe ... well ... perhaps ... possibly not ... if the root of that word is ' gwledda,' then obviously not.
That would be a good Welsh word to coin for some Welsh politicians that I have observed .... " gwleddwyr " ... you know, if I had the time and inclination - or could get Daf to do it - I could create a newly epic early-ish medieval Welsh poem ...
" Y Gwleddyddion : Y Pedair Cancr y Meibion Ochri " ... Meibion Achau ? " ... Mabion Ochion ? "
If anybody wishes to Corecd fy yMrhaeg - feel free, Meibion Rhad ... please correct my French whilst you are at it !
David B. Lawrence
P.S. Apparently the double-entendre is not got : a couple of people believe that the word ' rhad ' means only ' cheap ' - of course I know that " Meibion Rhad ' appears to mean ' Cheap Sons ' ... but I rummage around in all sorts of religious, philosophical, scientific and political texts with dictionaries to hand, being involved as a meta-ideologist in all things to do with beliefs and how they are constructed. As a consequence I look both into the original meanings of words and into how their meanings changed by being twisted and bent by subsequent centuries of people for their various purposes - such as inverting the original meanings of words as used by those people they are protesting against, which fascinates me.
The original meanings of " rhad " are all associated with the idea of " grace " such as " Rhad Duw " and therefore are often associated with the idea of charitable giving i.e. loving benevolence. Of course the recipients of charity don't always want to acknowledge that another person is giving them something of value, so the word " rhad " acquired the connotation " cheap " i.e. I don't want to be grateful so I'll denote this thing being given to me as having no value, then I will not have to say " thankyou." The phrase " yn rhad ac yn ddim " literally means " as a grace and for nothing " - in other words " this is a straightforward gift and there will be no further expectations or any conditions attached to it." ... "
Meibion Rhad " could perhaps therefore be construed as referring to the fact that we are as a nation now experiencing generation upon generation of living upon the graces bestowed upon us by others i.e. millions of us - virtually the whole Welsh nation - are now dependent in some way upon the Welfare State, which has ceased to be the means to help minorities in need but rather has been turned on its head and become the means to keep the majority in need. The governments of the United Kingdom - including the Welsh Assembly - have pursued, and are still going to pursue, policies which over the past century have progressively plunged the whole of the Welsh nation - as well as the majority of the English and Scottish nations - and the whole of the populace of Northern Ireland - into chronic welfare dependence in order to deal with the underlying chronic poverty that has been created by pursuing financial policies over economic and social policies. We have all been condemned by lettres de cachet, long before we were even born, into this lifelong imprisonment within the " The British Bastille " with no prospect of any sort of release other than in getting pissed and remembering the events in Paris of 1789.