Joined: 30 May 2013
|Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:52 pm Post subject: St David's Parade celebrates diversity
|Under the Google doodle of the red dragon and the Welsh lady yesterday, a Ruskiny commented that the best thing to celebrate about Wales is the spirit of Nye Bevan that created the NHS and the whole idea of caring for those in need, especially in light of 'sweet and gentle' people like Mark Wood who have been indirectly by Atos.
The story of Mark Wood who starved to death after his benefit was cut off is horrendous. But the tribute to Nye Bevan as an embodiment of what is best in Wales should make us proud. It's an especially touching and gracious post if Ruskiny is not resident in Wales or connected with it.
Another comment, though, was that Wales was so wrong to be white. This contributor apparently thought that St David's Day was about celebrating white supremacy. Comments underneath took issue with this.
This person can't have been present in Cardiff yesterday when representatives of the Cardiff Nepalese and Filipino communities marched in their national dress, a gigantic papier mache image of Shirley Bassey was paraded around the city like an icon and elegant brown women enlivened their Islamic headscarves with gaily nodding daffodils. Cardiff is as culturally diverse as it gets outside Brazil.
A councillor or somebody at the 2011 or 2012 parade said, "We're not a race; we're a nation." And that's how it should be. Yesterday we saw children of all skin tones waving red dragon flags. All the time I was in primary school, girls of Chinese and Indian parentage would come to school on St David's Day wearing the national costumes with the high hats. No one thought it was incongruous.
I would have been happy to hear more Welsh spoken in Cardiff. English has been the lingua franca there since the 1880s because there has been so much immigration, particularly from Ireland. The Cardiff accent now has a lot of Irish in it. But I don't say this in any racist spirit. I'm a quarter Irish too.
That's the whole point. Anyone could speak a Celtic language if they tried. It's nothing to do with where your ancestors came from. Attempts to classify the Celts as a race have been unconvincing. In our own lifetimes we've heard the Celts described as tall and fair and as short and dark. It's a fair inference that no such race exists. It's a cultural thing.
But let's admit that, sadly, not everyone who identifies as proudly Welsh is beacon of enlightenment and compassion. We can't all be of the stature of Nye Bevan. A few are just as bad or worse than the moany contributor thought.
I can think of seven r eight individuals who draw attention to themselves as Welsh nationalists on the web or on the ground who have crazy ideas about illness, disability and race. At least one could be described as a Nazi.
We have to hope that we can contain these individuals just as they have to be contained in Ukraine and Greece. They are not likely to stop spouting of their own accord. It doesn't occur to them that they are showing up the country they claim to care about. People with outrageous and offensive ideas don't think they are offensive. They seem perfectly sensible to them. They are honestly surprised when other people don't agree with them..
Every country has people like this of course. They're so stupid, they don't know they're stupid.
We'd like to think it is Nye Bevan who typifies the 'real' spirit of Wales as Ruskiny says. But who owns national identity?