Culture

Review: Brodorion argues that the idea of national ​​supremacy ultimately leads to destruction

29 Aug 2021 12 minutes Read
Brodorion by Ifan Morgan Jones

*English follows below*

Matt Spry

Pumed nofel Ifan Morgan Jones yw Brodorion ond y gyntaf i mi ei darllen.  Heb os bydda i’n darllen ei nofelau eraill ar ôl darllen hon.  Nid nofel wedi’i hanelu at ddysgwyr mohoni wrth gwrs ond fel rhywun sydd wedi dysgu Cymraeg gadewch i mi ddweud ychydig am addasrwydd y nofel i ddysgwyr.

Dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg ers tua 6 blynedd ac er i mi ddod ar draws ambell air anghyfarwydd yma a thraw doedd hi ddim yn anodd i‘w darllen a baswn i’n ei hargymell i ddysgwyr lefel Uwch.  Fyddwch chi ddim yn cael trafferth.  Fel y daw yn amlwg, ces i fy atgoffa o Lord of The Flies gan William Golding, Robinson Crusoe gan Daniel Defoe a The Beach gan Alex Garland wrth ei darllen ond, nid yn unig oherwydd eu bod wedi’i ysgrifennu yn Gymraeg, mae naws unigryw, Cymreig i’r nofel hon.

Mewn crynodeb mae’r nofel yn adrodd hynt a helynt pump o bobl, y Capten Morys, Myfyr – mab Morys, Efa – cariad Myfyr, Teleri – merch Morys, ac Aled – cariad Teleri, sydd wedi hwylio i ynys anghysbell i geisio dod o hyd i drysor y môr-leidr Edward Davies, hen-hen-hen-hen-hen Daid Myfyr a Teleri, a oedd yn gadfridog ar long Barti Ddu.  Dyn ni’n cael naratif person cyntaf Myfyr, Efa, Teleri, Aled wrth i’r stori mynd yn ei blaen.  Dyn ni ddim yn cael naratif Morys.

Roedd y môr-leidr wedi cuddio’r trysor dau gant a hanner o flynyddoedd yn ôl a chreu map sydd wedi bod yn y teulu ers cenedlaethau.  Mae gan Morys y map sy’n dweud bod y trysor wedi’i guddio ar dop Mynydd y Duwiau ar yr ynys ac mae’n sicr ei fod wedi dod o hyd i’r ynys gywir gan gymharu yr hen fap â Google Maps.  Mae Morys wedi perswadio’r gweddill, sy’n credu ei fod wedi mynd yn obsesiynol am y trysor, i’w cynorthwyo gan addo gwyliau ar ynys boeth am ddim iddyn nhw.

Dyn ni ddim yn cael gwybod ble mae’r ynys ond o’r disgrifiadau o’r hinsawdd a’r tywydd mae’n ymddangos mai rhywle yn y trofannau yw hi.  Ond ar ôl digwyddiad annisgwyl maen nhw’n gorfod aros ar yr ynys heb fodd i adael. Ydy Morys yn gyfrifol? Beth yw ei gynllun? Oes trysor hyd yn oed? Beth yw ystyr ‘Cymru Newydd’ a beth yw’r goblygiadau o geisio adeiladu ‘Cymru Newydd’?

Cymru Newydd

Roedd Morys wedi penderfynu bod angen iddo fe sefydlu’r ‘Cymru Newydd’ oherwydd dylanwad llethol Saeson cyfoethog a’r Saesneg ar ddiwylliant, iaith a chymunedau Cymru. Mae’n dweud bod yr ‘hen Gymru’ yn marw yn araf bach.  Ceir cyfeiriadau at y nifer o dai haf sy’n bodoli, at bobl nad ydyn nhw’n gallu fforddio prynu cartref yn eu hardaloedd eu hun, at San Steffan yn cipio’r ychydig o hawliau sydd gan Gymru fel cenedl, at Saesneg yn lladd y Gymraeg, ac at bobl yn newid enwau ffermydd a thai o’r Gymraeg i’r Saesneg sy’n dinistrio blynyddoedd o dreftadaeth a hunaniaeth.

Dydy’r awdur ddim yn ofni sôn am Gymry yn gwerthu ffermydd â thai i Saeson cyfoethog chwaith – mae’n sôn am Morys a’i ddiweddar wraig yn gwerthu fferm y teulu am swm sylweddol o arian i ‘ryw Saes’ dim ond i’w gweld nhw yn newid enwau a rhoi’r tŷ ar Airbnb.  Ddylen ni roi’r bai arnyn nhw?  Beth fyddech chi’n ei wneud tasai ‘rhyw Saes’ yn cynnig llawer mwy o arian i chi nag unrhyw un arall na fyddai’n Seisnigo popeth?

Ces i fy atgoffa yn hyn o beth o’r bobl a hwyliodd i Batagonia ar y Mimosa yn y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg i sefydlu’r Wladfa a sylw Michael D Jones, sylfaenydd y Wladfa, ei fod eisiau creu Cymru newydd fach y tu hwnt i Gymru.

Yn ogystal â hyn oll ceir naratif am y pump ohonyn nhw yn ceisio dygymod â’u bywydau newydd ar ynys anghysbell heb drydan, y rhyngrwyd, ffonau symudol, heb unrhyw fodd o gysylltu a’r byd y tu hwnt i’r ynys.  Roedd ganddyn nhw EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) ond collon nhw fe o dan y môr.  Oes pobl eraill ar y ynys?  Beth maen nhw mynd i wneud o ran bwyta, dŵr i’w yfed, lloches?

Mae hefyd yn edrych ar y perthnasau sy’n bodoli rhwng y cymeriadau a sut maen nhw’n newid yn rhinwedd y newidiadau ysgytwol a sydyn i’w bywydau a’u hamgylchiadau. Faint o ddylanwad sydd gan amgylchiadau ar ein perthnasau ni â’n gilydd? Fydden nhw’n goroesi ac aros yr un fath tasai newidiadau ysgytwol a sydyn yn ein bywydau ni?

Ar ôl darganfyddiad annisgwyl mae Morys, a oedd yn cwyno am y Saeson a’r Saesneg yn gormesu Cymru a dinistrio’r iaith, diwylliant a chymunedau, yn dechrau baldorddi am wneud yn union yr un peth i bobl eraill.  Mae’n dechrau dilorni a bychanu iaith, diwylliant a chymuned pobl eraill ac yn mynnu goruchafiaeth ei iaith a’i ddiwylliant ei hun. All y gorthrymedig ddod yn ormeswr? Mae’r ‘cymdeithas’ eu bod nhw wedi sefydlu ar yr ynys yn dechrau chwalu a darnio hefyd ac mae’r perthnasau’n dechrau cael eu rhoi ar brawf.

Peryglus

Mae darganfyddiad annisgwyl arall sydd yn arwain at drafodaeth am berchnogaeth y llefydd dyn ni’n byw ynddyn nhw a datblygiadau ar gyfer twristiaeth a sut y gall hyn gael effaith negyddol ar bobl leol ac ar ddiwylliannau cynhenid.  Mae hyn yn arwain at gynnig annisgwyl o help i adael yr ynys.  Mae rhai ohonyn nhw eisiau aros, mae’r gweddill eisiau gadael. Mae cyfrinachau yn cael eu datgelu.  Mae’n ymddangos bod y profiad yn dechrau dweud ar rai ohonyn nhw o ddifri a’u bod nhw’n mynd o’u cof.

Ar ôl diweddglo tymhestlog pwy sydd ar ôl?  Pwy sydd wedi llwyddo i ddianc?  Pwy sydd wedi aros a goroesi?  Ydy ymdrechion i wladychu tir pobl eraill wastad wedi’u tynghedu i fethiant? Ydy credu mewn goruchafiaeth eich gwlad, diwylliant ac iaith eich hun dros eraill yn arwain at eu dinistr yn y pen draw? A sut i amddiffyn eich gwlad, diwylliant ac iaith rhag ymosodiadau y rheiny sydd eisiau eu dinistrio? Oes angen mesurau eithafol er mwyn amddiffyn iaith, diwylliant a chymunedau Cymru?

Y neges dw i’n ei chael yn y nofel hon yw bod rhaid i bobl Cymru, pobl a gafodd eu geni yma a phobl sydd wedi symud yma, frwydro yn galetach am fwy o reolaeth dros benderfyniadau sydd yn effeithio arnyn nhw, ar eu hiaith, diwylliant a chymunedau.  Mae hefyd yn bwysleisio’r angen i bawb barchu ieithoedd, diwylliannau a chymunedau eraill – mae’r syniad o oruchafiaeth yn un beryglus.

Mae Brodorion gan Ifan Morgan Jones ar werth fan hyn.


Brodorion gan Ifan Morgan Jones

Matt Spry

Brodorion is Ifan Morgan Jones’s fifth novel but it’s the first I have read.  I will definitely be reading his other novels after reading this.  It isn’t of course a novel aimed at learners but as someone who has learnt Welsh let me say a little about the suitability of the novel for learners.  I’ve been learning Welsh for about six years and although I came across a few unfamiliar words here and there it wasn’t difficult to read and I would recommend it to Advanced level learners.  You won’t struggle.  As will become clear, whilst reading it I was reminded of Lord of The Flies by William Golding, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and The Beach by Alex Garland but not only because it is written in Welsh, there is a unique Welsh tone to this novel.

In summary the novel reports the trials and tribulations of five people, Morys the Captain,  Myfyr – Morys’ son, Efa – Myfyr’s partner, Teleri – Morys’ daughter and Aled – Teler’s partner, who have sailed to a remote island to try and find treasure belonging to the pirate Edward Davies, Myfyr and Teleri’s great-great-great great-great grandfather who was a general on Barti Ddu’s ship.  We have the first-person narrative of Myfyr, Efa, Teleri and Aled as the story progresses but not that of Morys.

Obsessive

The pirate had hidden the treasure two hundred and fifty years ago and created a map that has been in the family for generations.  Morys has the map that says the treasure is hidden at the top of the Mountain of the Gods on the island and he is certain he has found the right island by comparing the old map with Google Maps.  Morys has persuaded the rest, who believe he has become obsessive about the treasure, to help him by promising them a free holiday on a hot island.  We don’t find out where the island is but from the descriptions of the climate and the weather it seems to be somewhere in the tropics.

After an unexpected event they are forced stay on the island and have no means to leave.  Is Morys responsible?  What is his plan?  Is there even treasure? What does ‘Cymru Newydd’ (New Wales) mean and what are the implications of trying to build a ‘Cymru Newydd’?

Morys had decided that he needs to establish the ‘Cymru Newydd’ because of the overwhelming influence of rich English people and the English language on the culture, language and communities of Wales.  He says that the ‘old Wales’ is slowly dying.  There are references to the number of holiday homes that exist, to people who cannot afford to buy a home in their own areas, to Westminster snatching the few rights that Wales has as a nation, to the English language killing the Welsh language and to people changing names of farms and houses from Welsh to English, destroying years of heritage and identity.

The author is not afraid to mention Welsh people selling farms and houses to rich English people either – he mentions Morys and his late wife selling the family farm for a significant amount of money to ‘rhyw Saes’ only to see them change the names and put the house on Airbnb.  Should we blame them?  What would you do if ‘rhyw Saes’ offered you much more money than anyone else who wouldn’t Anglicise everything?

I was reminded in this case of the people who sailed to Patagonia on the Mimosa in the nineteenth century to establish Y Wladfa and the comment of Michael D Jones, founder of Y Wladfa, that he wanted to create a new little Wales beyond Wales.

Patagonia

As well as all this there is a narrative about the five of them trying to cope with their new lives on a remote island without electricity, the internet, mobile phones, with no means of connecting to the world beyond the island.  They had an EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) but they lost it in the sea.  Are there other people on the island?  What are they going to do with regards to eating, water to drink, shelter?

It also looks at the relationships that exist between the characters and how they change by virtue of the shocking and sudden changes to their lives and circumstances.  How much influence do circumstances have on our relationships with each other? Would they survive and stay the same if there were shocking and sudden changes in our lives?

After an unexpected discovery Morys, who complained about the English and English language oppressing Wales and destroying the language, culture and communities, begins to rant about doing exactly the same to other people.  He begins to denigrate and belittle the language, culture and community of others and insists on the supremacy of his own language and culture.  Can the oppressed become the oppressor? The ‘society’ that they have established on the island also begins to break down and fragment and the relationships are beginning to be tested.

Secrets

There’s another unexpected discovery that leads to a discussion about the ownership of the places we live in and developments for tourism and how this can have a negative impact on local people and on indigenous cultures.  This leads to an unexpected offer of help to leave the island.  Some of them want to stay, the rest want to leave. Secrets are revealed.  It seems that the experience is starting to affect some of them seriously and they are going insane.

After a tempestuous ending who is left?  Who has managed to escape?  Who has stayed and survived?  Are attempts to colonize the land of other people always doomed to failure? Does believing in the superiority of your own country, culture and language over others ultimately lead to their destruction? And how to protect your country, culture and language from those who want to destroy them?

Are extreme measures needed in order to defend the language, culture and communities of Wales?  The message I get in this novel is that the people of Wales, people born here and people who have moved here, have to fight harder for more control over decisions that affect them, their language, culture and communities. It also emphasizes the need for everyone to respect other languages, cultures and communities – the idea of ​​supremacy is a dangerous one.

Brodorion is published by Y Lolfa and you can buy a copy here…

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
1 month ago

Ardderchog cael rhywbeth i’w ddarllen yn Gymraeg, mwy os gwelwch yn dda 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.