Petition calling for Wales to only be referred to as Cymru receives surge in support
A petition calling to ‘abolish’ the name Wales in favour of its Welsh name, Cymru, has received a surge in support, with over 2,000 new signatures recorded in the last day alone.
However, Andrew RT Davies Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd has criticised the campaign, saying that he would prefer petitions highlighting the Welsh Government’s ‘failures’ instead.
The official Senedd petition, created by Arfon Jones says: “Wales is a name imposed on Cymru and is essentially not a Welsh word at all. The world knows about Wales because of its English connection since 1282.
“Hardly anyone has heard of Cymru or realises that we have our own unique language and culture which is totally different from the other countries within the United Kingdom.”
With over 7,000 signatures at the time of writing, the petition will almost certainly reach its target of 10,000 by 13 June 2024.
If 10,000 signatures are received, “it will be considered for a debate in the Senedd”.
The petition comes hot on the heels of decisions to only use one name, Bannau Brycheiniog, in place of Brecon Beacons National Park in 2023, which itself followed Snowdonia National Park Authority’s vote to use Yr Wyddfa and Eryri rather than Snowdon and Snowdonia in November 2022.
Efforts are also underway in Wales to preserve important place names such as lakes which are being lost or sidelined in favour of newer English names.
Using only Cymru for Wales would not be a new thing on the world stage either. Notably, Türkiye officially dropped its former title, Turkey, at the United Nations in 2022, after it agreed to a formal request from Ankara.
Several international bodies have been asked to make the name change as part of a rebranding campaign launched by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan who in December 2022 said, much in line with the backers of the Welsh petition: “Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the Turkish people’s culture, civilization, and values.”
From Mumbai to Kyiv, people across the world are choosing to drop place names imposed upon them, and with the name Wales meaning ‘foreigners’, unlike the Welsh word, ‘Cymru’ which means ‘fellow countrymen’ – it’s a clear case of a name given to Wales vs a name chosen by Wales itself.
Former PCC and supporter of the petition, Arfon Jones (not to be mistaken with the petition’s creator who shares the same name) has said: “I think this is an excellent petition and should be supported. By using Cymru we are following Türkiye and Republika Hrvatska in promoting their original name.
“I hope Senedd Cymru support this petition and it’s been good to see a debate developing on this subject. To use Cymru is a natural development in our maturity as a nation.”
Andrew R T Davies, AM for South Wales Central, said on X: “I’d prefer to see petitions highlighting where Welsh Labour Government are failing on education, failing on the economy and failing on the Health Service.
“We’ve only recently just seen that massive petition that came to the Welsh Parliament that identified people’s frustration over the blanket 20mph across the whole of Wales where nearly half a million people signed that petition.
“Let’s not try and put both languages against each other, let’s celebrate both languages and celebrate the bilingualism of Wales.”
Welsh independence campaigner Gwern Gwynfil said: “There is nothing unusual about nations deciding on their own official names. Türkiey and Czechia are recent examples of this. In no way does this force others to change the names they use but it is a clear and confident expression of identity in a modern international context.
“More broadly it reflects a wider pride and recognition of authentic cultural values, from Uluru to Bannau Brycheiniog, this is also a global phenomenon.
“This is a normal thing for nations to do. Perhaps the more relevant issue here is why are some people so viscerally against the idea? What are they afraid of?”
The petition calling to ‘abolish the name ‘Wales’ and make ‘Cymru’ the only name for our country’ can be found here.
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