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Opinion

Sanctuary not Jeopardy

26 Apr 2023 4 minute read
Photo Gareth Fuller PA Images

Gwern Gwynfil, CEO YesCymru

It is deeply unfortunate that, until we regain our Independence, we will not be able to truly reflect our cultural heritage outwardly in the way that we would wish as a nation. It is hard to build our history and heritage into a new national identity when we don’t have the levers and authority to do so. When we are not free to do so.

We have a very stark demonstration of this right now in the repressive and inhumane ‘Stop the Boats’ and Rwanda deportation policies and laws proposed by the current Westminster government whilst the Senedd has designated Wales as a country of sanctuary.

It may already be the case that this proposal will break international law – apparently the Westminster government is happy to be testing the limits of UK law and international law in its quest to demonise and expel refugees and asylum seekers. We have seen imagery of the current Home Secretary posing in the newly built ‘internment’ camps in Rwanda – chillingly reminiscent of 20th century concentration camps.

Her apparent delight at the prospect of deporting refugees and, potentially, even the victims of human trafficking and modern slavery practices, is an extreme contrast to Wales’ openness and tolerance as a nation of sanctuary.

Complicit

However, as part of the Union, Wales remains involuntarily complicit in the actions of Westminster and the implementation of these policies – something the data shows is entirely against the natural inclinations of the vast majority of Wales. It is in direct contravention of the position taken by our democratically elected representatives.

Let us stand up as a nation, united, to reject this abhorrent mistreatment of those in suffering and need. To stand silent is to condone the actions of Westminster – we must voice our discontent loudly, with vigour, confidence, and bravery. Ultimately, we must break our ties to a system which allows, which believes, that such intolerance and lack of humanity is acceptable in the 21st century.

Here in Wales let us remember that our cultural heritage does not match that of the dominant culture of the past centuries. When the Welsh King Hywel Dda codified the oral laws and traditions of Wales in the 11th Century, women’s rights were enshrined in those laws.

Our cultural understanding here in Wales is historically rooted in a belief in equality. We should be proud of this and draw upon it ourselves as we fashion our new Wales, fit for a modern era of tolerance, diversity, and equality. We should not settle for being part of the change but should lead the change by drawing on the strength of our own history.

There is a solid image emerging of Wales looking to reflect its own, broadly socially democratic, principles but constantly being thwarted by membership of a Union where the dominant player does not reflect the same worldview.

Such is the dominance of England within that Union that this will never change. Westminster will always bring down its heel on Wales and on Scotland when we diverge from their chosen path. Either by simply ignoring us or overruling us roughshod and without qualm.

Toxic

This is perceived as a strength by Westminster and by Unionists. A legacy of the need for unity of purpose in a different world, initially as we collectively led the world through the industrial revolution and latterly as we stood united against the twin toxic ideologies of the 20th century, fascism, and soviet communism.

All this is in the past. It will not return. The Industrial revolution is over, and this is the century of the digital revolution. That process itself has changed the dynamic of international relationships, politically and economically.

Wales needs to break away and forge its own path and only Independence will allow us to do so.

Perhaps the difference in worldview has always been plain to see in the name we call ourselves and that we have been given. Wales – land of the foreigners. Cymru – land of my fellow citizens.

We should all be proud to call everyone who lives in Cymru, whatever their background, origin and current belief, a fellow citizen.

Together we can build a new Wales, a new Cymru, where there is a culture of civic responsibility, of contribution, of co-operation and community support. Such things are deep in our psyche in Wales and can be teased out and restored to the forefront of our lived lives. First, we must regain our confidence and belief in ourselves collectively. In our strength as individuals and, together, as a nation.

We are strong, we can be Independent, we should be Independent – let’s unite and make it happen.


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Iago Prydderch
Iago Prydderch
1 year ago

Wales already has the power, through devolution, to promote its history and heritage. This reads more like a manifesto for a future socialist republic of Wales than a real attempt to promote Welsh heritage. What is advocated is more likely to damage the very history and heritage that is mentioned. To quote from a law that was codified by a medieval king who ruled in a feudal society to protect the ruling elite in order to promote a future socialist Wales is comical. Medieval Welsh kings defended their kingdoms from invasions. Modern ‘nationalists’ want to destroy heritage to build their… Read more »

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
1 year ago
Reply to  Iago Prydderch

Seriously? How utterly naive. When the hell are the rich ever going to co operate with the poor? The rich are the ones responsible for creating the poor in the first place.

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
1 year ago

I wouldn’t give any credence to a fool ignorant enough to fall for that right wing trap of parroting propaganda in such an absent minded manner. Maybe one day you can learn to think for yourself.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 year ago

Maybe Iago is a bit miffed that there isn’t enough emphasis on the creation of a neo-feudal Wales. It seems that he also doesn’t like socialism very much. In the early 5th century there was a character known to history as the Sicilian Briton. His name isn’t known, but he did come from Britain. He was pretty adamant in his egalitarian beliefs. He considered that society was made up of three different classes, the rich, the poor and those with enough. He advocated redistributing the excess wealth of the rich so that society was then made up of people with… Read more »

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
1 year ago

It is obvious that our Unionist overlords have not and will not offer much to Wales apart from token gestures. England is falling down a rabbit hole of their own making, blind to needs of their own citizens, let alone ours. Wales must escape the clutches of this wholly dysfunctional union before we are forced to endure more of their growth fantasies (at a cost to our environment), their appalling treatment of minorities including refugees, an extended succession of their incompetent governments, their foreign adventurism and another round of their nuclear follies. A future Cymru awaits that will restore our… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
1 year ago
Reply to  Neil Anderson

I hope you meant equality and not equity.

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
1 year ago

Gwern Gwynfil must be removed from his post immediately.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 year ago
Reply to  Ivor Schilling

Why on earth do you say that?

Phil
Phil
1 year ago

You probably don’t smoke, Gwern, but you’ve created a near-perfect pipe dream! Fantasy!

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil

I always remember a business consultant who said to me that it is better to aim for perfection and miss than aim for imperfection and hit.
I wonder if he was correct, as in the former one has an ideal to aim for, rather than to be a manager of crisis.

All fighters for liberation and independence have had that ideal. It hasn’t always worked but at least to believe you may be heading in the best direction for the people.

It is a battle of ideals.
On what he wrote above Gwern is right for the post.

Gareth Westacott
1 year ago

To the editor: Why have several of my comments on the post by ‘Che Guevara’s Fist’ been deleted?

Last edited 1 year ago by Gareth Westacott
CJPh
CJPh
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Mansfield

Not a fan of that particular poster’s views, but I’m glad to see Nation standing against such manipulations that undermine freedom of expression. I’r gad.

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