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Sanctuary not Jeopardy

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. 

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 an 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.

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.

Bendigeidfran's Blog

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