Today we gather to remember and to celebrate the sacrifices made by Owain Glyndŵr in his quest to establish a true Welsh nation after nearly 200 years of Anglo-insult. But today I don’t wish to inform of his plans for university education in Wales to rival Oxbridge; nor of his ability to rally our nation in search of a dignified future. Of course, one might even regard Glyndŵr himself as starting his rebellion for his own personal ends and we could call his desire to maintain a monarchy (albeit a Welsh one) as archaic and backward. However, in the shadow of his achievements and devotion, the people of Wales have since had over 600 years to add to and to refine his ideas – making them applicable and relevant in Wales’ modern search for national and world-wide equality.
But Glyndŵr wasn’t the only one who has ever put the vast needs of others before his own. In 1981, when, after 66 days of internment, Bobby Sands was to become the first of ten hunger strikers to be allowed to die by the British establishment in Ireland. “Our revenge,” he once said, “will be the laughter of our children.” When I thought of these words, I tried endlessly to apply them to the cause of Welsh independence. In the end, I could only admit that it is us who will be the laughter of our children.
But it will happen. Wales will eventually join the progressive nations around the world. Catalonia, Scotland, the Basque Country and 32 united counties of Ireland will all keep a place for us as we too unite to seek global dignity. And when it does happen, the battered and sorry state in which Wales currently finds itself will be confined to textbooks and to archived BBC documentaries in the darkest corners of YouTube.
Self-sufficiency and independence is a natural progression of life. From the moment we are born we claw back the instincts that our parents so selflessly provided for us until, with a bit of luck, we ourselves can stand on our own feet. My only hope is that Glyndŵr and his followers (past, present and future) will stand as testament to what will undoubtedly become known as Wales’ dark ages under foreign rule. The flame we maintain right here and right now will be a beacon amongst our children’s laughter.
But the question is how. In a world where it’s far easier to conform to Anglo-Britishness than to persistently maintain the dream that is freedom, how can we ensure that there are enough of us to carry the hope? William Wallace thought 100 would be enough, proclaiming; “as long as a hundred of us remain alive, never will we, on any conditions, be subjected to the lordship of the English. It is, in truth, not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up.” Where are our 100?
In his book, Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell’s protagonist, Winston Smith, realises the true key in breaking the shackles of Big Brother and the Party: “Until they [the ordinary, common people] become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
We must talk and we must share. Just like anyone with any knowledge of Cymraeg should actively seek any opportunity to use the language (no matter their audience), we, as followers of the dream that is Welsh independence, must actively discuss and share the vast benefits of striking our own way in this world.
Hold not onto the fear that we are fed. Big Brother can watch all he likes – I hope he is! You are right. You are Glyndŵr, Sands and Wallace. You are our independence.