The struggle for the Welsh language would seem an irrelevance at a time when many people are trying desperately to survive : when unemployment is rife and cuts seriously affecting services and benefits.
   Is Cymraeg a luxury we can ill afford during such austere times?
   First and foremost, the struggle to ensure that Welsh has parity with English and thrives into the future, is not one which can be separated from much wider issues.
   Parents are increasingly denied choice when Welsh language provision in education is denied because of limited budgets. In Merthyr, for example, there is a need for another Welsh-medium Primary, yet this is only  a long-term possibility.
   Graduates and school-leavers educated in Welsh often have to seek work elsewhere and cannot use their bilingualism in employment which would help the language flourish.
   S4C has undergone a huge culling process in the last year and lost some of its best programmes as a result, such as 'Bandit'. Its total lack of appeal to young people remains an ominous concern.
   Cymdeithas Yr Iaith has always acknowledged the way that other vital issues effect the language's very existence and has taken an active role in the past against the ownership of second homes and closure of rural schools.
   However, there is still a need to look beyond the purely material.
   People still need more than the basics of a decent job and home. For some it might  be the 'X Factor' on television, for others a spiritual solution. For many in Wales it is the learning of Welsh and with it a discovery of a sense of purpose and belonging.
   Many are learning for all manner of reasons (including some who have moved from England) : to help their children at school, to use it at work,
to socialize or to find out more about the culture of Wales and reclaim the past.
   Despite its apparently healthy state, Welsh still isn't given equal status by private companies and even some public services remain shamefully negligent.
   Merthyr Welsh language campaigner Jamie Bevan was recently released from a short spell in prison for his activism.
   Jamie was carrying on the fine tradition of civil disobedience so integral to Cymdeithas.
   People who simply aren't bothered about the language may well call it pointless. But to me he was showing us all - through his remarkable stance - that society's injustices can be fully confronted.
   As a protest against spending cuts imposed on S4C, he broke into a Tory Party office. He was later fined, but refused to pay this because the orders were not sent in Welsh.
   Even in prison he continued to highlight the gross injustices of the system. He was denied access to any activities at Cardiff Prison because they gave him forms to fill in English only, refusing his requests for Welsh ones.
   This is Jamie's 'Pennill Carchar Cymreig' which he sent me while there :-

                         Yn y carchar budur hwn
                         mae na ambell i swyddog call
                         ond y rhan fwyaf yn dweud :
                         'Welsh, wos that?'
                         'You're 'avin a f**kin laff!'

                          Dim llyfrau, dim gym
                          na dim dewis bwyd
                          dim ffon, dim bacco
                          na dim bywyd rwydd.

                          Jest taro dy enw ar linell y Sais
                          'And fall in line for an easy life...
                          stop talking your shit and givin' strife...
                          sign the forms for an easy life.'

   Jamie was a Welsh political prisoner who refused to be cowed into submission.
   In this short poem he expresses the constraints of the prison and refuses to conform. He serves as an inspiration to those who are learning Welsh, to Welsh-speakers  and those who care about the language.
   He is an activist aware of the broader perspective and, indeed, he was arrested at the protest against Mrs Windsor's visit to Merthyr, only to be released without charge.
   If people dismiss Cymraeg as  peripheral, then they are denying a fundamental part not just of our past, but of the future and the real possibility of a fully bi-lingual nation.
   I've heard some talk about elitist education and 'jobs for the boys', but in most parts of Wales it isn't the crachach who are sending their children to Welsh-medium  schools, but working and middle-class families who are not 'ordinary', but have made an 'extraordinary' decision.


                                         LLYTHYR  I   JAMIE

Diolch Jamie am dy waith
yn y carchar dros yr iaith

diolch am dy safiad,
siom bod mwy ddim yn gwybod

ac yn siarad a fi'n amyneddgar :
pob brawddeg amser hir i ddysgwr

diolch am y cerdd bach yn y llythyr
llawn o jocs mawr fel arfer

diolch i sgrifennu am y dyfodol,
mae angen mwy fel ti yn yr ardal

diolch am dy ysbryddoliaeth,
wedi dechrau ar yr un taith

diolch i ti, cyd-wladwr, gwerinaethwr,
sosialydd fel fi, o Ferthyr.




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Comments

He is a good leader and i believe if nation have good leaders then you will go through with prosperity.

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