"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Wales doesn't have an 'official' national anthem.

This year I decided to post more six nations related content on my facebook and twitter pages. One of the features I decided to run with was the anthems, ahead of each match I decided to make a 'hymn sheet' featuring the anthems of each team. Naturally I'm not really going to seriously post that dirge to Betty but, as with many of the things I post I have learnt a few things that I didn't previously know or simply never bothered to pay attention to.

Hymn sheet ahead of Ireland v Wales
The above is an example of the 'hymn sheets' I have been making, it was for Ireland v Wales. Note that since Wales was the guest nation its anthem is used first. Ireland isn't a country on it's own, it's the amalgamation of the Republic of Ireland and the six counties. When they play home games they use two anthems, the first is 'Amhrán na bhFiann', the Soldier's Song. The ROI's official national anthem and it has been since 1926. When Ireland play home matches in the ROI they play this song followed by 'Ireland's Call', an anthem commissioned by the Irish Rugby Union.

Hymn sheet ahead of Scotland v England
As most people are no doubt aware, England has no official anthem. GSTQ is used as its defacto anthem which causes conflicts due to it also being the defacto anthem of the UK and its colonies. Even North Korea's anthem is a song about its people and country, yet here we have an anthem about a deity many do not believe in and an unelected monarch that many do not recognise and despise.

Scotland also has no official anthem. 'Flower of Scotland' is used as the defacto anthem and has been used as the rugby anthem since 1990 before their match against England which saw them win the Grand Slam, it was later adopted by the SFA to use before football matches in 1997.

Hymn sheet ahead of France v Italy
France v Italy (or the reverse fixture) is the only match in the six nations where the official anthems of both national teams are sung since Ireland is not the national team of one country. 'Il Canto degli Italiani' sings about unifying the Italian people who have been apart for far too long. Italy was, as late as the 19th Century, divided into differant kingdoms. Their anthem was only made official in November 2012. 'La Marseillaise' on the other hand was originally made the official anthem in 1795 before being banned. It was reinstated in 1879. The song was sung by revoluntionaries on the streets of France. It's also good to rememeber that France's official name is 'French Republic'.

So what about ours? 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' is the defacto national anthem of Wales. This means it is not official. This is something I hadn't ever thought about before, our anthem is something we take for granted. And since Wales is, unfortunately, a part of the UK that means we also have GSTQ as a defacto national anthem too. Thankfully the days of us having GSTQ forced upon us before sporting fixtures are over.

The above video clip is from Wales v France in 1968. The commentary is in French, the commentator is attempting to explain why the crowd is booing GSTQ before suddenly bursting into a raptorous rendition of 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau'. The ground even had to have the union rag raised. This is why people still boo that dirge to this day, it's not because we're anti-English, it's because we are against the imperialism that forced this anthem, flag and the colonialism that go with them upon us.

So that is where the petition comes in. I decided to petition the Senedd to make our defacto anthem our official national anthem. Raising the petition would have a few side benefits apart from the obvious benefit of having an official anthem. Firstly it tests the powers of the Senedd. Secondly it would expose any anti-Wales or anti-Welsh politicians for what they are if they went against it. Thirdly it would relegate GSTQ since that would remain only the defacto anthem of the UK whilst ours becomes our one and only official anthem. And who knows, maybe it might even inspire other countries to get themselves an official anthem.

I'll post more about this in the week and thanks to the translation service provided by the always helpful clerks at the petitions department I'll be able to post one yn Gymraeg. But for now I just wanted to explain why I raised it, if you would like to sign the petition on the Senedd website to call for 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' to be the official national anthem of Wales, please click through these links and sign.

Cymraeg - https://www.assemblywales.org/cy/e-petitions/epetition-list-of-signatories.htm?pet_id=971
English - https://www.assemblywales.org/epetition-list-of-signatories.htm?pet_id=971

And if you want an easy to remember link to share then it's bit.ly/gwladgwlad.

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