Dear all, I have been thinking about various aspects of culture and community and the ongoing effects of British oppression of other cultures. I have tended to start going off on tangents on other people's discussions as their opinions have begun to feed my thoughts. Sorry for that. I get interested in an idea and then I'm off. Instead of continuing to ramble on in comment fields..... I thought I should start a new discussion.
This was written in response to the idea that western (American and British) oppression of other cultures is akin to abuse. The ideas aren't fully formulated, and the facts not fully explored...yet! But this is a subject very dear to my heart and I would love to explore it further. Please share your thoughts and have a great weekend.
On Celtic Culture and British Cultural Oppression It is interesting how you describe America's oppression of native culture as abusive as I have felt very much the same way about the "British" oppression of cultures in the United Kingdom. We don't refer to these cultures as indigenous however as the native cultures there, are themselves made up of a mixed bag of once invading people. England has been invaded and inhabited by peoples from all over Northern Europe since the dawn of time: Vikings, Celts, Normans, Saxons, Roman.
However, in the far corners of England and in Ireland are the remnants of people we most often refer to as Celtic in heart, soul and culture. They have been least affected by the "English" melting pot. They are the Cornish, the Welsh, the Scottish and the Irish. And there will be a few groups of people within those regions that will define themselves further. All these people speak a similar language believed to be of Celtic origin: Gallic, Gaelic or of Gaul (which is/was Northern France.) I will need to look at the history in more depth at some point, but I think it was under Cromwell that England truly began to oppress the cultures of these people in order to bring everyone under one government and in line with one vision. This meant traditional clothing , music, song and language was attempted to be wiped out. In addition in Ireland, land was taken over, the original inhabitants were transplanted to less fertile land and exiled or executed. In the case of my own Irish ancestors, they were moved by force from their chiefdom in Leinster to Galway where they were given smaller patches of land and became tenant farmers under English landlords. During the famine in 1850 they moved to Lancaster, England to find work int he mines. That's how I came to be English!!!
I don't know if it is the western mindset that is abusive, but perhaps the patriarchal society. Celtic culture as well as native indigenous culture in America and Canada is actually matriarchal and based on the mother goddess and nature. Although today those cultures are a mix of celtic christianity or catholicism. which is a mix of spiritual connection to nature, worship of the virgin mary "the mother" and Traditional christianity I think. It is much more feminine I feel.
The other thing I wanted to say was that I am wondering how much of the Britain and American culture of oppression has been borne out of this history. It was the English who came to inhabit America all those years ago who first oppressed the native cultures here and it is the English who as a country and culture have suffered through years of invasion and conquest themselves. Perhaps this cosmopolitan mixed bag of heritage that makes up every English person has created this culture of oppressing and invading others? This need for power and control over others.This continued "western" belief that if we successfully control another country then we can feel safe knowing they won't control us! perhaps. I think that was the original reason given for the war in Iraq and against terror?
My thoughts aren't entirely formulated at the moment so apologies to anyone reading this if I sound uneducated on the subject. These are thoughts and ponderings not facts. Another thought is that the English who first founded America, who first came here, did so to pursue a new puritanical lifestyle they did not feel able, or safe to pursue, in their homeland. When I think of this as an area of study I think of it as the psychology of nations. Just like people who are abusive have very often been abused and mistreated themselves, perhaps abusive cultures and nations are acting in a similar way, except instead of over a lifetime, over centuries.
Things are most definitely different in England today. The second world war and the threat of invasion and conquest from the Germans following the tragedy of the first world war in such a short time of history had a massive impact on the hearts and minds of all Britons which continues to impact us all today. Put that all together with the incessant grey skies and bad dentistry and is it any wonder we're a grumpy lot! Okay that last bit was a joke.
Much love to you all and thanks for listening.