Herbert Colborne Oakley (1869 - 1944)
The Concerned Citizen
THE FLAG OF OUR FATHERS
THE RIGHT OF NATIONAL INDIVIDUALITY
To the Editor of the "West Wales Guardian"
Sir,- May I reply reply to your correspondents "F.D." and "One of the Welch" , who I note are careful to avoid revealing their identity. They have focussed attention on the insult offered to the Union Jack by supplanting it with the Welsh flag. I, on the other hand, wish to stress and emphasise that the students at Carnarvon wished to honour the Welsh flag, and, frankly, I applaud the deed, for I believe that I am interpreting these Welsh students correctly in affirming that they were not out to insult the Union Jack, but rather to give pride of place in a Welsh castle to the National flag of Wales. Are your correspondents content to see the Welsh flag in Wales taking a back seat? And are they disposed to apologise for its existence? If it be the National flag of Wales, its place is that of a foremost position in Wales. Is this treason? or contrary to reason?
Your "Welch" correspondent says that dragons belong in the nursery. It may be so - possibly he is conversant with the nursery and feels at home in its mental atmosphere, but mature people should outgrow the nursery - but if children in the nursery are familiar with the dragon folk-lore, then they should feel familiar with their country's flag, for the fact is, a dragon is the emblem in the Welsh flag, and it is up to the Welsh to duly honour it. Is it a matter for apathy or weak apology that the Welsh flag shall fly first and foremost in Wales? Have the Welsh, as your correspondent seems to suggest, become so materially minded and so obsessed with commercial gains to belittle and despise culture and lightly esteem their mother tongue? Does he mean to assert that Wales is content to merge her nationality into England's for a mess of pottage. Are national ideals to count for nothing? Is the getting of wealth to fill the horizon and sap the energies of Welsh enterprise to the exclusion of aught else? The Welsh are a Celtic nation - they have imagination and who can deny them ideals? We should be grateful to those ardent spirits who can rise above mere material to the high table land of great ideals, that seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness all other things needful and necessary shall in due course gratify their just desires. Your correspondent "Welch", with flippant quip, and doubtful taste, indulges in pointless ridicule, and reverting to personalities, asks do I wish to emulate De Valera and encourage Republican armies? I may say just this to him, that self advertisement is extremely distasteful to me, and the only form of it I am compelled to indulge in is to sign my name openly to that which I sincerely believe; the false modesty of anonymity - the courage of the opinion of others! - I have no sympathy with; principles we should affirm, personalities we should sink.
Summed up, the position is this, a nation is not an Empire, a nation has a perfect right to assert her individuality as such and this does not imply that she does not respect and recognise the nationality of other nations different from her own, and I am certain that the action of the Welsh students was not to deny or deride the loyalty of those who honour the Union Jack, in its proper place, but to honour the flag of Wales in Wales and among the Welsh. Will the Welsh condemn this, my attitude?
Do your correspondents complain of my patriotism? If not what precisely is their complaint? - Yours &c.,
|Home||Back to Lectures and Letters|