In March 2007 we carried a report by our roving correspondent about the amazing claim of a British family to all the lands around modern-day Jerusalem and its keen sense of centuries-old grievance over its dispossession. See Family History. In this second report our correspondent interviews a prominent Welsh activist, who yearns for the old lands and ways of his ancient British ancestors and deplores what Britain has become under the yoke of the conquerors.
June 12th, 2007
Daffyd ap Gwillym, 53, Welsh nationalist and orator, today laid formal claim to the City of London, its land, demesnes, farms, fields, buildings, sheep and goats, together with its fixtures, fittings, sanitary apparatus and appurtenances, its fish farms, dykes, pastures, monasteries, public houses, banks and houses of ill repute, commercial buildings, river frontages and car parks, including all property within a twenty five mile radius of London Bridge.
Said Daffyd ap Gwillym in an exclusive interview:
“My people were the ancient owners of all the lands of southern Britain. From the end of the Ice Age when they arrived in these lands, they quietly tended their flocks, grew their vegetables, and painted themselves a green colour. They never fought, swore or cheated on their wives. Anyway, not often.”
Ap Gwillam has claimed for years that the support of the U.S government for Israel justifies his claim for the restitution of lands since conquered by an assortment of illegal foreign immigrants, bent on land theft, rape and pillage. He cites, first, the Roman emperor Claudius, who subjugated the British. The Romans were followed by a motley assortment of Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Danes, who were mostly blond and were attracted by the sophisticated harp playing of the indigenous British. Says he, “The worst were the Normans, who forced freedom-loving, democratic British yeomen into the bogs and gloomy fastnesses of Welsh Wales, where the only things to do were to mine coal, tend sheep and spend the evening in the pub. What´s good enough for the Jewish people is good enough for the Welsh. Like the Jews we are smart, artistic people, canny businessmen, small and dark, with a great sense of humour - - when we are not thinking about the English.”
I asked ap Gwillym if he supported Plaid Cymru, the Welsh nationalist political party.
“ They say they want constitutional advancement of Wales with a view to attaining Full National Status for Wales within the European Union´. That´s exchanging one set of masters for another. No, we want our ancient rights from two thousand years ago, look you, Di bach” says ap Gwillym. “First, we want London, and we will not be fobbed off with rent either. We want our own nation, just like the Israelis, and just like the Israelis, we want total control of the land, air, and water, and the roads in and out of London. We also want to be able to establish settlements anywhere we wish, and send Welsh choirs on goodwill missions all over the world. They need jobs.”
Ap Gwillym, who can trace his ancestry back through medieval cattle raiders, highwaymen and poets to his direct ancestor, the warrior, Queen Boudicca, talks passionately about the religion of his forefathers, how the Druids sought a balance between the needs of the human race (sharing turf-roofed log cabins with muddy sheep) and the natural world around them (endless cold and murky rain).
“For centuries the bards have recited poetry about the gods, the sun, the moon, and the stars,” says ap Gwillym. “They have composed music for the harp and the flute at eisteddfods (see note below), venerating our streams and lakes, our copses and holy groves, our oaks, our mistletoe and holly, our mountains and valleys, and the landscaped slag heaps around the abandoned coalmines.
I asked ap Gwillam whether he still believed in the old Celtic religion. How relevant are the ancient British polytheistic beliefs to the 21st century?
“Ours is a growing and vigorous religion” he replied, “It has not been written down, like the Old Testament of the Hebrews, but has been handed down by word of mouth from father to son. Now we celebrate the land of Wales, but two thousand years ago we praised in song the whole land, from the Wash in the East to Lands End. When the mongrel English race took possession of the land they desecrated it, leached the goodness from it and left it scarred and ugly, defaced with motorways, petrol stations, and ugly sprawl over the land sacred to us and our forefathers. All of that land is truly ours and has been ours since time immemorial. We have to heal it, and to heal it we must have control over it.
I asked ap Gwillym what he would do with London were it to be given back in fee simple, to have and to hold from that time on and for ever more.
“We need to control the towering heights of the economy - - the Sun newspaper, the personality magazines, and all the ATMs.”
And afterwards, I asked him?
“Look you,” says he, “We would get rid of licensing hours, reduce the price of beer and build a decent rugby stadium. Then we would repatriate the inhabitants and if necessary build a big wall right round London to stop them coming back. Very few protested when the Israelis built their wall.“
I pointed out that this would provoke terrorist activity and active resistance. After all, it is two thousand years since the ancient British controlled London.
“Time doesn´t matter. Only justice matters. The land is ours. Our religion says it is and our druids confirm it. Resistance would be crushed. That´s the price of freedom and democracy,” he claimed. “We have to turn away from consumerism and once again embrace nature, and plant flowers and trees. And once we get our hands on London we will be able to write better poetry.”
I asked if he thought the Welsh had been the subject of misrepresentation over the years?
Our folk heroes and their ancient deeds of yesteryear have been passed down to us from earliest time in documents such as The Red Book of Hergest, the White Book of Rhydderch and the Book of Aneiran. But the conquerors write the history, command the media, and pay no attention to venerable folk tales. We are accused of thieving and of not paying what we owe. Paddy is a Welshman, Paddy is a thief, the children are taught. It is a wicked lie. Maybe sometimes our men of business are taken to court for non-payment, but it is only because the central government is slow in sending our benefit money to Cardiff.
I pointed out that that the Jewish religion is known and respected all over the world, and is the basis of the Christian religion, not to mention the Moslem one. Few people understand the old druidic culture.
“Our poets embody a powerful religious message about the world the gods have given us and our duty to preserve and protect that world, living in harmony with it. Our druids taught environmentalism long before it became fashionable among the English middle class. Just because they are mainly old windbags, dressed up in white bedsheets and haven´t much else to do except draw social security, they have been accused of being a hot air variety of the Klu Klux Klan. But they keep alive the old ways, our magnificent language (which, I admit, is three quarters English), the ancient tales (the English call them myths) and the connection with the land. It is as valid as the Jewish religion that also claims its connection with a specific geographic area. And that land around London is our land, given us by the gods and taken away by successive invaders. We want it back!”
NOTE: An eisteddfod is a competitive festival of music and poetry, mainly used by the Welsh as a means of getting a surreptitious mid-day nap during a performance.
Daffyd ap Gwillym is the author of Something for Nothing - - a Welsh Handbook on how to Game the British Social Security System”