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CELTIC-L  February 1999

CELTIC-L February 1999

Subject:

Welsh annexion, was Re: Knights of Tir Na Nog

From:

"Mag.phil. Raimund Karl" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mag.phil. Raimund Karl

Date:

Tue, 16 Feb 1999 12:32:21 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (145 lines)

mike brown wrote:
>
> >Symbolic of almost 800 years of annexion!
>
> >Simply an historian...etc.

Sorry, mike, but you are wrong in a number of points.

First, I am not a convert, as you indicate in your other message. In
difference to what you might think, I have always supported Welsh,
Scottish and Northern Irish independence, the only difference between
our points of view is that I am not very sympathetic with a) dreams that
Welsh etc. culture can be saved by outside help, b) claims that the evil
English are responsible for everything that threatens Welsh etc. culture
with extinction, c) historicistic arguments to stake claims for land,
rights or anything else, d) dreams that independence is a prime
requisite for saving Welsh etc. culture, e) claims that creating
reservations for "Welsh etc. only" will help to save Welsh etc. culture.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should be granted their's
independence if the inhabitants of those countries wish so, but not, in
my opinion, because of claims like you issue once in a while, as your
claims and arguments tend to raise expectations that, in my opinion,
will not be possible to satisfy, and not for the reasons which you give,
as most of them can be easily seen as an expression of a fascist mindset
- which I do not want to accuse you of, as this is much too often used
as a killer phrase. I only see the danger that what you say could easily
be interpreted as fascist ideas, which could have a very detrimental
effect to both your ideas and your reputation.

Also, I think that your arguments are often way off what I conceive as
reality, be it political or otherwise - which, of course, doesn't mean
that my conception of reality has to be correct, but it might be shared
by quite a number of people which might be able to help with your plans
or hinder them - as such it probably is better I play the devil's
advocate here for you as that you face such opposition only as late as
when you're standing in front of those who really could help or hinder
you and are not prepared for it.

But now to your responde to Gearóid:
>
> Sorry Gearo/id, but RAY's statement is loaded with meaning as there is no
> such thing as a neutral historian.

Well, we have a definition problem here. What is a neutral historian?
For instance, Austria is, by definition, a neutral country, as such I,
as an Austrian, could claim that I am neutral, and as I am a historian,
I could claim that I am a neutral historian.
If we have to, let's stay with terminology from scientific theory, and
say that there's no objective historian, but objective subjectivity is,
following Popper on this, possible.

As such, it is possible to reach some extent of objectivity, which more
or less would be neutrality in regard to historic statements. Under this
aspect, the statement I made in regard to the annexion of Wales should
be seen - of course I said that Wales was annexed, as this is a fact of
history, which can easily be documented if one looks at the documents
available to us. No one who knows the documents could seriously claim
that what now is Wales was always a part of England, and be it only due
to the fact that England did not exist prior to a certain date. It is
also well evident from the documents that the king of England conquered
a number of, well, let's call it petty kingdoms, that made up more or
less what is modern Wales, and thereby we can, consistently, call this
an annexion, as he came to the possesion of that land by war, which is
more or less the definition of annexion - he conquered it.

My statement should not, however, be seen in a moral sense. I did not
state that this was good or bad, right or wrong, I simply stated the
fact that this happened. Also, no political claims should be deduced
from it - in that I stated that Wales was annexed I did not state that
Wales has or has not any rights to freedom based on that fact.

> For example, many conservative historians
> would argue that the 1536 Act of Union effectively ended the act of annexion
> (in 1282) because the preamble to that Act stated that Wales "is and always
> has been part of England"(my paraphrasing of an historical fiction), hence
> not annexed anymore.

Sorry, this is not history but politics. This perhaps changes the
political status of Wales and England, or deals with legal problems, but
in no way changes the historical fact how Wales was aqquired by the
English king - in that he conquered it. It is not up to historians to
decide if Wales nowadays is part of England or not - this is a matter
for politicians. It is also not possible, by issuing laws, making
treaties or doing anything in that way, to change historical acts - I
can make any law I like today and claim that it justifies any act in the
past, but historical actions have always to be seen in the frame of
their own timeset, and as such, Wales was, in the 13th century, annexed
by England.

> However, to recognise 800 years of Welsh annexion to
> England is to recognise that Wales is a conquered nation, but nevertheless a
> once separate nation (of course this point itself will be argued by some
> 'Empire' historians).

No, by recognising 800 years of Welsh annexion I only recognise the
historical fact that Wales came under control of the English by a
military act. Of course Wales is a conquered nation, as is England, as
is Austria, as is any other nation on this planet, more or less.
However, it is not possible to apply the term of nation to the Wales
that was annexed, as no national identity in a modern sense existed in
the 13th century. Wales as a country, not as a nation, was annexed by
England, and this is the reason, to return to the original point, why
the prince and princess of Wales have this title. As such, the title is
symbolic ot 800 years of the annexion of the country Wales.

> Thus RAY's statement is not some simple, unopposed
> historical fact from a value-neutral historian, but a statement loaded in
> political/nationalist meaning.
>
See, here you are wrong. You want to see it that way, but that's only
your interpretation of what I said. I made this statement as a objetivly
subjective, and in this sense "neutral", historian, but you deducted a
historicistic argumentation from it, which was, in no way, included in
my statement. This, above all, teaches us that texts should be read in
the context they are written, which is especially true for historical
texts, but applies to any text.

Additionally, it shows perfectly one of the main problems historians
have always faced in history - whatever statement they make, politicians
take it and use it in the way they like it. This is classical political
misuse of historical science, classical historicistic argumentation. In
exactly this way the Nazis used history and biology to "justify" their
claim to the superiority of Germans above all other "races", to their
right to the rule of Europe and the World. And this is what makes such
argumentation so dangerous.

RAY
________________________________________________________________________

RAY - Mag.phil. Raimund KARL
Universität Wien, Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte
A-1190 Wien, Franz Klein Gasse 1
E-Mail: <[log in to unmask]>
Internet: <http://unet.univie.ac.at/˜a8700035>
________________________________________________________________________

Visit the Celtic-L Resources Page at
<http://unet.univie.ac.at/˜a8700035/celtrese.html>
________________________________________________________________________

Privat: A-1120 Wien, Hasenhutgasse 7-11/9/4
Tel/AB/Fax: (+43 1) 8103629 oder mobil: (+43 676) 3048830
________________________________________________________________________

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