ARZANO, 12th of July : The Gorsedd celebrates its 110 years ! The next 12th of July at l’Auberge du Cleuziou in Arzano (Finistère) The Gorsedd of Brittany, attended by the Delegates of Wales and Cornwall, will celebrate the 110th Anniversary of its foundation.

In fact, it was in July 1899 that the Archidruid of Wales (Hwfa Môn) admitted and recognised the Gorsedd of Brittany. In this respect, one delegate of Wales will read a poem in the circle of the Gorsedd. Since 1899, the ritual of the united sword, has been celebrated at the ceremony of the Gorsedd Digor (annual Public ceremony). The « united sword » is the symbol of bringing the Celtic people together from each side of the sea. The ritual gets focussed in all the Gorsedd, and this year , for the 1st time, in September, it will be celebrated in Cornwall. Fully inspired by the poet Lamartine, the ritual proves that the Gorsedd has always been involved in the building of the pacific and united Europe. But this year, it’s also the Thomas Paine’s death be-centenary anniversary A strong « citizen of the world » (in fact, he was an American, English, French citizen) ! Paine was full of admiration for the French Revolution and wrote for his defence against the British reactionaries « the Rights of Man » published in 1792. Criticizing the British Monarchy, he was banished from the country to USA, where he supported the insurgents in a famous brochure which gave inspiration to Washington, Benjamin Rush and John Adams. After his Return to England in 1787, he went back to France and got involved in the fight for the Republic. Proclaimed as a French citizen on the 24th of August 1792, he was elected MP of Pas de Calais at the Convention on the 6th September 1792. Sent in Jail under the Terreur, he was blamed for his English birth and his close friendship with the Girondins. He went back to the United states to end his life. Friend to Iolo Morgannwg, founder of the Gorsedd of Wales in 1792, Thomas Paine knew very well the Druidism in which he sees the real beginning of the freemasonry. First of all, in his posthumous book, regarding this matter , he made out the universalistic character Barack Obama, in his inaugural address in last January alluded to Thomas Paine’s action one of America’s Founding Fathers who coined the name of « United States of America ».The daily newspaper the « Guardian » reports that surprisingly the British medias kept under silence the be-centenary anniversary of his death, regarding France, she doesn’t seem doing better. In Arzano, on the next 12th of July, the Gorsedd of Brittany promises to atone for this severe unfairness.

No to ethnic cleansing !

The term Communitarism is frequently utilised in certain circles to monopolise the Republican Idea and discredit the action of cultural, religious or ethnic groups blocking recognition of their rights. This ‘etiquette’ has been applied notably to the defenders of Breton language and culture .

The actions of these human groups even when engaged in democratic struggle is deemed to put in peril the unity and indivisibility of the Republic.

The Gorsedd of Brittany, the brotherhood of Druids, Bards and Ovates of Brittany , a society of humanist thought wishes to focus attention on a raw reality in the face of front-room fantasy masquerading as philosophy.

In fact there is no alternative but to conclude that discrimination as a principle, emanates most firmly from the very top of the Republican State. In reality this rank today knows how to manipulate the distinctions between the different stakeholders of French Nationality in total contravention to the 1st article of the Constitution.

More serious still : the Directors of the French Republic are carrying out a selective operation of repression and of stigmatisation against a particular ethnic group, in the shape of the Rom, as much citizens of Europe as the French.

This visible slide into disgrace has made its presence known in the wake of the sickening atmosphere which was introduced along with the ‘debate’ on the French national identity.

The foreign press has already categorised the political practice of the French government as Ethnic Cleansing .

The Breton Gorsedd condemns this Security unpinning as the racist stink of a government trying to disguise the matters that gnaw at it, and the obvious political social and economic stasis . We call for participation in the action led notably by the League for the Rights of Man on the 4 September next.

Respected delegates from Wales, from Cornwall; brothers and sisters, dear friends.

I extend our welcome to everyone here as we celebrate our Open Gorsedd which this year is dedicated to Jean Le Fustec, or Lemenik his name as Grand Druid.

He died a hundred years ago. He was the first Grand Druid of Brittany. He made our Gorsedd succeed in its first steps under the sun, the eye of the day.

Lemenik venerated greatly the Barddas, the writings of Iolo Morganwg, founder of the Gorsedd in Great Britain. He believed that the ideas expressed there came from the times of the ancient Celts.

He was a man inspired by the theory of the three circles of existence. For him the whole world, the universe, had been plunged into a sea of spirit which constituted its principal material. So he was following the tracks of people like John Toland to recover a philosophy which one called pantheism.

So it was that our first Grand Druid had opened a highway leading to reflection, to enquiry and to spirituality.

We are still on that highway never forgetting what is feeding our spirit and our quest on the plain of our culture. That is those real Druids who brought to our people its song and its flag, that’s to say the visible symbols of our nationality.

Let’s continue to advance, my friends, for we are very far from the end of the road with the dangerous reform which the Government is proposing at this time.

Under the pretext of making economies and increasing efficiency, our leaders have decided to change the method of electing general and regional counsellors. Was that the most important thing to do when the State fails to say clearly distinctly, and immediately how the competencies and powers of the regions will be augmented ?

In Spain, in Great Britain, in Germany, in almost all the great democracies of Europe, weight is given to the regions. The budget of the rump of Brittany is 1.1 million euros as against 32 millions in Scotland !

Instead of giving more budgetary control to the regions, the State has decided to hold down the professional tax which would assure the finance of local communities ! The State as under the Ancien Régime decides at its own pleasure what it will allow to its subjects !

Worse still, the State intended to do away with the « general competence », that’s to say the capacity the Region has to intervene in several fields on political matters. As it happens the Senate has just re-established it, but what will remain of it at the end of day nobody can know at all at this time!

The new law offers the possibility as well for cities to compete for whole regions. Let’s be prepared that the old rivalry between Rennes and Nantes could find itself revived which will cause confusion. Divide and rule ! End decentralisation, let recentralisation commence !

It is equally a question of changing the method of election of regional and general councillors who will become territorial councillors elected in the cantons. Their number will be reduced by the State without taking account of the number of voters they represent ! The action of the Prince once more !

At the latest regional elections, the government didn’t meet with great success, would they want then to avenge themselves on the regions ?

The region will be no more than a hotchpotch of cantons looking like horses and pigs kept in the same stable to feed the same lice ? Is it necessary to scuttle the town of Ys so that Paris might float ?

The number of counsellors will be halved and there will be no proportional election. Several associations defending women’s right have emphasised one fact: the proportion of women is threatened with shrinkage from now on and it is possible that only 17% will remain of the 48% presently existing.

The French State is nevertheless in the sixty-fifth place in the world, and nineteenth in Europe for the number of women sitting in legislative assemblies.

So France is the fatherland of male rights but when will she become that of equal rights ? Will not this kind of thing finally make her lose her national identity ?

It is time for the Region to speak in a loud voice here and also abroad. The enlargement of the region’s political field of action is both a necessity and a hope for the future.

A vice-president of the languages of Brittany has been named. That is a good thing. We hope that she will really have the means to carry out her mission. We wish her good luck in her work !

The President of the Regional Council is the first minister of the Bretons, because he is the result of universal suffrage. So his words carry weight. We hope therefore that he will express himself boldly and against Paris if he needs to.

Long live Brittany, long live the Breton people, long live our Gorsedds !

Right Honourable delegates from Wales, from Cornwall, Brothers and sisters, dear friends,

One Hundred and ten years have gone by since the first Bretons were received in Cardiff by Hwfa Môn, archdruid of the Welsh Gorsedd. When I say received, I mean received as brothers and members of the Gorsedd, that of Wales at the time, before becoming members of the Breton Gorsedd, when Bretons decided to constitute a Gorsedd on the Welsh pattern on this side of the sea.

They were walking in the footsteps of Kervarker (La Villemarqué) at Abergafenny in 1838, they wanted to bring the Bretons together on each side of the sea, and they wanted to unite the fragments of the sword broken by the vagaries of History.

So much has been done since by our Gorseddau ! They celebrated the eighty years of the Gorsedd in Cornwall last year and the symbolic rite of the « United Sword » will be henceforth a central rite within our Gorseddau when they do it for the first time in Cornwall next September.

We're saying « Thank you to the Welsh people and to Hwfa Môn, « the Prince of Archdruids of the past, present and future » as he was called by Charles Le Goffic at that time. Thank you for your recognition. « Diolch i chi, Brodyr o Gymru, am eich nawddogaeth » « Meur ras dhywgh-hwi, Breder Kernow, a'gas fydhyans ».

We're celebrating this year too the bicentenary of Thomas Paine's death. He was a friend of Iolo Morganwg, the genial founder and creator of the Gorsedd. Thomas Paine was born at Thetford in England in 1737. He went to America where he became involved in the independence and liberty of this country which he named for the first time « the United States of America » . His pamphlet « Common sense » , published a few months before the Declaration of Independence in 1776, was a tremendous success and had a deep impact on George Washington and John Adams.

Coming back to England, he welcomed the French Revolution. He wrote, « The Rights of Man » in 1792. To him those rights applied also to women. He was made a French citizen and elected MP but he refused to vote for the King's death. He was therefore sent to prison under the « Terreur » because of his English birth and of his close friendship with the « Girondins » .

In his book « The Age of Reason » he criticised the Christian religion and the terrible stories told in the Bible, which did in no way encourage good relationships between mankind. He did however respect people's creeds. He called for a reduction of up to ninety percent in permanent armies to enable the world to live in peace. He fought against slavery, thus offending rich proprietors. This is why he was scorned by the Conservatives who were frightened by his opinions. He nearly faded from the people's memory. His memory was re-ignited by Thomas Edison, the great scientist. First because he himself was an inventor, having invented the hollow candle and conceiving and designing the iron bridge.

But Thomas Edison also considered Paine as United States' greatest political thinker.

Barack Obama in his inaugural speech mentioned Paine. May he now therefore be remembered by all!

In a little book published three years after his death, Thomas Paine dealt with the « Origin of Freemasonry » which was in his opinion connected with Druidism, a religion of the Sun and of the Times without limits. Thomas Paine could of course talk about Druidism as he was a friend of Iolo Morganwg, the founder of the Gorsedd.

The French often make up a beautiful story, telling how they have invented everything before others in the world. Since their Revolution which happened thirteen years after that in the United States, they are pretentious enough to lecture the whole world about Human Rights ! Their republican creeds are supposed to be universal, as should also be their language ! This is absolutely crazy when you consider that they sent people like Paine to prison whilst they pursued the « Girondins » who were supporting the Revolution in Brittany by wearing oak leaved crowns in remembrance of the old Druids !

Iolo Morganwg was also in favour of the revolutionary opinions. He believed they could be a step forward for mankind.

The French republican opinions were never universal from the start. Slavery was not abolished until 1848 ! The right to vote was not granted to women until 1944 !

And a host of republican gurus still try to preach to the minority peoples of France yet leaving women at the entrance porch of their temples !

Brothers and sisters, we don't need a lecture about morality from such people. We don't have to be lectured by those who put Black people on the seat of an obscure State Secretary as an excuse to demonstrate their open-mindedness. Charity and contempt ! Lingering stench of colonialism !

As in the States this year, we in Brittany some years ago elected a Black man. We didn't elect him because he was Black but because he was competent !

Let's hold the course. We're on the way to join all the peoples in the world, big or small !

The Revolution is not over as long as an individual pretends to consider himself above others because of their colour or their language.

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the French Academy,

As every year in peace time, the Breton Gorsedd is celebrating today, on this 13th of July 2008, its reunion with our brothers from Wales and Cornwall. This ceremony is the 170th anniversary of the first reception of a Breton bard by the Welsh Gorsedd, so we’ve decided to place it under the patronage of three famous French writers. Besides their works as a credit to the French language and culture, each of them in his own way, has also honoured the Breton language and culture.

The first one, Alphonse de Lamartine has composed in 1838 « The toast raised in a national banquet of Welsh and Bretons » that was read after the reception of Hersart de la Villemarqué, the first Breton bard welcome in the Welsh Gorsedd. This poem has inspired the ritual of the broken sword that we’ve celebrated with our Welsh and Cornish friends every year since 1899. Hersart de la Villemarqué is a native of this country. His family is still living in the district of Quimperlé where we are this year. His masterpiece, is a collection of traditional Breton folksongs called the Barzaz Breiz which were praised as « diamonds » by George Sand, another famous French writer. Last but not least, Auguste Brizeux, another famous French poet from Breton extraction, is still haunting the village where we are, in the footsteps of the charming Marie called forth in 1831 by him in a thoughtful poem delighting his contemporary readers all over France. By reminding this past, the Gorsedd intends filling up all its place in the history of interceltic relations and in the construction of a peaceful, humanistic and open Europe. By evoking its origins, the Gorsedd also emphasizes its brotherly links with the prominent writers of the French literature. There is no objection between the universalism called for by the French culture and the proactive existence of local cultures.

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the French Academy,

You’re supposed to have unanimously voted a month ago on a text setting aside from the Constitution the registration of the regional languages as belonging to the patrimony of the Republic. The unanimity of your stand on this issue is for all that objected to by a member of yours, the Breton Michel Mohrt, who gave his opinion in the columns of the newspaper Ouest France. With good reason ! Our fellow countryman has really drawn a lot on the treasures of the Breton language and shared them generously with the French speakers.

But please let’s look in the first lines of your text: « For more than five centuries, the French language has built up France. And our Constitution has deservedly recognized this obviousness in article 2: « The language of the Republic is French ». We definitely can’t see this obviousness alluded to by you, because five centuries ago the Republic didn’t exist, five centuries ago it was called the kingdom of France. Well! To tell the truth, your institution owes its origin to a cardinal minister of this « ancien régime », which isn’t quite republican as you know perfectly like us that the Republic doesn’t recognize nor pay wages to any religion ! So, right from the start, your text is babbling in the confusion. In 1793 on the other hand, four years only after its foundation, the Republic had translated its constitutional act – so its Constitution ! – into the languages of France, among them the Breton language. This translation was followed by another one, i.e. the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. This political choice was serenely made « without jeopardizing national identity » as you do fear in your text in a fit of hysteria and calamity ! By the way are we talking about the same Republic? Is it for you first and foremost an intangible corporate body or the resultant force of a big struggle for emancipation still to be reinforced and started again ? You’ve inspired the French Senate, I’m afraid, in order to oppose the Assembly’s vote. Like in 1922 and 1932 probably when the Senate was against women’s suffrage, so that France had to wait till 1945 for female citizens to be allowed to enter political life and to epitomize what was supposed to be a founding principle of the Republic: Equality. For your part, Ladies and gentlemen, you entered the political arena in 1998 to refuse to accept feminine forms for professional names. What a coincidence ! What a cowardice in a word to get one’s revenge on the regional languages because of inability to stem the growing influence of English !

We’ll conclude this debate with a touch of hope in the future, confident as we are that one doesn’t champion the cause of a language by disputing to another one the right to exist, for we do believe in the final advent of Liberty. Therefore we’ll quote the end of Lamartine’s poem because it’s illustrating what you are likely to have trouble sympathizing with: open-mindedness to others, in other words Fraternity !

« Out of our full goblet where the water of heaven is overflowing,

Already quenched our thirst, let’s drink to the nations !

Islands or main lands, surrounded or bordered by the waters,

Have a share of our libations under the sky !

Yes, let’s drink and, passing our goblet around,

To the new guests to the eternal banquet,

Let’s share a drink with all the peoples of the world

Out of the fraternal chalice!

Arzano, July the 13th 2008-07-23

Morgan 6th Grand Druid of Brittany