Monday, 21 April 2014

10,000 for the reunification of Brittany

Over 10,000 people marched in Brittany's historic capital on the 19th of April 2014 to demand the administrative reunification of Nantes and its surrounding department, Loire Atlantique, with the rest of Brittany.



The French administrative region of Bretagne minus Nantes and Loire Atlantique department.


Currently Brittany is divided between two bodies of regional governance: 4 departments are regrouped in the administrative region of Brittany, whilst the 5th historic department of Brittany, Loire Atlantique, is attached to the totally artificial technocratic Pay de la Loire region.

The historic borders of the Duchy of Brittany.


It's worth noting that Nantes and the Loire Atlantique department were separated from Brittany by the collaborationist French 'Vichy' government during the second world war.

The current French socialist government has promised to reduce the number of administrative regions and simplify local government by abolishing the departments. Breton campaigners have therefore seized the chance to powerfully restate their desire for a reunified Brittany in which the councils of the 5 Breton departments and the regional council are fused to form a single assembly for Brittany. Another alternative being touted by some French politicians is the creation of a Grande Ouest region much like a South West or Devonwall region for Cornwall but on a much larger scale.

Grand Ouest



Sunday, 2 February 2014

Brittany/Cornwall: what relations? Bretagne/Cornouailles (britanniques) : quelle relations ?


Here's one I just bought in from Coop Breizh that looks to be full of fascinating stuff for those interested in Brittany, Cornwall and the relations that exist between our two countries.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Redadeg 2014 - Run for Breton

From 24th to 31th May, from Morlaix to Glomel, 1500 km in Brittany !

The Redadeg, launched in 2008, is a relay race which takes place every two years.

Popular and festive, it crosses Brittany, day and night to symbolise the transmission of a lively, creative and dynamic Breton language, across the generations and territories.

To back the projects in support of the Breton language the kilometres are sold and the profits are redistributed. These new initiatives are selected based on application, they are very diverse and can relate to teaching, leisure, media, sport or culture but they all promote the use of Breton in social and family life. The race goes through the 5 Breton departments over 1500kms and crosses more than 300 municipalities.

(consult the route map and the municipalities crossed by clicking on Route)



The Redadeg defends the idea « Brezhoneg ha plijadur » ! « Breton language and pleasure » ! You can run with your family, friends or colleagues, in disguise, with music, follow the race on foot, or on roller-blades, in pushchairs or on bikes....organise some entertainment or take advantage of the local festivities, concerts, theatre, stands, breakfasts....organised according to the time and place of the race passing. The main idea is to take part, to be seen, to have fun and it’s also the opportunity to hear, to use and to make Breton be heard!

The baton, symbol of the Breton language, carries a secret message, it is passed from hand to hand and is read at the finishing line.

For the start of the 4th edition in 2014, the race will leave from Morlaix on Saturday 24th May and arrive in Glomel on Saturday 31st May in the middle of the International Festival of Clarinettes, Gouel an Dreujenn Gaol.

The Redadeg is an event which is uniting, sporting, cultural, popular and festive all at the same time.

The Redadeg is an event with a strong media (in Brittany and elsewhere), economic (direct and indirect) and cultural, impact.

This is one Cornishman with a dream. Imagine one day the Redadeg symbolically starting in Cornwall before crossing the sea, as once did the Breton language, to continue its route in Breizh. 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Hypocrisy? France and its regional languages


The French language is sacred to France, which is why the latest move to recognize the country's other native tongues has again run into obstacles. But is Paris finally about to drop its "double standards" and officially accept France's regional languages?  

Protecting the French language is so important in Gallic culture that the country has an official body tasked with keeping creeping Anglicization at bay.

Yet at the same time France is home to over two million speakers of several regional languages, which successive governments have appeared reluctant to protect and promote in the same way. 

Needless to say this stance of "one country one language", which dates back to the French Revolution, has led to accusations of double standards.

Although France made the symbolic move to sign the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages - originally drawn up in 1992 - Paris has never ratified it. It has been a source of discontent in regions like Brittany, the Basque country and Corsica.

This week French lawmakers took another crack at it, reopening the long-standing debate over the issue of France and its apparent refusal to accept its regional languages.

But once again ratification of the document seems decidedly doubtful because it collides with a sacred and founding notion of the French Republic, a campaigner from Brittany tells The Local.

“In France the Republic is singular, indivisible and must have only one language, or so the thinking goes,” Yann An Aod, a leader of Kelc'h Sevenadurel Gwened, a Breton cultural promotion group said. “The regions interest the country’s leaders, but only from a cultural point of view, as a place to visit as a tourist.”

For An Aod the current debate is somewhat hypocritical. France seeks to promote its language throughout the world, he said, but barely lifts a finger to protect its own cultural diversity at home.

“In France we are told we must have one centre of power and only one language, it’s that way of thinking,” he said. 

France lagging behind most of Europe

The French now number 66 million, and among them there are over 2.2 million speakers of regional languages like Breton and Corsican, according to a recent survey carried out by FLAREP, an organization that promotes the teaching of these languages in state schools. France’s border region near Germany, including the department of Alsace, counts over 750,000 speakers of Alsatian, among its population.

The strong grassroots support for regional languages saw tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets in 2012 calling for Paris to ratify a charter, which most other European countries have been happy to adopt. 
Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are among the 25 nations that have ratified that pact. France, Italy, Russia and five other nations have not gone further than the largely symbolic act of adding their signature.

The problem for speakers of Breton, Basque, Alsatian and the like is that the same barrier remains in place. France’s top legal advisor, the Counsel of State (Conseil d’état), said in March 2013 that the charter would introduce “a fundamental inconsistency into the constitution.”

President François Hollande promised to show that France has moved on. In his 2012 campaign he vowed to finally officially adopt the charter, but that promise, like others he has made, does not look like being kept.
But there are some who still hold out hope.

“In the end the ratification of the charter is inevitable,” Fulup Jacq, head of the Public Office of Breton Language told newspaper Le Figaro. “It springs from a fundamental movement in society.”

The proposal that provoked a heated debate in parliament this week includes an effort to work around France’s attachment to its language. The proposal would accord no “collective rights” to the speakers of regional languages, though it would still offer to promote and protect them, French daily Libération reported.
 
A vote on the proposal is set to take place in the coming weeks but the battle between France and its regions will no doubt rumble on a lot longer.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

French eco tax mobilises new generation of Breton red caps

French eco tax mobilises new generation of Breton red caps | World news | The Guardian: But Troadec is not stopping with the campaign to abolish the eco tax. He is pressing for the transfer of real economic clout to Brittany. "We want devolution like you have in the UK. France is the most centralised state in Europe," he says. Although there is a regional parliament which sits in Rennes, "we have no institutional power over our own economy or culture".

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