Candide

catholic by birth; scientist by choice; sinner by merit. gaidhlig-speaking neuroscience student at oxford. likes to question everything! @di_macd

Celebrating "Sam-Hane" - the problem with Paganism

WHY NOT “A WEE GAELIC EMPIRE” IN THE WEST? - GAELDOM IN AN AGE OF INDEPENDENCE

I submitted this to National Collective but I can’t imagine they’ll publish it so I’m posting it here for anyone interested to read. 

My name is Dòmhnall Iain Dòmhnallach and English is my second language.

In other words I am a native Gàidhlig speaker and what keeps me awake at night is not the results of the next referendum poll, but the dread I feel about the release of the 2011 census data. In the last century, the number of Gàidhlig speakers declined from nearly a quarter of a million in 1901 to less than 60,000 in 2001 – half clinging onto the west coast and the rest scattered throughout Scotland’s cities. Last week saw the announcement of the news that Bòrd na Gàidhlig had achieved only 6% of its Five Year Plan to double the number of children in Gàidhlig Medium Education (GME) by 2017. There are not enough young Gaels to replace the old who are, to put it bluntly, driving in their droves. The language is being culled by the passage of Time.

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In a bid to improve my online presence I am now on twitter (CLICK TO FOLLOW!) and have had a mass clear-out of some of my more, ehm, exuberant youthful postings on tumblr…

Random American Social Justice Blogger Calls Out Pixar’s Brave’s Depiction Of Gaelic Culture As Offensive To Scots Without Once Mentioning Gaelic

I know I’m late to the discussion but I just read Melissa McEwan’s post attacking the Pixar movie Brave for appropriating Scottish culture and trading on damaging stereotypes of Scottish men. What really bugs me about this ill-informed article is that at no point does she use the word ‘Gaelic.’ The characters of Brave are medieval Gaels, they would have spoken (Old) Gaelic, the tartan and clans are all part of historical Gaelic culture. The image of Scotland Brave presents is the 19th century Sir Walter Scott-James MacPherson tawdry Tartanry appropriation of Gaelic culture by Lowlanders and Londoners (when the Gaels really were being oppressed by the Clearances). This is the image of Scotland the world is familiar with. If you’re going to make a cultural appropriation argument, at least get the culture right!

But the thing is Gaels don’t need some random American SJ blogger trying to argue that Brave is to Scotland as Pocahontas is to Native Americans. We’re (reasonably) well-off, we’re not persecuted politically, we just want our language, culture and economy to thrive. You know the reason the tourism agency Visit Scotland was so involved with Brave? Because these films actually work, they do bring tourists to the Highlands, they create jobs, they improve the economy of some pretty stagnant rural areas. You know the reason Julie Fowlis recorded an irrevelant Gaelic song for the end of Brave? Because it actually will improve her career, more people will listen to her Gaelic music, more people might actually become interested in supporting the culture and language. And you know the reason I don’t give a fuck if Brave is presenting negative stereotypes of Scottish people? When you’re a dying culture and language, any publicity is good publicity… especially when it comes from what is actually a well-made film with a decent female character. 

My Day As A TV Star

I did an hour long television interview yesterday, sitting on a rock in the middle of the sea.

Then I had to walk inspirationally along the beach, with the wind howling and the waves pounding.

Then I had to look out to the ocean and think deep thoughts as I did so.

I felt like Brian Cox. I had the aweinspiring backdrop and I got to expound about neuroscience and biology. (Also had to talk about uni which was less fun). (Also it was in Scottish Gaelic) (Also they are filming me again in Oxford, with the dreaming spires behind me - it will be humiliating! :[)

On another a note, Brian Cox was on Doctor Who. He should be the next Doctor!

Là is mi leam fhèin

Rinn e casad beag. Casad a dh’èirich suas bho sgòrnan, fliuch, a’ bristeadh air an t-sàmhchair mar a bhristeas fairge air an tràigh.

 Cha robh duine ann a chluinneadh e. Shaoil e gur ann coltach ri brag tàirneanach a bha  a’ chasad, a’ sracadh plaide balbh na speuran le brùchdail oillteil borb. Cha robh duine ann a chluinneadh e. Shaoil e gur ann coltach ri cù fiadhaich a bha e, a’ cofhurtaich ann an co-sheirm le corra-biod casan a’ phuist. Ach cha robh duine ann a ghluaiseadh; cha robh duine ann a chluinneadh; agus cha robh duine ann a bhruidhneadh.

 Cha robh duine ann a chuideachadh e. Bha greim aig galair air choireigin air an fhir seo, am fear àrd. Bha a chraiceann, a bha uaireigin cho geal ri min, air dubhadh fo grian loisgeach. O chionn fhada, ann an ciaradh an t-saoghail, mus tàinig spòg a’ ghleoca gu stad, bha e cho fut ri fiadh. Ach a dh’aindeoin gàire an turlaich sna speuran, bha sgàil air tuiteam thairis aodainn. Aodann a bha ag innse sgeulachd mu oidhcheannan fada, fuar, a’ falach bhon t-saoghal a-muigh, bhon fhìrinn, bhon chathair falamh, bho neamh gun ghrian.

 Rinn e casad bheag eile. Sheas a chluasan an àird ag èisteachd ris a’ mhac-talla: fuam èiginneach fada, a’ magadh air. Las a shùilean airson a’ mhionaid bhiothbhuan ud. Ach an uairsin, a’ tilleadh gu fàsach bodhar an t-saoghail, bha na lòin leotha fhèin. Bha na sùilean falamh, glas, mar ghlainne cheòthach, mar sgàthain gun duine coimhead annta.

“O! nan cluinninn aon fhacal, aon fhacal, bho chreutair eile. Eadhan dìreach madainn mhath.”

Is a-rèir cruth an t-slèibhte, bha am facal mu dheireadh a’ seòladh air ais gu cluasan uaigneach.

“… bhà…”

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This is where I live. The Island of Eriskay in the Western Isles of Scotland. Fr Allan MacDonald wrote (in Gaelic):

"Should I even have my choice
I’d prefer of all in Europe
A dwelling place beside the wave
In the lovely Isle of Youth.
It’s bare of foliage, bare of bent-grass,
Bare of barley sowing,
But beautiful for all its bareness
Is each sod of it to me.”

This is where I live. The Island of Eriskay in the Western Isles of Scotland. Fr Allan MacDonald wrote (in Gaelic):

"Should I even have my choice

I’d prefer of all in Europe

A dwelling place beside the wave

In the lovely Isle of Youth.

It’s bare of foliage, bare of bent-grass,

Bare of barley sowing,

But beautiful for all its bareness

Is each sod of it to me.”

Blathachadh na Cruinne

This story won second prize in the Northwards Now New Gaelic Fiction Competition. It has to be read carefully or the joke won’t be got!

“Tha an riaghaltas agaibh seasmhach. Gu dearbh fhèin, tha sinn deiseil airson buille sam bith a bheir Nàduir oirnn. Tha an t-àrm a’ gluasad. Tha sinn a’ dol gur cumail sàbhailt’. Tha sinne a’ dol gur dìon.”

            Cha robh guth aig a’ Mhìnisteir uasal air cò bu choireach gun robh an là seo air tighinn. Faclan snog, cofhurtail, a’ suaineadh a-mach às an rèidio, a’ snàigeadh a-steach tro mo chluasan, ‘s a’ faighinn smachd air m’inntinn. Briathran breugach brèagha. Thug mi breab dhan rèidio. Bha mi seachd searbh sgìth dha bhi ag èisdeachd ri srannalaich a’ Mhìnisteir. Cha robh a gheusan ‘s a gheallaidhean a’ dol a thràghadh an tuil.

            Dh’èirich mi, a’ casadaich ‘s a’ cofhurtaich, is plaide thana mam ghuailnean. Bha an saoghal a’ fàs teth ach bha mise fuar fuar. Cho fuar ris a’ phuinnsean, ri cridhe a’ Mhìnisteir. B’esan an aon chleasaiche a bha air fhàgail.An robh e a’ magadh oirnn, e fhèin sàsaichte le fhion ‘s le annlan? Chuir mi às a’ choinneal. Cha b’e solas iùil a bh’innte. Bha an dorchadas a’ sgaoileadh, cho farsaing ris a’ chuain. Bha an rèidio sàmhach san oiseann.

Nuair a dh’innis iad dhuinn gun robh an là seo a’ tighinn ‘s ann a dh’fheuch mi ri mi-fhìn fhalach ann an toll. Bha cabhaig orm. Chladhaich mi domhainn i. “Dùinibh an doras!” bhiodh an rèidio a’ sgiamhail, “Na tigibh a-mach! Dèan nead dhuibh pèin!” ‘s mar sin air adhart, gach comhairle a’ cur eagal às ùr orm. Ann an ciaradh balbh an t-saoghail an robh mi air fois fhaighinn mu dheireadh thall? Aig a’ cheann thall? Thug mi sùil air an dorchadas. Chaith mi smugaid. Bha mi seachd searbh sgìth a’ feitheamh. A’ feitheamh ri fairge, ri facal, ris an naidheachd dheireannach.

Ach, ged a ghlas mi mi fhìn ann am priosan, cha do chaith mi na h-iuchraichean air falbh. Dè feum a bh’ann feitheamh? Bha mi airson bàs an t-saoghail fhaicinn – air an dòigh sin, dhèanainn ciall dhan chùis. Cha robhas a’ dol gam thiodhlacadh mar ghealtaire aig aigeann a’ chuain ùr. Bha mi gus a bhith seasmhach, làidir, nam dhuine ceart. Bha mi gus an doras fhosgladh dhan tuil. Bha mi gus mo shùilean fhosgladh. Bha mi gus an rèidio a shadadh air falbh.

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A’ Bhreug

Bha an sùilean sàthte air a’ bhogsa mòr dubh a bha na seasamh a’ gàireachdainn anns an oisein. ‘S i an aon rud le casan a bha na seasamh anns an t-seòmar seo. Seòmar dìomhair a’ falach eadar ceithir ballachan iarrainn. Seòmar dìomhair a bha falamh ach a-mhàin gu robh triùir bhalaich a’ leaghadh air uachdar an t-sòfa. Chan eil fhios ‘am cà às a tàinig iad agus, saoilidh mi, chan eil for aca fhèin.

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Là is mi leam fhèin

Rinn e casad beag. Casad a dh’èirich suas bho sgòrnan, fliuch, a’ bristeadh air an t-sàmhchair mar a bhristeas fairge air an tràigh.

Cha robh duine ann a chluinneadh e. Shaoil e gur ann coltach ri brag tàirneanach a bha  a’ chasad, a’ sracadh plaide balbh na speuran le brùchdail oillteil borb. Cha robh duine ann a chluinneadh e. Shaoil e gur ann coltach ri cù fiadhaich a bha e, a’ cofhurtaich ann an co-sheirm le corra-biod casan a’ phuist. Ach cha robh duine ann a ghluaiseadh; cha robh duine ann a chluinneadh; agus cha robh duine ann a bhruidhneadh.

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