Cé muid? Cad is brí linn?
Smaointe is muid ag ceiliúradh Seachtain na Gaeilge. You speak Gaelic, right? Why don’t Irish people speak Irish? Nó as Gaeilge fiú: Cén fáth a mbíonn drogall ar dhaoine Gaeilge a labhairt? Sin na ceisteanna is mó a fhaighim anseo i SAM. Mar sin, le cúrsaí a mhíniú do dhaoine le Béarla a mhúin leagan na himpearachta den stair, tá freagraí uaim dóibh inniu i dteanga na himpireachta ach le tuiscint na nGael.
Spreag an físeán seo ar fad inniu
The ‘initiative’ of Empire as mentioned in the video above was to make the language (Irish) disappear: to demean it, to murder it. Linguicide.
Think about the word ‘demean.’ It was to forcefully, cruelly strip us of our culture, of meaning, and indeed of our very existence until there would be no evidence we were ever here. Our only ‘valid’ meaning would as British ‘civilized’ citizens. The ‘initiative’ was to erase evidence of all that made us Irish, to make us ashamed of being Irish, and hate who we are.
It was to take away the name ‘Irish’ from the language and replace it with ‘Gaelic’ and, in so doing, take away the association of the language with our nation (which was to be assimilated too). It was the planting of the idea that ‘Gaelic’ was obscure: long gone & forgotten. Irish? What’s that? That’s not even a language! That massive crime of Imperialism is still in people’s heads. Some have forgotten the cause of it.
It is a shame that was passed from generation to generation. We need to lose the shame, the fear of being mocked. We need to stop mocking as we were taught to mock. We must recognize racism in our midst and call it out. You haven’t gone all Gaelic, have you! Those are words of derision that slip out of people’s mouths because that’s what was passed down.
John O’Brien wrote an article recently in The Irish Times of his fear of speaking Irish in Ireland: The hardest part was hearing myself speak Irish out loud in front of other Irish people. I feared they would judge my waning ability, or think I was some showy langer. I still feel it, almost six years later whenever I visit home, but I push through. That is the barrier to break: to stop people from demeaning us, to stop the shaming.
It takes a long time for a nation to recover from the trauma of having its identity trampled upon. But it IS happening and it is a joy to watch! We have meaning again. Not as imitations of other people, but as ourselves. Not afraid. We are excited and empowered. Irish is growing as a result of the hard work of many groups such as Conradh na Gaeilge. It is far healthier than it was when this video was made.
Thankfully it is becoming far more common to hear young people speaking with each other naturally in Irish on buses, on trains, in shops. When we don’t need the Pop-Up Gaeltachts as a crutch (as a safe zone) anymore, we will be free. In the meantime, the craic it brings really helps. Despite what is said in the video, Welsh is stronger: a success story. Bless them!
I’m proud to be part of a movement that lets people know that Irish is not dead, not shameful, not inferior. It is a treasure. It is here. WE are still here and sharing the love of the language with all we meet. When the inherited shame is dead, life has a far deeper and real meaning. More and more of us are speaking our language and loving it. That gives meaning to who I am.
Labhair í and taste the difference ☺
Bí linn. Seo is brí linn.