Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Eileen Beasley a true Torch Bearer.
The Death of Eileen Beasley, deserved to have had greater coverage in the media than it did
Her (and husband Trefor) courageous stand in early 1950 post war Britain in braving bailiffs and court appearances to demand a Welsh language tax bill that saw their goods and furniture seized by the courts.. Has some to call her the Rosa Parks of Wales.
Though since Parks, made her stand against American segregation laws 3 years after the Beasley's made their stand It give the impression that they were inspired by the civil rights movement rather than acted on their own sense of injustice .
Though to my mind both can be seen as the first step by a people to fight for equality in their own land.
Some would people who claim to support Human Rights would argue that that fighting to use the Welsh Language is nothing like as important as the issues facing Rosa Parks and her fellow Black Americans in the deep South where they segregated and treated as inferiors and effectively denned the right to vote
How often have some on the Left argued that the campaign for Welsh language equality is the face of narrow minded nationalism.
But justice is not about degrees,and the denial of people to use their own Language in their own country is the same as denying citizens the right to ride in the front of the Bus because of their colour.
But there can be do doubt that the American Civil Rights movement which found new impetus from Rosa Parks and the campaign there was a huge influence on the campaign for Welsh to be given equal status here and on the tactics of peaceful protest. through civil disobedience.
When she took her stand about a simple request Cymdeithas yr Iaith was a decade from its birth
Eileen eventually won her case but d after 16 court appearances Eileen Beasley was left with little but an empty house to show for her fight to put Welsh on an equal footing with English.
And true equality was still a long way off.
Eileen Beasley deserves to be honoured in the same manner as Rosa Parks and other Civil Rights campaigners throughout the World and her death hopeful will lead to people in Wales to reflect on her stand and the campaigns that followed to seek equality of both our Languages in Wales and how much further we have to go to see Welsh be given equal status.
Maybe S4 C and the BBC can mark this occasion by commissioning a Dram base don the Beasley's stand in the 1950's . Bur I suspect that all the funding will be diverted to programmes like Holby City that the BBC claim that since its filmed in Wales its a Welsh programme.