The Celtic Homelands are in agitation. Brittany showing defiance to France. Protestants in Northern Ireland versus Catholics. Bomb attacks in Wales. Cries of Independence are heard in Scotland. Separatism from Canada plagues Quebec. What is the significance of these growing disturbances?
Brittany, France "BRITTANY was liberated twenty-five years ago," shouted Charles de Gaulle, on his visit to Brittany early in February. "Yes, but we want to be free," retorted the separatist Celtic Bretons. De Gaulle hurried to his westernmost province early in February, in an attempt to bring some semblance of order to this restless region. His speeches sought to placate the noisy calls for independence welling up from the underprivileged Bretons.
Uproar in Brittany
The United States is not alone in violence and revolutionary uproar. Spearhead of the freedom-for-Brittany movement in France is the FLB, the Liberation Front of Brittany — or, in French, "Front de Liberation de la Bretagne." Their slogan: Free Quebec! Free Brittany! They use the same tactics that De Gaulle himself used on his most recent visit to Canada. The Front gives voice to the restive population. It backs up its challenge with destruction of equipment belonging to the French "occupation regime," bombing police stations, communications, and even the vehicles of the crack riot control squads. Just before De Gaulle's swift February visit, 40 separatists were arrested and over a ton of explosives taken. In the dragnet were four priests who had stored homemade bombs in their washing machines. So De Gaulle has his hands full with the same problems that he had raised elsewhere. The Breton point of view was strongly made by the Mayors of Rennes and Brest. They told De Gaulle: "After ten years of broken promises, Bretons are not to be satisfied except with concrete results. Roads, phones, factories, in short, all the tools to make a strong economy." An organization in Ireland headed by Yann Goulet, a Breton who escaped to Ireland 25 years ago, claims to be head of the Breton Republican Army. His avowed aim is the overthrow of French domination in Brittany. He raises in front of his headquarters near Dublin the flag of Brittany as a symbol of his belief that one day Brittany will be an independent state in league with three other Celtic countries of Ireland, Wales and Scotland. He says most confidently that his dream is closer to fulfillment than most people think. De Gaulle's most pressing internal problem is that of Brittany and its nationalist aspirations. The Celtic Bretons in western France are stirring! Now take a look at the British Isles.
Trouble in Ireland Again
Terence O'Neil's Northern Ireland government faced yet another crisis as religious feelings flared with rioting in Londonderry between Catholics and Protestants. Vigilantes were maintaining their own form of law and order and a Citizens' Police Force has taken over control of the slum district of Bogside. Free Derry Radio broadcasts news, and calls for resistance against police or any who would move in on them. The last time this occurred it led to a bloody and prolonged siege of 105 days. The long struggle for Irish home rule continues and has now been extended to the North.
Scottish Nationalism Surges
Scottish Nationalists seek "Home Rule by 1970," headlines a prominent newspaper. And no wonder! Scottish Nationalist party membership has zoomed from 2,000 to 128,000 in just seven years. Their claim? If they obtain a majority of seats in the next general election in 1970, they will take it as a mandate from the people to secede from the London-dominated Union of England and Scotland which was set up in 1770. Scottish Nationalists demand that Scotland become an independent nation within the British Commonwealth — as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
And Now — Wales
There could be a major political crisis on July 1st this year. That is when Charles, heir to the Throne, will be ceremonially invested as Prince of Wales at Caernarvon Castle. The title "Prince of Wales" has been the hereditary title of the eldest son of the ruling English monarch since Edward, the Black Prince, conquered Wales in the 11th century. But today, a significant section of the Welsh do not want the Englishman, Charles as their Prince. They take it as an insult to their national integrity and sovereignty. Last year Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret's husband, visited Cardiff to plan the celebrations. He was greeted by a bomb-blast, jeers and signs proclaiming, "Republic — not Royalty." And this year when the Investiture takes place, it could be the excuse for an angry outburst from Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Nationalist party which numbers at least 30,000. The Party wants "Wales for the Welsh," Welsh as the first language for Wales, and more power in their own hands. There will be thousands of policemen on hand this summer to quell any uprising that might occur amongst the nationalists who object to the Anglo-Saxon "invasion" of their Welsh homeland. Attention has already been centered on Charles at the University of Wales at Aberystwyth. He is studying there for a short while. But fervent Welsh Nationalists — over ten percent of the student body — opposed his entry. Several went on a five-day hunger strike as a protest. The Chicago Tribune stated bluntly: Britain has lost its Empire overseas. Now it has the problem at home of keeping the United Kingdom in one piece (Oct. 28, 1968). Opening Parliament last October, The Queen's Speech (written by government writers), promised a special commission to study reform in voting and home rule in the Celtic world. But the problem may already have grown so great that no amount of reform will quell the growing unrest in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The Quebec Problem
Let us not forget Canada. In the Province of Quebec are numerous individuals who have long had aspirations of separatism from the rest of Canada. French-Canadians are descended from peoples who came mainly from the Seine-Maritime and Brittany areas of France. They are significantly Celtic. They left the main body of European Frenchmen long ago. Since that time, few have ever considered France as their example and leader. "France has forgotten us years ago," they say, "so we have forgotten France!" The only reason some deference is now being shown to France is because of De Gaulle's support of their own separatist feelings. Anglo-Saxon Canadians are confronted, even in the New World, with the Celtic Revolution! Why is it that the whole of the Celtic world is in ferment? Just what does it mean to be a Celt? — to be Celtic?
The extreme western parts of Europe, remember, are the present homelands of the Celtic peoples who lived in Europe long before the arrival of the English or the Franks. These areas are the last strongholds of a people whose language once dominated the whole of Western and West-central Europe. But after the time of the Romans, successive invasions from the east forced many of these peoples into their present western locations. Some Celts remained behind and merged with the incoming peoples, especially in France. But much of the original Celtic stocks retreated westward into Wales, Cornwall, the western Highlands of Scotland, Ireland, and to Brittany in France. Some later immigrated to Quebec. These are the homelands of the Celts today.
The Celtic Temperament Different
To understand the problems affecting the present disturbances in Western Europe, it must be recognized that there are real temperamental differences between the thorough-going Celt and his English neighbor. The celebrated historian, Dr. George Ellis, stated in his book Irish Ethnology that "the pugnacious irritability of the Irishman, the Welshman and the Highlander, has always been proverbial" (p. 29). They are recognized by nature as excitable, glib, quick-tempered, argumentative, and subject to extremes in emotions, but also highly artistic, musical, charming, excellent in literature and entertainment. The English Saxon on the other hand has a very contrary nature. He is usually conservative, placid in emotion, patient, imperturbable. Parliamentary government is one of the Saxon's strong points. The temperamental differences between the Celtic and Saxon stocks are well recognized by the peoples of the British Isles.
Why the Difference in Temperament?
The Celts of Western Europe, the Englishman and most Frenchman are of the same general stock. They represent different sections of one large family. Perhaps we can understand the present difficulties in this racial family by comparing them with the tribal differences within the ancient nation of Israel. The Bible states that Jacob, the ancestor of all the families of Israel, had twelve sons. These sons gave rise to different tribes with various types of personality. They developed along different temperamental lines. These differences are pointed out in Genesis 49. For example, the families of Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob by his wife Leah, are a people like their patriarchal father, of excessive excitability, unstable in exercising governmental control, individualistic (Gen. 49:3, 4). Reuben was very much like the modern Celt in his overall temperament. The next sons of Jacob by Leah were Simeon and Levi. These two tribes were highly individualistic, revengeful, and quick-tempered, subject to extremes in emotions — and, in the person of Levi, highly musically gifted. When Dinah, their sister, was ravished, they took matters into their own hands. With revengeful impulsiveness they wrought havoc on the wrongdoers (Gen. 49:5-7). There is also another point to remember. When the Israelites left Egypt to go into Palestine, the Simeonites numbered about 60,000 adult men. But 40 years later, when Israel advanced into the land of Palestine, the Simeonites numbered only about 20,000 adult men. Why did the tribe lose so many of its number? They found it hard going to get along with other Israelites — especially the tribes that descended from the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. Many left the main body of Israel during their 40 years in the wilderness and, as history and archaeology reveal, migrated northwestward into Europe. Another Israelitish tribe which shows the present Celtic temperament was the tribe of Dan. This tribe was not content staying near the central headquarters region of Israel — alongside Ephraim, Manasseh and Judah. A part of the tribe decided to remove themselves to the far north of Palestine, into Phoenician territory (Judges 18). They subsequently mixed in very much with the Phoenicians, especially in the adoption of their customs and religion. As a result, they set up their own idolatrous sanctuary in their capital city. Along with Phoenician maritime venturers, many Danites later moved westward into Spain and Ireland under the name "Tuatha de Danaan."
Why the Anglo-Saxon/Celtic Problem?
Many peoples from Reuben, Dan, Simeon and Levi, as well as other Israelitish tribes, migrated into western and central Europe at a very early date (to get the full story of this Israelitish movement into Europe, read our free book United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy). Many of them became the Celts of historical fame. Then, after the captivity of the Israelitish nation by Assyria in the middle of the eighth century B.C., a number of the remaining tribes of Israel, notably the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, also began to move into Western Europe. These Anglo-Saxon tribes of Israel finally came into contact with their brother tribes which had left Palestine much earlier. The Celtic and Anglo-Saxon peoples, though of the same general racial stock, had now developed into peoples with such temperamental differences that they found it difficult to get along with one another. Those differences are still with us today and represent a primary problem in the present disturbances.
The Irish Dilemma
The Southern Irish are very much like the Danites of old who would have nothing to do with the conservative governments afforded by Ephraim and Manasseh. The government problem in Northern Ireland is a major factor in Ireland today, although the present theme upon which it has developed is religious. The North is predominately Protestant while the South is Catholic. The religious arguments come mainly from a fundamental difference in the temperaments of the two peoples. Northern Ireland (Ulster) in the 1600's was settled primarily by Presbyterian Scots and to a lesser extent by Saxons from England. These people were so temperamentally different from the Celtic Catholic stock that there has never been a compromise between the two groups. Up to now the Presbyterian element has controlled Northern Ireland politically, and the region still remains a part of the United Kingdom. But the southern Celtic element is becoming stronger in the North due to migration from the Catholic South. The chance of an ultimate Celtic take-over appears certain. This is what worries the militant Protestants. The moderate Ulster-Scot opinion in Northern Ireland is the belief that common sense will prevail and everything will work out in the end. The truth is, the two peoples, representing different tribal elements with utterly different temperaments, will never find a suitable compromise under present circumstances.
What is the Answer?
The answer does not lie in disruption and separatism and human government, but in a government all can trust — the Government or Kingdom of God — the rule of God Almighty! No human government can solve the problem. We need to recognize the temperamental differences that exist among our peoples and that those temperaments, if properly controlled, can bring to our nations great advantages. Israel of old became great and powerful, a benefit and blessing to the whole world, when they were united — united under their God. But what do we see today? DISUNITY! — DIVISION! — REVOLUTION! Both the Welsh and the Scots have sent to Parliament in London nationalist representatives — the parliamentarians who represent the separatist hopes of the peoples of Wales and Scotland. As the Honorable Edward Heath, the shadow Prime Minister of Great Britain recently said, the troubles in Northern Ireland, along with those in Wales and Scotland, are portents of the breakup of the United Kingdom unless effective action is taken now to stop the deterioration that is occurring. Human governments can no longer cope with and solve today's mushrooming intertribal problems. Man's only hope is to submit to the one source that will provide unity — the Government of God, the Kingdom of God — which is coming far sooner than this world expects. Our own ways are leading us into a whirlpool of disintegration. France has been adamant against Britain and America. Northern Ireland against Eire. The Welsh want home rule. Many Scots want to go their own way. Some people of Quebec demand independence from the rest of Canada. Bretons are openly antagonistic to the French. The time has come to recognize that only the Government of God will lead man to unity. The Anglo-Saxon-Celtic world needs to wake up before it's too late. The choice is ours. Let us make certain we choose the right way!