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DESPERATE CAMPAIGN FOR BRETON LANGUAGE RESOURCES
It is now over a quarter of a century since a hunger strike was used effectively to end discrimination over a significant language issue. On that occasion Gwynfor Evans was able to reverse British government policy on television broadcasting in Welsh, a move which led to the establishment of the Welsh language television channels we have today.
Bernard Moffat pour CELTIC LEAGUE le 1/05/06 22:57

Unreported outside of Brittany and France a desperate campaign to achieve improved allocation of Breton language resources is ongoing.

For the past two weeks Yannig BARON who is the president of DIHUN ( (voir le site) ) has been on hunger strike. He is campaigning against the reduction of Breton language classes and for increased employment of Breton teachers.

It is now over a quarter of a century since a hunger strike was used effectively to end discrimination over a significant language issue. On that occasion Gwynfor Evans was able to reverse British government policy on television broadcasting in Welsh, a move which led to the establishment of the Welsh language television channels we have today. In the case of Gwynfor Evans the issue was high profile. If the current stance by the President of DIHUN is to be successful the cause which he is championing needs to be projected beyond Brittany and France. The Celtic League are asking all the National branches to highlight this issue and also urging them to seek support from National Parties and cultural organisations particularly the language movement within their countries. The Celtic League Secretary General has also written (via the French Embassy in London) asking the French government to intervene (see below). J B Moffatt
Secretary General
Celtic League

-----------------------------

The Ambassador

Embassy of France
58 Knightsbridge
London SW1X 7JT
United Kingdom

Dear Ambassador,

I can understand and indeed empathise with the stance adopted by the French President in March of this year when he symbolically left a gathering of EU leaders to register protest at the use of the English language by a French industrialist addressing the meeting who choose to deliver his speech in English which he referred to as "the language of business".

One of the great success stories of the European Union is the manner in which it has been able to go forward ensuring that it applies equality of treatment to all the significant languages of the member states.

Another facet of the growth of Pan-European cooperation has been the willingness of many states which encompass minority languages within their State boundaries to afford to these minority languages 'parity of esteem', a situation which is now underwritten via Convention. Given the development of minority language recognition across Europe I find it astonishing that some language bodies still have to resort to forceful measures to achieve progress.

In this regard I am extremely concerned to learn that Yannig BARON, the president of DIHUN a Breton language organisation has been on hunger strike for two weeks to highlight deficiencies over the provision of classes in Breton and also the failure to ensure the provision of adequate numbers of Breton language teachers.

It is now over a quarter of a century since any Celtic cultural activist had to embark on such a draconian course of action. In 1980, faced with a display of intransigence towards Welsh language broadcasting, prominent Welsh Nationalist Gwynfor Evans threatened to embark on indefinite hunger strike, a course of action which prompted to the British government to act speedily to address the grievances of Welsh speakers.

Is it too much to hope that the French government will adopt the same positive position now towards the grievances of Breton linguists and the DIHUN movement and act speedily to end this crisis?

I hope you will convey the text of this letter both to the Office of the President and your Minister for Education.

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt
Secretary General
Celtic League

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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues. TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609 (voir le site)
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