When Wales Said No

Palestine, Parch and Personalism

From Planet 253

by Linden Peach

Linden Peach places solidarity with Gaza in the historical and literary context of the Welsh peace movement. What lessons can we draw from our past, and from contemporary Palestinian literature, to strengthen and legitimise activism for peace and justice in the region?

Although peace organisations have waxed and waned over the years, pacifism and the advocacy of peace is in the Welsh people’s DNA. It is manifest in most aspects of Welsh society including eisteddfodau, religious and spiritual centres, political parties, especially Plaid Cymru, and educational institutions.1 Despite the insistence of Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer on only a temporary truce in Gaza, the Welsh Senedd called for a longer lasting ceasefire. And a request to fly the Israeli flag outside the Senedd was refused by its presiding officer, Plaid Cymru MS Elin Jones. It will be recorded that Wales said No. As did the Welsh members of For Life on Earth who led the march to Greenham Common over forty years ago, the astonishing 390,296 signatories to the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition in 1923, and those who joined the five-day procession of peacemakers through north Wales in June 1926 led by Gwladys Thoday and Mary Silyn Roberts, some of whom marched on to join a peace rally in Hyde Park, London.

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About the author

Professor Linden Peach supervises research students at the School of Traditional Arts and has published extensively in modern Welsh and literary studies, including Pacifism, Peace and Modern Welsh Writing (UWP, 2019). He is currently completing a book on Gillian Clarke for the University of Wales Press.