Siol nan Gaidheal
Scotland's Silent History
Another contribution by an exile. This appeared on the forum, and was felt to be an excellent piece on the search for what makes a true Scot for someone born furth of our own native land. It has been amended slightly, in that certain words have been spelt out in full where the original author had left blanks. We felt that putting the intended words back in made the piece stronger, and we've never been bothered by strong language ourselves. In fact, during discussions, it was felt that Scotland has 3 languages anyway - Gaelic, Scots, and "swearie"....
I am searching. As a Scot by blood, not birth, I have had to research three silent messages within my upbringing on foreign soils.
1. Who and what is a Scot?
2. What was the "Silent" moments of conversation?
3. What were all the relies (relatives) pissed off with?
#1 has proven to be the most difficult!
#3. This was the easiest to answer. Not knowing what a Scot was, I was pissed off with the Scottish jokes. They were denigrating and disrespectful and I became ashamed and even more pissed off, I didn't know what I was ashamed of!!!
I was pissed off with a subliminal attitude living in America which didn't exist in the US. I figured out the attitude came via the Canadian entity of the family where they were told in the 1920's and 1930's by the English "We eown (own) you". This was in fact not correct factually, but IGNORANT ENGLISH migrants believed England owned Canada and told all Canadians this as often as possible. Canada suffers Britishness too. Ask a Canadian what is Canadian alone? What is not English and what is not American? There's not much left except that which is indigenous.
I'm pissed off with the relatives purposely and consciously studying North American elocution in order to no longer be belittled by being called "Scotty", ridiculed and identified by their rolled r's and poetically lilting speech. Forget teaching and speaking Gaelic, that was as pertinent as teaching and speaking Latin!
I'm pissed off with the English conversations that end up with TAKING THE MICKEY OUT OF YOU, which makes fun of all that is culturally true and I'm supposed to laugh and accept this. This I found contributed most to the "watering down" of ancestor's Scottishness overseas.
I was pissed off with not knowing what was/is a Scot. It was/is a goddam secret! The English don't know and I'm pissed off that I have to research it myself!
I'm pissed off that I am not told as a dumb tourist in Scotland of people and places by erected signs and plaques and monuments everywhere ADVERTISING STRONGLY ENOUGH the injustices of Scotland's past.
The Scots that live today may know about the uprising of 1820 and where Radical Dyke is/was, but unless I return to Scotland and take my own researched information, I will not be led there as a dumb tourist learning the true History of Scotland. So how many other events and sites do I not know about? Probably thousands of atrocities more.
I'm disappointed that the Battle of Falkirk has one concrete marker, and nothing else beside the road. Am I an Americanised, Canadianised, Australianised Scot who wishes for battle re-enactments and an Historical Information Centre? Nearby is a sign of a town called California. I have to research the history in order to know of the connection of this town to the state of California and which came first, the town or the state?
I'm pissed off that all the suffering throughout Scotland's history is only known in studying books, by researching oneself or by watching Hollywood created movies. Otherwise, outside the inner circle of Scots and Celts, it is not widely and commonly known or heard of.
I learned by only just beginning to study Scotland's History, of the sorrow and tears in which lead time after time to ANGER. I have learned studying about Scotland's centuries old battles that it appears that the Jacobites put Wallace's memory and history and anger (400 years old) into their minds and hearts in order to give them strength and conviction and purpose.
Surely, Scotland's History, in which the greatest pride in the world can come forth from, can be put into our minds and hearts to carry with us each day, to feed us with EMPOWERMENT that we so desperately need, as we march into each DAY and into TOMORROW giving us strength and conviction and purpose.
#2 I have found this answer to the question of these quiet moments of conversations to reflect Scot History, family history, full of grief, loss, tragedy, death, horrors, torture, and pillaging then distance and ultimately of broken hearts, broken minds, but never a broken spirit.
#1 HERE lies my greatest DUMBNESS. I have searched Birth certificates, Marriage certificates and Death certificates on many continents and I can PROVE by these "papers" that I descend from people I have never met and have been buried for many years. I AM A SCOT by blood. But what is a Scot?
1971: I travelled alone to Scotland and during 4 weeks of my pilgrimage as a young teenager, I found out what was a Scot, by just having the sense of sight and seeing the History that permeates everywhere in the buildings and landscape that existed. I found that what was a Scot by listening to the LAND. My knowledge of Scotland's past was/is not good, so I bought a Penguin published version of 3 volumes of the History of Scotland by John Prebble. I found it very unreadable but I gathered that the "loss of Scotland" was at Culloden. Many around the world feel that is the battle of the point of no return in the loss of Scotland as a nation. Only recently via the Internet did I learn that the point of no return was the 1707 sell-out and Unionism of Scotland and England!
1971: I looked for a nationalist spirit in Scotland. I looked for a glimmer of hope that someone was still fighting for a separate Scotland. I found only a wee flag of a beautiful Lion on a Yellow background in a long forgotten newsagents or tourist shop, but I never saw it proudly waving in the air. I had to be told what flag this was and that it was not allowed to be flown.
Not withstanding male pubs, where men stood in heavily smoke filled rooms, which I never entered, I did not hear one word of Scottish nationalism and I tried to generate its discussion purposely. But I heard the drums of the Pipe Bands for the first time and something stirred. The beat was strong, rhythmical and timeless. It was angry and happy at the same time. This must be my answer, to the question what is a Scot. It beat such a powerful message, the English had once banned it. Its message must have been a threat to England at one time. Its message IS "you are a Scot."
I was tickled to know that the Stone of Destiny had been stolen from England by University students to only be disappointed that it had been found and returned to England. I had the faith that silently some Scots were "under-ground" working for Scotland.
2000: I traveled for 6 weeks in Scotland, visiting as many places and people I could in search for my quest of WHAT IS A SCOT? Happily I learned the Stone of Destiny had been returned to Scotland the same year as the movie Braveheart was being written, planned, filmed, released. Is this a coincidence?
I found what is Scot in Lamlash, Arran. It is a monument erected by a Canadian born female descendant of a transplanted Scot. The memorial monument was erected in memory of a group of Scots who stood in the Lamlash Bay, a group of pillaged people, in 1829, waiting to board an awaiting ship. On the wee mound in the flat lush green grass stood the minister blessing them, wishing them farewell, a safe journey and a life in a distant land.
I found what was a Scot on Canada Hill on Rothesay where many a Scot stood waving to relatives leaving their Scotland for a new life in Canada. It is so beautiful and picturesque on Canada Hill I realized that Scottish hearts were once again broken waving their good-byes. A broken heart is a Scot.
I thought I would find what was a Scot in the beautiful Highlands. I looked for the beautiful Highland cattle along the way but didn't see one. There were hundreds in 1971. I found one in a small yard behind the Inn in Lamlash Arran where I drank a Cappucino, a drink I can order anywhere in the world. In a wee backyard? Where are his/her open fields and paddocks? I did not see one Highland Cattle traveling up to Loch Invar. I found more sadness in Loch Invar and in the eerie barreness and quiet of the desolate Hills I passed on the way to Ullapool. Where are all the people? Genocidic quietness is a Scot.
I looked for the spot that the last McGregor Chieftan was executed in St Giles Square Edinburgh. I checked every single cobble stone on the ground for a marker but I didn't find one. It was/is a secret and all of the tourists may not know of this betrayal of a clan chieftan and dessimation of a clan. Withholding many painful secrets is a Scot.
I question why the information of the Covenenting era is such a secret. When I can find thousands of sites on any subject I dream of on the Internet, when I search for Covenenter History, there are 3 sites that are available and they are not much to speak of. What is so powerful about this History that I know nothing about, that cannot be openly shared and is not readily available? I can only be suspicious there is a gain to the Scots to know of this History and it is buried by the English and it is not obtainable.
Yes, the buildings for the new parliament were scaffolded and that is a thing of pride in itself. I asked all the happy 'relies' do you have the ownership of your waters and the famous oil in the North Sea? No, not even mineral rights underneath the Ground. My heart sank and it sank further when I was told that there was a last veto to the Scottish Parliament in Westminster. I became angry but no one else was angry that I came into contact - predominantly female, but surely Britishness had not reduced their brains?
I did not see one banner or bit of information anywhere in August or October 2000 of political anger over a watered down parliament, and I looked for it. I have not wished to offend anyone in Scotland and did not dare speak against the new parliament and your Organisation is the first that confirms that I am not a "misplaced, out of whack, weirdo, watered down, Scot" who is NOT IMPRESSED AT THE PRESENT SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT AT ALL. IT IS MORE INSULTING THAN ANYTHING ELSE.
I was impressed and moved attending the Tattoo again, but it appeared to me to reflect more the British Imperialism than that of Scotland. It is merely performed on Scottish soil, hosted by a conquered Scottish Castle that once fought against England and lost. How brilliantly weakening of a country's psyche is this Scottish military tradition, taken over by England, reminding all Scots they are conquered!! Not to mention the English Royal family wearing Scottish kilts. This too is destructive in itself to the Scottish psyche. Queen Victoria created the British Empire during her reign and so rightly did she take over Balmoral.
I did see something SECRETLY SCOTTISH within the British Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The music and the fireworks had a hidden and secret message the ENGLISH obviously did not identify in the planning and rehearsals of the Tattoo. This coded message to Scots was brilliant!!
Very slowly and lamentingly the song and fireworks began and combined with the sadness of the musical tones was a fireworks falling softly and gently in a form of a waterfall. A waterfall was not pertinent to the words nor tone of the music. Ah ha,.. it could only mean a wall of tears,.. crying centuries and centuries of injustice,.. centuries and centuries of sorrow and betrayal and pain. Crying over the wall of a noble but conquered Edinburgh Castle.
THEN, came the STARTLING, BLASTING, EXPLOSION in the suddenly blasting volume of ANGER AND BATTLE within the music and with the coordinated EXPLOSIVE fireworks came the hope that Scotland one day will truly be Free. I cried.
The Old Strength of Old Scotland was not completely buried nor completely weakened after at all!! Old Scotland was NEW SCOTLAND! Year 2001 Knights Templar Live! Louder than words, during this Imperial British Edinburgh Tattoo was a message that One day the ancient clans will march amongst their sons and great X 20 grandsons. Scots will gather up their ancestors, out of their graves, marked and unmarked, and all the blood that lies in the Scottish ground will pump into the veins of living Scotsmen and they will create a Scotland that has been dreamt of more often than ever lived. I found what it is to be a Scot.
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