Tuesday 20 October 2015

Aberfan - 21st October 1966 - 49 Years On - Least We should Ever Forget

At 9.15am on Friday October 21st 1966, after several days of heavy rain, a huge slag tip above the town of Aberfan in South Wales suddenly liquified and poured down the mountain.

The black tidal wave demolished properties in its path and engulfed the Pantglas Junior School in seconds.

Of the 144 people who lost their lives that day, 116 were children. The tragedy was totally preventable.

The National Coal Board had been warned time and time again of the dangers of dumping slag in such a geologically unstable area above towns.

They chose to ignore the warnings claiming it wan't profitable for them to move the slag tips to safer locations.

After the disaster, donations from all over the world poured in for the shattered community. However, most of the money never reached Aberfan. Instead the Government gave it to the National Coal Boad so that they could move other slag tips overlooking other towns in South Wales.

The great Welsh writer and broadcaster Gwyn Thomas delivered his own moving tribute to the victims of the tragedy on the BBC the morning of the mass funeral. This is an excerpt from his eulogy

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says  forty nine years ago Aberfan impacted the political and social landscape of Wales and reminded many of us who had forgotten we were Welsh.

We were reminded of the consequences of British Coal Board Rule in the Mining Valleys, just has Tryweryn some years earlier had shown who ruled Wales and it wasn't the Welsh.

Tryweryn : The 1959 Pamphlet of Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru pamphlet about Tryweryn from 1959 - which mentions industrial use of water by Liverpool and not personal consumption the point made in October 19th 2015 by Lord Elystan Morgan on BBC TV Wales..

But Lord Elystan Morgan tells presenter Dr Wyn Thomas:

 “In the 10 years preceding [the flooding of the valley], the population of Liverpool had decreased somewhat.

“The water needs of the population in terms of drinking water decreased. But Liverpool was selling industrial water to 24 other authorities, making a lot of money – and it wanted to maximise that profit. 

That’s what Tryweryn was about.”

In was also in 1959 that Plaid Cymru made the fateful decision to abandon direct action on Tryweryn..

On 31 Jan 1959 Gwynfor Evans leads Plaid Cymru to reject direct action , a committee decision not of the Party.


Monday 19 October 2015

Reykjavik Rising - Learning Together the Icelandic Experience

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr welcomes this film as an honest assessment of the limits and the success's of the struggle of the Icelandic People in the never ending war with global neo -liberalism.

There are universal and not just specific Icelandic lessons to the struggle in Iceland and this film is a contribution to understanding the universal contributions.

Filmed in Reykjavik between 2012 and 2014, the documentary meets the instigators of the changes and follows the most important National Referendum in Iceland’s history.

Giving the Icelandic people the opportunity to decide whether to support a constitution that had been created through a popular grassroots movement.

Through this we explore the Icelanders’ story of their nation and the changes but also what lessons can be learned globally from their experiences.

In light of a growing international trend towards grassroots movements crossing over into mainstream politics.

This documentary is a timely portrayal of one such movement and their struggle to change the face of democracy.

Friday 16 October 2015

Tryweryn : Time to learn the lesson

Tryweryn have we really learnt the lessons - What have Plaid Cymru to commemorate  ?

Plaid Cymru is holding a rally to commemorate Tryweryn -  but what are they  commemorating  ?  Is there anything about Plaid Cymru's role at Tryweryn that should be celebrated ?

Wyn Thomas in his book "Hands off Wales"  writes concerning the appointment of Emrys Roberts  as Plaid Cymru Tryweryn Opposition Co-ordinator.

Emrys Roberts is quoted as saying 

 " There was a great deal of frustration and resentment by the Young Turks in the Party over Tryweryn....they intended to act and the Party had to do something to draw the sting"

So Plaid Cymru was to draw the sting of the opposition to Tryweryn and not make a sting  to defend Tryweryn .

John Jenkins writes 

Roberts was regarded as a man of great integrity: known and respected within the Party, included by those intent of undertaking action over Tryweryn... When people were informed that the great organiser had been appointed, they sat back and waited ...., but meanwhile, time was going on, the houses were being demolished and the people were being shifted away. By the time the people had opened their eyes to what was happening it was all over and done with.

In 2007 John Jenkins made his position on Plaid Cymru and Tryweryn clear :

Had Plaid Cymru announced at any stage prior to the valleys clearance that it had a task force which would literally fight anyone who attempted to forcibly remove the villagers and farm owners from their properties, then it would have stopped.

John Jenkins further adds had this stand resulted in open hostility, the moral outrage and uproar would have been deafening, As a result John Jenkins says nothing further would have been done.

So what are Plaid Cymru celebrating - drawing the sting and undermining direct action to save Tryweryn ?

Truth is revealed with the passage of time - yes it is time to learn the lesson of Tryweryn.

Source of Quotations  : Introduction to Hands Of Wales by Wyn Thomas

Oct 1958 Huw T. Edwards calls for direct action at Tryweryn.

1959 PC votes for direct action at Tryweryn and asks Emrys Roberts to organise a plan of action.

31 Jan 1959 Gwynfor Evans leads PC to reject direct action , a committee decision not of the Party

1959 Gwynfor comes up with new proposals re Tryweryn


1961 Elystan Morgan declares for PC to keep on about Tryweryn reduces them to being a pressure group.

Autumn 1961 Saunders Lewis tells Gwylim Tudur and Emyr Llywelyn to forget Tryweryn and focus on Coleg Studies.

1962 Year of Militant Action.

1963 CYIG SIT DOWN ON TREFECHACH BRIDGE BUT WHY WHEN TRYWERYN MORE FITTING? CYIG avoiding Action as re Investiture Rally at Cilmeri 10 days before Ceremony.

1964 Emyrs Roberts (he's a mate of Pedr and Cliff Bere) demoted from organising action  at Tryweryn.

All time Houses being demolished and work roads being built and mass action and occupations could have hindered greatly but no PC backed off -


1965 Waters damed and Dam opened - COMMEMORATE ANOTHER DEFEAT ?

Tryweryn is one of those moments in history when things become clear and the mist lifts and reality dawns.

The overwhelming majority of the people of Wales were against the creation of this Tryweryn dam to supply water to England with the consequent flooding of the Afon Tryweryn valley.

Even the overwhelming majority of the usually servile Welsh MP’s did not want the project to go ahead, but the people of Wales were ignored, and they were reminded who controlled Wales and it clearly was not the Welsh.

Sunday 11 October 2015

21ain Hydref 1965 - “Cofiwch Dryweryn - Remember Tryweryn - 50th Anniversary of Protest Against Opening of Lyn Celyn Reservior

The village of Capel Celyn in the Afon Tryweryn Valley , North Wales , was ( despite many strong protests ) demolished then flooded to create a reservoir to supply Liverpool with water

Thanks to Gethin and Sian for the photos and continuing the spirit of resistance of Tryweryn into the 21st Century with the founding of Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr