In Reality It matters Not a Jot
Our genes are passed down to us from our ancestors, and each generation contributes something different. Our genes dictate what colour hair, eyes or skin that we have. They also have an influence on our individual susceptibility or resistance to certain diseases etc. How we’re built physically, how athletic, or how weak we are, and yes, our mental abilities (although that’s been a bit of a no-no area for some sensitive progressive liberal types).
Nevertheless, this does not mean that everyone fits into that frame. Within families with the same set of parents, you can get very athletic and intelligent individuals, and you get weaker (physically or mentally) individuals who are full sibling relatives with the same parents. So it’s a generality and not an ‘applies to all’ situation. In other words it’s a lottery, depending on what genetic traits you happen to inherit.
In my own family, my father was typically ‘Celtic’ looking – his side of the family were generally tall, muscular and fair, with sandy or red coloured hair. My mother was typically Brythonic, short, dark with a swarthy complexion, black hair and rather a large nose! I inherited most of my father’s genes (bar the nose), my sister inherited most of the genes on the more Brythonic side of our parentage. Consequently you could never tell by looks that we were even remotely related, let alone of the same race.
In Ceredigion, there is quite an enclave of the Brythonic type – especially in the more remote upland areas. In fact our physical resemblance to the Jews, and it has to be reluctantly admitted, our famed monetary habits as well! Gives some credence to the theory that the lost ten tribes of northern Israel may actually have wandered into Ceredigion and settled there! (Tongue firmly in cheek).
When it comes to looks, our perceived vision of a Jew is often that shown in the photo on the left. In fact a typical middle eastern Jew does not usually carry those pronounced visual traits – although both Jews and Arabs have a propensity to a certain type of nose. That visual appearance is generally associated with the Jews of eastern Europe Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or simply Ashkenazim. The middle eastern and east European Jews are genetically totally diverse from one another, but collect in the nation called Israel. By the same context, it has been proven that the genetic pool in north and south Wales are fundamentally different – indicating a different source, so care should be taken when attributing a preconceived view of nations – from a genetic point of view.
But you don’t need genetic testing to work this one out – there’s another simple way to determine origins, as names are passed down from father to son. Consequently, a wandering Anglo Saxon who strays over the border – usually in the search for work in a coal mine, iron or copper smelting works during the industrial explosion in south Wales – would bring his name and ‘Y’ chromosome identifier with him. Consequently the name carries on, and the folly of tracing gene origins is highlighted, and can be quite misleading. Some of the most patriotic of Welshmen that I’ve known, with surnames like Gravelle, Whittle, Felton or Murphy, may have had a ‘foreign’ great, great, great grandfather with e.g. an English or Irish name that’s been carried on and appears in the genetic record, All their other ancestors may have been of Brythonic or Celtic origin. So as the heading of this article points out IT DOESN’T MATTER A JOT and it can be very misleading, if you pin all your arguments on genetics.
There are exceptions of course, some with names like Kinnock, Murphy, Abse or Callaghan may be the product of an unhealthy view of Welsh patriotism, due to their bigotry being passed down by the attitudes of their ancestral families. And of course there’s also a smaller sub category, with names like George Thomas, Nicholas Edwards or Alun Cairns, with an extremely unhealthy view of Welsh patriotism!
The term anti-semitic is also a joke, because although popularly attributed to a hatred of Jews – based on race – Semitic actually means of middle eastern origin, which means Arabs and Jews alike. The similarity doesn’t end there, both the Arabs and the Jews historically and by tradition, trace their ancestral origins back to Abraham – so genetically they are in the same common gene pool – having Abraham in the ‘Y’ chromosome line. One having descended from Isaac’s line and the other from his older half brother Ishmael from Abraham’s wife Sarah’s Egyptian maid servant. So both Jews and Arabs can legitimately say that they are the descendants of Abraham! And it gets ever murkier if you insist on using genetic make-up to blanket distinguish one nation from the other. So ‘pure race’ adherents are on extremely shaky ground.
Nature vs Nurture
The debate has always revolved around nature or nurture. Are we what we are due to our genetic make-up, or are we the product of our upbringing and environment? Actually, it’s not an either/ or question. However in the main, there is a huge influence due to the way we have been nurtured from birth, but also, there is obviously a genetic factor involved, but to a lesser extent.
More so in past periods, ‘nature’ (the influence of genes on our make-up and traits as national groups) was more popular and prominent. This basically is the root of ideology based theories that some races are superior to others. This view is what has caused the development of racism, more especially the white supremacist view of the world. It has also for millennia been the mentality in royal lines, where a belief in superiority exists, and for that reason they keep the genetic pool within royal circles. That is why the royal families of Europe especially, are intermarried and inbred – it has it’s downside – examples of which were George the lll (apparently barking mad and suffering from porphyria) and Queen Victoria who has widely spread haemophilia into the royal ‘blue’ blood lines. But we won’t go any further into that, we’ll keep it as a subject for scrutiny at a later time perhaps!
Eugenics is another phenomenon, widely researched by the Nazis, and widely reported after the second world war. They put great effort into it – through scientific and biological research – to try and produce a race of people meeting a narrow criteria based on the ideal of a superior, Aryan race. Ironically a lot of their work set the foundations for the modern study of genetics. Eugenics, the philosophy and social movement that argues it is possible to improve the human race and society by encouraging reproduction by people or populations with “desirable” traits (termed “positive” eugenics) and discouraging reproduction by people with “undesirable” qualities (termed “negative” eugenics). A very chilling philosophy for any decent minded person. Equally chilling is the fact that we have come a full circle, with the advent of the likelihood of ‘designer babies’ becoming an attractive proposition for many – thanks mainly to the work done in the field of genetic engineering – pioneered by the Nazis!
Having said that, it cannot be argued that there are groups of humans arranged into an assemblage of nations that naturally display certain traits. To put these national groups into a hierarchy of superiority is fundamentally wrong from a humanitarian point of view. We are all equal, regardless of how we naturally arranged ourselves into national groupings.
Good heavens – didn’t you ‘Germans’ Know That? We Have For Centuries!
What all this genetic research has however thrown up is evidence of what we in the ‘Celtic’ fringes have known from the start. It seems like some sort of a shock to our big neighbours. Whilst we once roamed freely in the Isles of Britain, it seems that our neighbours weren’t aware of that. Neither have they thrown the habit of calling the UK ‘this country’. Notice how often it’s used in these ridiculous Brexit talks. It seems that another ‘secret’ that they are not aware of is that the UK is made up of THREE countries (the Six Counties don’t count – they are a special case of colonisation – with a made up mini England in the north of Eire).
This is how this revelation was famously exposed to the ignorant:
A must read article to accompany the above video can be found HERE
Finally we come to the subject that is the major influence on us as humans, when it comes to our perceptions, understanding of ourselves and our connections with our own ‘tribe’.
We all have an inbuilt, or ‘hard wired’ instinct when it comes to longing for knowing where we belong. It is observed on many levels. In it’s basic form it comes down to family. When you are born into a family you have a special relationship or ‘bond’ with other members of that family. You have an emotional tie, you are ‘one’. You may disagree and have arguments, but that’s totally different from falling out with someone else. You instinctively feel protective towards your family – especially your children, and you live in a secure environment, where you you know that your family will care for you, and protect you at all times. It is the basic unit.
Moving up a level, you also feel this sense of belonging when it comes to your street (or cluster of homes in a more loosely defined area). Your neighbours are others that live in close proximity to you, and you share a bond as members of a street or a hamlet. You support your neighbours and they reciprocally support you. This forms another bond. The nearer your neighbour, the stronger the bond. This is what makes a mockery of the theory that nationalist tenancies make the world less stable and more likely to instigate wars, This is a horrible lie. You don’t fall out and fight with all your neighbours do you? It’s counter productive for your own security and peace.
The next level is belonging to a town or city – you have a common bond based on what town or city you belong to.
Then you have counties. You have a sense of belonging when it comes to your county. I always feel that I’m home when I drive past the sign that says Ceredigion. The same applies to others I’m sure.
Then you have regions of your country. I firmly belong in the mid west, others will feel a belonging when you say north Wales, south Wales or east or west of north or south.
Finally you come up to country level. There is communality between the citizens of a country, based on their:
- heritage and
- national traits.
It all follows the same pattern. So to yearn for independence as a colonised country is the most natural thing in the world. It is a basic human right and something that puts us emotionally at ease.
When a baby is born, from the time he/ she begins to take in knowledge and information, and becomes aware of it’s surroundings and the people around it, it’s already developing feelings of belonging and it’s perception is established. It doesn’t matter what the skin colour is or where it’s ancestors came from, that baby will start to absorb it’s nationalistic identity.
This is evidenced when a couple may adopt a baby from birth. By the time it’s an adult, it’s sense of belonging and it’s loyalty is to the ‘parents’ that reared it, it’s extended family, the home it lives in, the street, town, county and most importantly it’s love of it’s country is fully established.
It is the way of life for humans from the time they started to exist, and we don’t need geneticists to tell us who or what we are. We are Welsh – and unique as a nation we are no better or worse than any other nation – end of!
Recently retired Consultant Electronics Engineer, now living in Aberaeron Ceredigion. Educated at Bronant County Primary School, Tregaron County School and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (Cardiff).
Involved in politics for nearly 50 years. Former vice president of Plaid Cymru – resigned in 2002. Currently the Chairman and a founding member of Ein Gwlad. Gwilym is also one of our permanent contributing editors at Ein Gwlad’s News Portal.