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Date: 28/02/10

Yma O Hyd (Still Here)

OK, I know that it's not March 1 here yet, but it is in some places already, so I'm putting this up now.

Dafydd Iwan is a singer and songwriter, a cultural activist, an architect, a politician and a businessman (in a small nation, you have to be versatile). He has been a central figure in our nation's and our culture's struggle for survival for over forty-five years.

In 1981, at a time when all the odds seemed to stacked against our continuation as a meaningful entity - unchecked buying up of our villages by outsiders, the further erosion of our culture by the English mass media, and the imposition by an unwanted extremist government in London of an economic programme which was totally alien to our traditions and outlook, and which had already started to wipe out most of our industrial base - he wrote this, a passionate and defiant shout against the encroaching darkness.

It has since become a sort of second national anthem for many of us. For it speaks of our long (and long-untaught) history, back to the 4th century CE and how - "despite everyone and everything" - we are still here to answer for these few small acres of Earth.

The lyrics follow the video.

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Cymraeg English
"Dwyt ti'm yn cofio Macsen,
Does neb yn ei 'nabod o.
Mae mil a chwe chant o flynyddoedd
Yn amser rhy hir i'r co'.
Ond aeth Magnus Maximus o Gymru
Yn y flwyddyn tri-chant-wyth-tri
A'n gadael yn genedl gyfan,
A heddiw - wele ni!"

[Cytgan]

"Ry'n ni yma o hyd!
Ry'n ni yma o hyd!
Er gwaetha' pawb a phopeth,
Er gwaetha' pawb a phopeth,
Er gwaetha' pawb a phopeth
Ry'n ni yma o hyd!"

"Chwythed y gwynt o'r dwyrain,
Rhued y storm o'r mr,
Hollted y mellt yr wybren,
A gwaedded y daran encr,
Llifed dagrau'r gwangalon,
A llyfed y taeog y llawr,
Er dued y fagddu o'n cwmpas
Ry'n ni'n barod am doriad y wawr!"

[Cytgan]

"Cofiwn i Facsen Wledig
Adael ein gwlad yn un darn,
A bloeddiwn gerbron y gwledydd,
"Byddwn yma hyd Ddydd Y Farn!"
Er gwaetha' pob Dic-Sin-Dafydd,
Er gwaetha'r hen Fagi a'i chriw,
Byddwn yma hyd ddiwedd amser,
Fydd yr iaith Gymraeg yn fyw!"

[Cytgan]
"You don't remember Magnus,
No-one knows him.
One thousand six hundred years
Is too long a time for the memory.
But Magnus Maximus went from Wales
In the year three-eight-three
And left us a nation whole,
And today - behold us!"

[Chorus]

"We're still here!
We're still here!
Despite everyone and everything,
Despite everyone and everything,
Despite everyone and everything
We're still here!"

"Let the wind blow from the East,
Let the storm howl from the sea,
Let the lightning split the sky,
And let the thunder shout its
'Encore!',
Let the tears of the weak-hearted flow,
And let the servile lick the ground,
However black the gloom around us,
We're ready for the break of dawn!"

[Chorus]

"We remember that the emperor Magnus
Left our country entire,
And we shout before the nations,
"We'll be here until Judgment Day!"
Despite every Dic-Sin-Dafydd,
Despite old Maggie and her crew,
We'll be here until the end of time,
The Welsh language shall live!"

[Chorus]

Is it too much to ask that we, as a nation, stop our endless squabbling between ourselves - north-south, Cymraeg-English, rural-urban - and recognise our common adversary, namely the Anglo-American corporate culture which is overrunning our world like so much sewage, which has no time for any sense of rootedness, identity or culture which cannot be packaged for profit for a small cabal at a distance? Is it too much to expect that we might - as the modern saying goes - grow a pair and take that stand for the small civilisations of this planet? And is it really too much to hope that - when my time comes - my ashes may be scattered over the land of a people who, at long last, are free to be themselves in the world?

One can but hope - and possibly to dream a bit, too. After all, "Ry'n ni yma o hyd!"

(For Alex and Blod)