T is for “To Be Or Not To Be”
Now, before you turn off or click away, no, I’m not about to launch into a great long academical discussion about what that little sentence means. I merely used it as an example of the wonderful Bard, William Shakespeare, whose birthday (and deathday) is marked today.
Shakespeare is one of our national heroes – for obvious reasons – as is St George. I wrote about St George last year but for those of you who don’t know, St George is the patron saint of England and 23rd April is his feast day.
However, unlike the Irish, the Scottish and to some extent the Welsh, the English don’t really go in for celebrating St George’s Day too much. We do the odd parade and we will perhaps sing the odd patriotic hymn in church (as we did yesterday – yay to Jerusalem!!) but generally speaking, St George’s Day passes without much mention in the media, in the news or even (shock horror) on Facebook. I can hazard a guess at the reasons why that is (namby pambiness of the “we must include all cultures and can’t risk offending anyone by calling ourselves ENGLISH; the chance that by flying the English flag we will be branded racist; we have lost our English identity somewhere along the line?)
The question of identity is a great one to ponder. Personally, I don’t see the difficulty in identifying myself as English and just because I do so doesn’t automatically mean that I harbour any sort of hatred towards people of other national identities. It doesn’t mean that because I want to fly the Union Jack (yes, JACK, not FLAG as the PC do-gooders would have us use) I am picking a war with those who don’t.
If people were to stop and think about it for a second or two, being English means that we are the product of several other tribes and nationalities, and therefore we have an inbuilt ability to welcome and include other people from other backgrounds to our own.
Identifying myself as English means that I am identifying myself as someone who, with a mixed heritage myself, totally understands and respects other people’s heritages too. I am not racist, I am just English.
God bless all you Anglo-Saxons out there with the flag of St George tattooed on your breastbone!