As we know, all good movements cannot simply be literal with facts and figures, we need a myth or a tale to reflect on what is happening to us. The Story of Scotland is no exception.
Daily we see words cast around between Westminster and Holyrood about facts figures, some hopeful others not. We seem to have lost the ability to tell our story in a wider way, a way which explains what is happening in the lives of the people. Today people laugh at stories but acknowledge there is power to change hearts and minds.
In Dublin, they used a statue representing the Children of Lir – an old Irish story of Children turned to swans by a wicked old witch and subsequently a poem was written to accompany this statue in the Garden of Remembrance by Parnell Square:
“We Saw A Vision”
In the darkness of despair we saw a vision,
We lit the light of hope and it was not extinguished.
In the desert of discouragement we saw a vision.
We planted the tree of valour and it blossomed.
In the winter of bondage we saw a vision.
We melted the snow of lethargy and the river of resurrection flowed from it.
We sent our vision aswim like a swan on the river. The vision became a reality.
Winter became summer. Bondage became freedom and this we left to you as your inheritance.
O generations of freedom remember us, the generations of the vision
It got me thinking if the Scottish Parliament will ever embrace our story, what that would look like and what Myth from our past will we connect with. Perhaps Robert The Bruce and the Spider or the Nine Maidens of Dundee who were all martyred by an evil dragon and finally slain by the hero “Martin”. (The dragon of course being Westminster)
It is sad that Religion has tried to stamp out mythology with a rather fierce literal interpretation of the Bible in the North and West of the Country. I rather fear that Art itself is something Scotland has yet to become once again comfortable with.
After years of grey buildings, designed to dampen our senses. I sincerely hope they find their way with a narrative, if Jews and Black People can adopt “Let my People Go” as a song (originally from the Bible Exodus 5:1) then surely so can we.
Or perhaps its time for a new myth, one that we can write to explain all that happened in the run up to our “freedom”.