Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Anachronisms

Sorry for not posting this yesterday, but the first barbecue of summer led to the first food poisoning of same. I fully accept that St George is an odd choice of patron saint for England - a man born either in Roman Palestine or Anatolia who is also the patron saint of Ethiopia, Portugal, Greece and shed loads of other countries. England has two perfectly good alternative patron saints, Saint Edward the Confessor or Saint Edmund (as an Aularian, there should be no prizes for guessing which I'd choose). But for goodness sake, can we stamp on this ridiculous claim that St George was A Turkish Arab? Anatolia was part of the Roman Empire, then the Byzantine Empire, and was only conquered by the Arabs some 400 years after the death of St George.
It's like calling the Emperor Augustus an Italian, or like calling Colin Cowdrey an Indian or David Gower a Kenyan because they were born in the British Empire. It's fatuous, ahistorical nonsense. It's also designed to make a 'point': that celebrating St George as representing Englishness is stupid, bigoted nationalism, proven by the fact that George was a foreigner. Well, that isn't the point. we know so little about George anyway that we celebrate him not for his own history but for what we see as our national story - our national pride. If Jack Straw wants to attack English nationalism, there are better ways to do so.

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