Thursday, 24 April 2008

St George – Multicultural icon, Rebel against Roman tyranny

"Happy ST George's Day. It should be a national holiday in England. We should celebrate St George as a symbol of freedom, dissent and multiculturalism," says human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. "It is time we ditched the myths surrounding St George and celebrated the reality of his courageous life. "He doesn't belong to the far right. He represents multiculturalism and rebellion against tyranny.

St George was born in Cappadocia in what is now Turkey, in about the year 280 AD, so not white or English. He was a rebel from the Middle East. Here relled against the Roman Emperor Diocletian and was executed for opposing the persecution of Christians by the Romans. "An early defender human rights, he is a heroic symbol of protest and the right to freedom of belief and expression. St George's parentage embodies multiculturalism and his life expresses the values of English liberalism and dissent," said Mr Tatchell.

The legend of George slaying a dragon and rescuing an innocent maiden from death is medieval. St George's Day is celebrated in England on 23 April, reputed to be the day of George's martyrdom in 303.

It was in the year 1415 AD that St. George became the Patron Saint of England when English Soldiers under Henry V won the battle of Agincourt. The story with the Dragon is an allegory, emblematic of the triumph of good over evil.

In Barcelona, it is traditional to give a book as a token of St. George's Day, whilst in Russia and the Ukraine the day is celebrated by Spring Festivals and Picnics to celebrate the end of winter. In the world of Scouting, it is the first day for camping.

(the picture is by 11 year old girl, Stephanie Zarouk, from a 2007 competetion involving children from Bethlehem and Leicester)


Anonymous said...

A bit unkind against the Roman Party, don't you think....?

Adrian Windisch said...

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But watch out for that man with the big dragon.