Gnothach eadar-nàiseanta - international

Beagan fiosrachaidh, mar thoiseach-toiseachaidh air a' bhloga seo, do dhaoine aig nach eil Gàidhlig:

Bhatarsaigh agus na Raiders

How much do we value our island communities around the world? Most people provide a fairly positive response to such a question.  Politicians and leaders are often strident in their enthusiasm: "Yes, of course, island communities matter."   But how successfully do our well-meaning approaches translate into action?   How effective, for example, are local and central government efforts in  promoting long-term island sustainability?  How are minoritised languages affected? Are we going about our efforts in the right way?  

The international challenges for island communities in the 21st Century are significant.  As the scholars John E. Hay, Donald L. Forbes and Nobuo Mimura suggest "global change in a variety of forms impinges directly or indirectly on the environment and sustainability of these island communities."

The significance of the Vatersay Raiders, a landmark early 20th Century episode which captured the public imagination and caused a political "furore" within politics and the media, is well established.  Little, however, has been published from a Scottish Gaelic or endogenous perspective, and the evidence suggests that we still have a lot to do before we can safely talk about a secure future.

How has the island fared since ten Gaelic-speaking cottars were imprisoned in Edinburgh's Calton Gaol in 1908, and what lies ahead for communities such as Vatersay in the 21st Century?   Within a Scottish context, campaign organisations such as Misneachd appear to recognise the link between appropriate local development, empowerment and minoritised language vitality, but does everyone?  It is clear that current, officially sponsored 'community' and 'land' based initiatives in Scotland do not go far enough.

From an international perspective, do we need to re-evaluate our relationship with capitalism?  Many island communities throughout the world - particularly those loosely described as 'small or fragile'  - are increasingly under threat in economic, social and linguistic terms.  

These are just some of the issues touched upon in Bhatarsaigh agus na Raiders, a new, focused study on the contemporary economic and social history of a minoritized language-speaking island community in the Western Isles.  

The island of Vatersay and its people has a strong record of radical activism.  Local effort - and vision - has not always been matched by a similar commitment from the authorities.   Are there lessons for other island communities, not only in Scotland but throughout the world? 

Vatersay Raiders


ISBN 978-18384484-1-7  


Paper, 85 Pages, published by Clò Phabaigh, 2023, Inverness, Scotland. 

Leabhar Gàidhlig ùr, air a dheasachadh le Lisa Storey à Bhatarsaigh.  

Caibideil air poilitigs le Aonghas MacLeòid (mac Christine Chaluim a Dot).

BIC categories include: Non-fiction, political activism, history, land rights, oral history, art of indigenous people.

Available now.



Reference for blogpost: Hay, J.E., Forbes, D.L. & Mimura, N. Understanding and managing global change in small islands. Sustainability Science 8, 303–308 (2013). 



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