Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stone of Destiny

My family watched Stone of Destiny last night on DVD. It is the true tale of a group of college kids from Scotland who steal the Stone of Destiny from Westminister Abbey. The Stone was the seat of Scottish Kings and had been taken by the English and put under the English throne so that any English King or Queen would also be the King or Queen of Scotland. This was a highly charged symbol and helped to spark Scottish Nationalism.

My daughter did not like my pointing out that the Scottish claims were not that dissimilar from those of French Quebec, as both were conquered by the English. The movie makes the Scottish kids the good guys in a heist, and the bonus features include conversations with the original leader of the band, Ian Hamilton. I am not saying that these were bad guys, but they were, indeed, nationalists and thieves. Not all nationalism is bad or good, of course. But my family's reaction to the movie was an interesting one, given our serious dissatisfaction with contemporary Quebec nationalism--of either the separatist flavor or the xenophobic one.

The kids did not get prosecuted, and now the Stone sits in Scotland except for when it is needed for coronations. Scotland got its parliament and some autonomy. I would have learned more about its nationalism, but one of my PhD students decided to drop this case study from her dissertation--it was not useful for comparing with Quebec and Northern Ireland for her purposes. So, instead, I will learn about Corsica. No shortage of nationalism.

PS I forget to mention--the movie was fun. Even more fun since I saw some of the sights in the movie just a few days ago.

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