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Scottish Sabbath

  • (Jim McLean)

    Imagine you're in Scotland on a Sunday afternoon
    Toora loora loora loora lay
    Your throat is dry and dusty as a summer's day in June
    Toora loora loora loora lay
    A whisky or a shandy would suit you fine and dandy
    But not a drop will ever come your way
    To whistle or be merry or travel on a ferry
    Would get you hung on Scotland's sabbath day

    Two thousand years ago there lived a man in Galilee
    Toora loora loora loora lay
    And he was persecuted by the local Pharisees
    Toora loora loora loora lay
    For on Sunday he was willing to cure the sick and ailing
    Or take five thousand people out to dine
    The sabbath day, said Jesus, was surely made to please us
    And then he turned the water into wine

    The ministers will curse and ban and threaten you with hell
    Toora loora loora loora lay
    Unless you can afford the price they charge in big hotels
    Toora loora loora loora lay
    In every land that's foreign, England or in Holland
    The pubs are never shut on sabbath day
    But here they take communion and join in holy union
    The Lord be with you now, come let us pray

    (as sung by Hamish Imlach)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • english [1965:] As Skye boats sail on a Sunday - 14 ARRESTED IN FERRY BLOCKADE

    The road to the Isles was blocked by a line of human bodies yesterday - when the first Sunday ferry went over the sea to Skye. After months of protest and petition of the ferry plan, the day had come when the islanders massed their ranks. But the day ended with 14 of them on a breach of the peace charge - and the ferries sailing on.

    The blockade drama flared at Kyleakin as the first ferry crossed the short stretch from the mainland. As the Rev. Angus Smith, a Free Church minister, watched the boat approaching, he said: "It is a sad, sad day for this God-fearing island of ours." Then, looking at the islanders massed behind him, he added: "We are all witnessing for the Lord our God against the breach of the Fourth Commandment, which says the Lord's Day should be kept holy. The Caledonian Steam Packet Company, which run the ferry, should respect our wishes and no tourists should come to Skye on a Sunday." Police took up position as the islanders moved on to the quayside to make the ferry trippers aware that on Skye they are looked on as Sabbath breakers. As the boat sailed nearer, the waiting islanders began to pray and sing psalms and press against the police cordon. Then, at eight minutes past one, the boat tied up alongside the quay and the first car rolled ashore ... Under an escort of 25 police it nosed up the quay through a crowd of visitors. Islanders flung themselves on the ground and as police sought to shift them, Mr Smith the minister threw himself in front of the leading car. There was a Gaelic shout of "Seas aig an thoiseach" ("Down in front of them"). People cheered and the singing reached a crescendo. Mr Smith was picked up and carried away by four burly policemen. The 300-strong crowd surged forward with islanders shouting: "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy!" Soon the police - 50 strong, plus plain clothes men - had marched, carried and bustled other demonstrators into a nearby office. In the first car, George Pueretz, with his wife, Sydney, from Dallas, Texas, said: "The last time I saw so many police was when President Kennedy was assassinated." It took the police 22 minutes to clear the way for the car - but it went through. As more cars followed, the islanders held a roadside prayer and psalm-singing service, led by Jonathan MacLeod, the Free Kirk precentor from Portree. They stood heads bowed in silent prayer, for much of the afternoon as more and more tourist cars rolled by from the ferry boats. By last night when the first Sunday service ended, 202 cars and 875 passengers had been carried by the two boats operating it. [...]

    At his little church, eight miles from Portree, Mr Smith took the evening service in Gaelic. The tourists who arrived yesterday found the hotels open - but their bars closed to non-residents. Cottages had their "bed and breakfast" signs covered by sacking. (Gordon Argo, Jim Lawson, Daily Record, Jun 5)

    Who really lost the battle of Skye? [...] Defence of an old faith against the do-as-you-please morality is always impressive - recognised, I'm sure, by both believers and non-believers. [...] In his manse, a few hours before the Sabbath, Rev Angus Smith of Skye told me in an exclusive interview: "The pattern of our life will change if the Sunday ferries come. Look at Arran, where the Sabbath was once strictly observed. Then tourism came. The blueprint of what will happen to Skye is there before us. We are not blind to what will happen. [...] Whatever people think, I do not feel that I was being extreme in suggesting that we stop these ferries. It all depends on what your beliefs are and where you stand. Democracy has failed to operate. When the machinery of democracy breaks down the principles must not be given up - another voice must be found. Seventy per cent of the people of Skye over 16 voted to preserve the Sabbath. We were backed by our district and county councillors as well as our M.P.s. The people who will be at Kyleakin will represent the cream of island morality. If you have convictions, especially religious convictions such as ours, you expect people to treat you as narrow-minded."

    On the general Sunday ferries situation, one question needs to be asked again: Why this single-minded determination to push the Sunday ferry through? It is not just for the tourists - who are charged more in the summer. Bigger ferries could have been put on. And it certainly is not for the islanders. In winter they will again be marooned in Sabbath isolation.

    Next island to fall, I predict, will be Lewis and Harris. And behind the tourists will come organised bus tours and the opening up of commercialism. Scotland - and the world - may have lost much more than has been gained in the successful invasion of Skye. (Michael Grieve, Daily Record, Jun 7)

  • german [1976:] In Schottland sind am Sonntag die Kneipen geschlossen. Die Lobby der Presbyterianer sorgt auch heute dafür. Als vor einigen Jahren eine Autofähre zur Insel Skye auch sonntags fahren wollte, legte sich der Pastor auf die Straße, um zu verhindern, daß die Autos den 'Sabbath' sündhaft entweihen. Sex ist am Sonntag aber wohl erlaubt, vorausgesetzt, man hat keinen Spaß dabei ... (Notes Hamish Imlach, 'Scottish Sabbath')

  • german 

    [1988:] Mag anderswo in Großbritannien der traditionelle Sonntagsfrieden längst munterer Geschäftigkeit gewichen sein: Auf den schottischen Inseln Lewis, Harris und North Uist, im hohen Norden der Hebriden, soll der Sonntag so heilig und still sein, wie er es immer war. "Mit allen Mitteln", drohen die Inselbewohner, würden sie sich gegen eine Beeinträchtigung ihrer Lebensgewohnheiten und religiösen Überzeugungen zur Wehr setzen, falls man sie dazu zwinge [...]. Calmac, alias Caledonian MacBrayne, der Bösewicht in der Geschichte, ist der staatlich-schottische Fährbetrieb, der die Hebriden-Inseln bisher schon an Werktagen miteinander und mit dem schottischen Festland verband, und der nun vom nächsten Frühjahr an die Häfen Tarbert auf Harris und Lochmaddy auf North Uist auch sonntags anlaufen will. [...] Mit solch geschäftstüchtigem Pflichtbewußtsein ist [Calmac] bei den Presbyterianern der nördlichen Hebriden aber an der falschen Adresse: Die einzige Pflicht, die die Mehrzahl der Bewohner dieser Inseln akzeptiert, ist die Pflicht, den "Tag des Herrn" heiligzuhalten. In einer Ecke Europas, in der die Bibel noch unmittelbar soziale Autorität besitzt, in der 40 Prozent der Bevölkerung sonntags gar zweimal zur Kirche gehen, und in der Läden, Restaurants und Bars am Sonntag konsequent geschlossen bleiben, wird der Plan der Fährgesellschaft als Angriff der Außenwelt auf eine eigenständige und kostbare Inselkultur verstanden. [Auf Harris wollen sich alle] Hotels und Herbergen weigern, sonntags eintreffende Gäste aufzunehmen. Unter diesen Umständen, meint Julia Munro vom Verkehrsamt Tarbert, werde das Argument einer Belebung des Tourismus hinfällig: "Wenn Touristen hier sonntags eintreffen, ist das Verkehrsamt geschlossen. Busse verkehren sonntags nicht, und die Landladies werden prinzipiell keine Sonntags-Touristen aufnehmen. Die betreffenden Besucher werden wieder abfahren und berichten, daß sie bei uns nicht mal eine Tasse Tee bekommen haben. Sogar die öffentlichen Toiletten hier in Tarbert sind sonntags geschlossen."

    Nicht allen der 31 000 Bewohner der Äußeren Hebriden liegt die Bewahrung absoluter Sonntagsruhe so am Herzen. Auf South Uist und Barra, Inseln mit überwiegend römisch-katholischer Bevölkerung, sieht man die Dinge weniger streng und hat sich an Sonntagsfähren schon gewöhnt. Was hier eher die Gemüter erregt, ist die Tatsache, daß die presbyterianischen Nachbarn im Norden jüngst mir ihrer Mehrheit beim Großen Inselrat der Western Isles den Katholiken die sonntägliche Benutzung von Schulen, Turnhallen, Schwimmbädern und Gemeindezentren verboten - eine Entscheidung, die für einige Verstimmung zwischen den Inselnachbarn gesorgt hat.

    Die Presbyterianer indes mögen sich in ihrer Wertschätzung der Sonntagsruhe von niemandem und nichts beirren lassen. Bei aller Friedensliebe seiner Schäfchen, verkündete bereits der Reverend Alex MacLeod, könne er "keine Garantie" dafür abgeben, daß eventueller Widerstand gegen die Fährgesellschaft Calmac ganz gewaltfrei ausfallen werde. Eins der Schäfchen, der Fischer Donald Macleod von Scalpay, plant schon Verwegenes - ein Dutzend Fischkutter soll, unter seinem Kommando, mit einer Blockade im kommenden Mai Calmacs unerwünschter Fähre das Einlaufen in den Hafen von Tarbert verwehren. (Peter Nonnenmacher, Frankfurter Rundschau, 19. Okt.)

Quelle: Scotland

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