In may 2008 the “Cité de la voile Eric Tabarly” (museum of the modern sail) was inaugurated by Jean-Yves le Drian, the president of the Brittany Region. The museum was offering to the visitors the possibility to discover the modern sailing’s world in three languages (french, english, breton). The whole signalling into the museum, as well as the explanatory pannels, the interactive games and the multimedia terminals were suggested in breton.
Seven years later, the “Cité de la voile” re-opened with a very modern museography and a new trilingual signalling : french, english and german. The breton language has been striked off the list. A few days later, the group Ai’ta ! has organised a protest action.
Our collective has been welcomed in october 2015 then, by the Agglomération of Lorient (the bureau of the urban area, ndlr). We made propositions about the uses of the breton language in the Cité and in the town itself. We also had met the crew of the Cité de la voile, in december 2015.
And yet, nothing ! The breton is still missing from the signalling of the “Cité de la voile”, which does not suggest visits for scolars or adults in breton as well, nor trainings for the employees.
This is quite relevant about a more global situation between the breton language and the ruling authorities of Lorient. In january 2012 the Agglomération of Lorient had yet signed the charter « Ya d’ar brezhoneg » (Yes to breton, ndlr) with the Public office of the breton language : the purpose was to promote the breton in the public area and then reach the level 3 (out of 4) of the charter. Four years later, the Agglo is still level 1.
Norbert Métairie’s words, president of the Agglo and mayor of Lorient, collected during the meeting about the new TGV* train station (september, 17th) speak for themselves :
« Yesterday I went to the meeting of the club TGV 56 (…). I saw the future plans for the train station of Lorient, presented by Norbert Métairie, with who I discussed then in a small group (…). I said, in a smiling and good-natured way, that I was a regular user of the TGV (…) and as it hoped the train station will considered the bilingual reality of Brittany (…). He almost laughed at me, to my surprise, and when I asked if the train station will be bilingual, he said « what, you mean french english ? » I was astonished, and also sad (…) and there he started talking about the usefulness of some languages over others (…) »
The collective Ai’ta ! has then organised a militant guided visit of the Cité de la voile, in breton (the very first one since the reopening in june 2015), to protest against the obvious lack of goodwill from the president of the Agglo and mayor of Lorient, M. Métairie, toward the breton language.
Those politic choices appear as well out of phase with the present environment, where the department of Finistère and the Region itself is re-thinking the linguistic line of conduct in favor of the breton language, with the idea to determine better the financial helps that the language of our country needs.
*french high-speed train