Can We Live Together? Wales and the Multicultural Question by Charlotte Williams MA, PhD In the summer of 1919 a day trip turned sour. A late night coach full of black people arrived back in Canal Wharf, Cardiff after a day out and the occupants were surrounded by a crowd hurling abuse and stones; an event that led to an escalation of rioting over several days in which a number of people were killed and injured. In the summer of 2003, two hundred special riot police were deployed to the streets on the Caia Park Estate, Wrexham to quell rioting between local residents and Iraqi Kurdish refugees. It is a certain but largely unacknowledged fact that the first major race riot in Britain occurred in Wales and the most recent race riot in Britain occurred in Wales. Riots may be one touchstone of ethnic relations but, of course, they are not the only one. There are many arenas of cultural interaction that open up the question: Can we live together? Consider these: Alice Williams, a Jamaican schoolteacher, wins the Welsh learner of the year prize at the 2003 Eisteddfod. Mohamed Wahab, economist, is made board member of the Welsh Development Agency. A.M. Kahn, Indian restaurateur, is elected Plaid Cymru councillor in Conwy in May 2004 and Charlotte Williams, academic, gives the Cymmrodorion lecture September 2004! These little snapshots tell us something about the way in which our nation is changing. As the historian, Gwyn Alf Williams, famously stated: 'A country called Wales exists only because the Welsh invented it. The Welsh exist only because they invented themselves. they survived by making and remaking themselves and their Wales over and over again.'1 This paper addresses one aspect of the current manifestation of that 'remaking'. Its concern is the way in which the Welsh nation changes, adapts and responds to its multicultural realities. Addressing a multicultural audience at the Global Britons Conference in Cardiff2, the First Minister, Rhodri Morgan spoke of the 'ultimate paradox of a country'. On the one hand, there is the recognition of huge diversity and long standing diversity as a product of Wales' industrialised and globalised past. On the other hand, he referred to 'the Celtic nature of Wales' the Celtic A lecture given to the Society at the British Academy, London, on 23 September 2004, with Gwenda Sippings, member of the Council, in the chair. 1 Gwyn A Williams, When was Wales? (London, 1991 edn), 13, 15. 2 Global Britons Conference: Foreign Policy Centre, Cardiff, 1 February 2003.