Reading the news this morning was hard; what with the ongoing Breivik court case and everything else from back home, I would have preferred to not also have to read about things that in many ways resonate with my own school experiences. Yesterday, two brothers at a school in Liksjoe (Lycksele, Sweden) were forbidden to speak their indigenous language with each other, something which happened in my school as well, when I grew up.
When I grew up, speaking any language but Swedish meant spending the afternoon in detention where you would be told off for not thinking about the Swedish majority’s feelings - it was always assumed that we had been trash-talking Swedes if we dared use another language - and this in turn was then used as a way to deny people the right to study their own languages at all.
And by denying us the right to speak our highly endangered languages, they’re effectively killed off. In a world where intra-generational language transmission is coming to a halt, the schools have a vital role to play in the revitalization of our languages and this shows that Sweden as a nation simply couldn’t care less.
Before I go into any great detail about the news, however, let’s all remember that I am 25 years old and that it’s only nine years since I left the Swedish compulsory school system. Nine years is a very short time and yet for a country which constantly portrays itself as a Jeanne of Arc of human rights and equality, one would think that the days of forbidden languages would be long gone.
But apparently I was wrong.
Knowing how to speak, write and read your language is an important part of developing your own identity - if you cannot use your own language, you’ll likely try to suppress the parts of it that you’ve been denied.
To forbid someone from speaking their own language is to take their voice and ritually kill it in front of their eyes: it is the physical manifestation of a negative answer to Spivak’s question ‘Can the Subaltern Speak ?’
Now as back then, the reason as to why the school outlawed the speaking of any other language but Swedish can be summed up as a vague ‘it’s to support immigrants who otherwise wouldn’t learn how to speak Swedish properly’ and now as then this claim is completely wrong and only shows how ingrained the idea of the divine Swede is in Swedish society.
Even when we actively discriminate against others, we frame it in a way where our actions can be interpreted as a way of aiding the poor non-Swedes. Sweden is a prime example of a country who still believes and actively promotes the idea of a white man’s burden and there have been so many obvious examples of this in the news as of lately that I’m starting to reconsider my decision to move back to Sweden if I end up with the paid PhD I’m short-listed for.
Fuck it all to hell.
Bolded for the astounding and heart-breaking parts.
This is still happening.
We are still denied the space for using and developing our languages and cultures in myriads of overt and covert ways. In 2012.
And we *keep* hearing about Sweden as an unracist paradise.
He read an hour long thing discussing his reasons for doing what he did. I really don’t see where the confusion could stem from.
Norwegians would be a minority in their own capital city within five to 10 years, he said, and he blamed liberal politicians for bringing about Norway’s demise by allowing immigration as well as “feminism, quotas … transforming the church, schools”.
Often Breivik came across as exactly the kind of “pathetic and mean loser without integrity” that he insisted he was not.
He admitted he had exaggerated the size and reach of the Knights Templar, the shadowy anti-Islamist network he claimed to have joined in London in 2001, because it wouldn’t have sounded so impressive to tell of “four sweaty guys in a basement”.
You “gild the lily” in order to “maximise the propaganda effect”, he said.
He said he regretted creating a “pompous” backstory, and posting pictures of himself wearing a pseudo-uniform cobbled together from eBay, because it had created the impression he was insane.
He repeated over and over again that he knew exactly what he was doing when he planned the attacks.
His targets were not random. The young people he shot dead on the island of Utøya during a Norwegian Labour party summer camp, some of them as young as 14, were “not innocent, non-political children”, he said. “These were young people who worked to actively uphold multicultural values. Many had leading positions in leading Labour party youth wings.”
He noted that “Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron have all said that multiculturalism has failed”. He had studied recent history and was disgusted to see what happens “any time nationalist parties take power”. He cited as examples the partial EU boycott after Jörg Haider’s far-right Freedom party entered Austria’s government in 2000, and the rightwing coalition in Hungary, which he claimed, was under pressure to “change their mind by being called intolerant nationalist Nazis”.
Brevik is descended from the rhetoric of dehumanization that white Europeans engaged in,a nd continues to engage in to make their colonial project successful. He is the product of the refusal of many white Europeans to see poc as fucking people, as actual Norwegian citizens. He’s the dude who went out and actualised all the slurs and racist anti immigrant rhetoric and the comments about headscarves and hijab and those lazy Africans and fights and gaslighting when poc complained about racism. Brevik is the result of claiming “tolerance” and multiculturalism but still demanding assimilation into white values while never allowing poc to fully integrate anyway because they are poc. And then blaming them for white people’s refusal to categorize them as people. Brevik is the logical result of racism being built into a society from the foundations to the roof, instead of being lanced with genuine repentance and a wish to do better. And that shit is across the European continent. But they will isolate him as a lone wolf and pretend that their rhetoric of exclusion and white supremacy had nothing at all to do with his radicalization. After all, a Muslim person might have punched him and broken his nose once!