Hate crimes in Finland are shameful but reveal our meek response to intolerance

by , under Enrique

Just like over a year ago, during Black February, when three Muslims died under violent circumstances in a span of about three weeks, Migrant Tales learned of a new tragedy in the city of Kaajani. A black man, who is a train cleaner for the state railways company VR, was violently attacked by two men on Tuesday, according to Iltalehti and Kainuun Sanomat

Irrespective of who are the suspects, these types of crimes are simply unacceptable in our country and should not only be condemned by law but by society as well.

It is incredible that such violence can still happen in our country due to a person’s ethnic background.

If we must search for the real culprit of this crime, it is the ever-growing intolerance we find Finland. This adverse climate for immigrants and visible minorities has been forged not only by the present economic situation, but by our lame stance against racism, social exclusion and prejudice.

One must look at the big picture when looking at cultural diversity and tolerance. What does it say about the state of our society when  Perussuomalaiset (PS)-spirited associations like Suomalaisuuden liitto, Vapaa kielivalinta associaiton, and the youth wing of the PS and National Coalition Party spearhead a petition to do away with mandatory Swedish?

It sadly reveals that some prominent groups in our society are ready to sacrifice other people’s civil rights to satisfy their hunger for greater intolerance. If these organizations ever got their way concerning the role of the Swedish language in Finland, they would continue to search for new “enemies” because their reason for being hinges on creating and attacking scapegoats.

Moreover, undermining diversity enables populist parties who loathe civil rights for their “enemies,” to drive home their political ideology more effectively. If I were a dictator, the first matter I’d eliminate is the opposition, or diversity. Adolf Hitler did this effectively with the Jews and other enemies of the state.  At the end of the day, there was no opposition.

What has happened before can happen again in Europe. The fact that Finland has few minorities and immigrants explains why intolerance is not only  accepted but encouraged by some circles. It explains why a party like the PS rose from semi-obscurity to become Finland’s third-biggest party in parliament in 2011.

It is surprising that the National Coalition Party’s youth wing  has gone to bed with far right associations like the Suomalaisuuden liitto on the language issue. Even so, it is an excellent example of the traditional party’s mixed view of intolerance in Finland. Thanks to their unclear stand on the issue, they have permitted anti-immigration parties like the PS to grow into major political players in this country.

We at Migrant Tales hope that the perpetrators are brought swiftly to justice and the victim a swift recovery. This may be better said than done because the injuries of the victim are apparently so serious that he can never return to work at VR.

  1. Farang

    I wouldn’t say the Swedish language issue is about intolerance. It’s just that in today’s world where we are more international than ever before, it would be useful for Finnish people to know wider variety of language.

    Finnish language itself is a small language which you can’t use anywhere else than Finland. Also Swedish is a small language which really have no use outside Scandinavia.

    Even if Swedish would become voluntarty language we could still provide the needed services with both national languages. It doesn’t require every citizen to learn both languages.

    And now that the younger members of Kokoomus are driving this issue, it would be actually a good thing for tolerance. Because now the people who like to make Swedish as voluntary language don’t have to vote for PS to get their opinion voiced. So far PS has been the only party openly promoting this Swedish issue, thus getting all the votes given on this basis.

  2. Jssk

    Its sad that you are again blaming politically neutral organizations such as Vapaa Kielivalinta for being intolerant. I really dont see ANYTHING intolerant in opposing mandatory swedish. Its got to go at some point, and we are getting closer to that point all the time. You can use your obsolete cliches about nordic unity and such, but it wont change the inevitable future of mandatory swedish.

    Before you go on about how the abandoning of mandatory swedish would undermine “diversity”, please think about the possibilities it would bring on many levels.

    Its the opinion of people that made PS a major player, not the “unclear views” of Kokoomus.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –I really dont see ANYTHING intolerant in opposing mandatory swedish.

      Jssk, what you say is not what we’re getting. After these groups get rid of Swedish as the mandatory language, what and who is next? These groups have a difficult time living with diversity. So instead of their aim of making Swedish and elective, which is the red herring, you have a wider issue: accepting diversity in our society. It’s as simple as that. Look at the the groups that are backing this petition – intolerant, is a light way of putting it.

  3. PS voter

    The aggravated assault of train cleaner was horrific and very brutal act, just like the torturing of an asylum seeker by fire . According to some news, it is unclear if the victim will ever recover enough to return to work.

    However, it is difficult to see connection to racism based on news — at least by white Finns. As usual, Helsingin Sanomat didn’t report it, but many other news sources have reported that the attacker has immigrant background as well (which was also the case when the asylum seeker was tortured by fire or when a bus driver was beaten so viciously that he almost died and got a serious brain damage):

    http://yle.fi/uutiset/mies_tunnusti_junasiivoojan_pahoinpitelyn/6531291

  4. PS voter

    Jssk, what you say is not what we’re getting. After these groups get rid of Swedish as the mandatory language, what and who is next? These groups have a difficult time living with diversity. So instead of their aim of making Swedish and elective, which is the red herring, you have a wider issue: accepting diversity in our society. It’s as simple as that. Look at the the groups that are backing this petition – intolerant, is a light way of putting it.

    According to opinion polls, 66–72 percent of Finns is against obligatory Swedish. And I don’t think that in most countries, where the minority language is spoken only by 6 percent of population and almost all other speak majority language, the majority language speakers are forced to study the minority language. And very tiny minority of Finnish speaking Finns ever need any Swedish skills after school and most Finns don’t really learn Swedish (because there is little motivation and because outside school you never use the language) so it is quite wasted time.

    And it is worth to remember that many petitions against obligatory Swedish are suggesting replacing it with the option of selecting some other language to learn, like Chinese or Russian language, instead of just Swedish. To me, it sound as pro-diversity instead of anti-diversity.

    My own family background is almost 50 percent Swedish speakers (in practise some are more fluent in Finnish although officially they are Swedish speakers), but I am not able to speak Swedish. I found studying it just waste of time and I would have wanted to study something else instead of it, like electronics or basics of Arabic language.

    And it is worth to remember that although children from immigrant background might not be forced to learn Swedish at school, some of them are or some of them will not be hired because they haven’t passed Swedish tests, even though there wouldn’t be any real need for Swedish skills. And the same is true for many native Finnish speakers.

    • Mark

      PS Voter

      I am not able to speak Swedish

      and

      I found studying it just waste of time

      Gosh, the triumph of ignorance! How can you say you ‘studied’ it and yet not actually know it? It’s like saying, I studied maths, but I cannot add up, and oh, I still want to be regarded as an expert on the usefulness of arithmetic, which I couldn’t be bothered to learn, nonetheless! Get out of here!

      What you really mean is that you attended lessons but basically had your fingers in your ears the whole time, and that because you had already decided that it was ‘just a waste of time’.

      Now, you want to turn this educational failure into a political policy that allows other people to equally fail, and in the process, you don’t give two fucks for what the implications of that would be for the Swedish speaking minority in Finland?

      According to opinion polls, 66–72 percent of Finns is against obligatory Swedish.

      So what. Thank God that a minority of Finns are at least politically wise enough to know that allowing the majority to have a say over the status of a minority might not be a good thing!

      Not only did you have your fingers in your ears when you were learning Swedish, clearly you have never had a single lesson in political governance! But don’t let that stop you spouting forth like you are the font of all true wisdom! Ah, the triumph of ignorance!

  5. PS voter

    According to opinion polls, 66–72 percent of Finns is against obligatory Swedish.

    And I would like to add that also many Swedish speakers are against obligatory Swedish and even the chairman of Finlandssvensk samling (which is association for Swedish speaking Finns) has demanded removing obligatory Swedish:

    Also Elinkeinoelämän keskusliitto (quite important association of employers) has recommended removing obligatory Swedish as there is less and less need for Swedish skills and more need for other languages.

    http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakkoruotsi

  6. Jssk

    Jssk, what you say is not what we’re getting. After these groups get rid of Swedish as the mandatory language, what and who is next? These groups have a difficult time living with diversity. So instead of their aim of making Swedish and elective, which is the red herring, you have a wider issue: accepting diversity in our society. It’s as simple as that. Look at the the groups that are backing this petition – intolerant, is a light way of putting it.

    The language strife began even before Finland was established, i dont think it has anything to do with some people being opposed to diversity. Id say the opposition to mandatory swedish is more or less a 50/50 mix of practical reasons to abolish it and opposition related to pride about ones language and nation.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –mix of practical reasons to abolish it and opposition related to pride about ones language and nation.

      Your reasoning is a bit jumbled, especially the above-mentioned thought. I disagree. Those who want to get rid of mandatory Swedish are those who want to undermine its position in our society. The day when Finland makes Swedish into an elective is the day when we’ll take a big turn to the nationalist right. Language is all about recognition. In California, where almost the majority are Spanish-speakers, doesn’t recognize Spanish as an official language. Nowhere does it read in the Constitution that English is the official language of the United States.

      Once again, take a look at the organizations that are backing this initiative. Suomalaisuuden litto is an association taken over by some of the most far right and conservative sectors of the PS. The youth wing of the National Coalition Party is neoliberal and similar to the same ideology of the teabaggers and Republican Party, both of which are very anti-immigration and pro-white.

  7. Farang

    One question to Enrique and Mark:

    Several times when we have talked about immigration you have emphasized the fact that world is changing and Finland needs to keep up.

    Why don’t you accept that this applies also to mandatory Swedish in Finland?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Why don’t you accept that this applies also to mandatory Swedish in Finland?

      I have never argued that Finland needs to ‘keep up’ with anything. Enrique might have done that. For me, you conflate two issues, minority politics and commercial pragmatics. Commercial pragmatics says that you invest in the skills that will help gain an advantage in the market. Minority politics is about doing everything you can to guarantee the equal status of a country’s citizens regardless of whether they belong to a minority or majority population. Sometimes, an ‘unequal’ playing field has to be made more equal, through some kind of ‘re-distribution’, whether that’s money, knowledge, decision-making etc.

      Commercial pragmatics do not trump minority rights. Rights should not subject to ‘market whims’. It’s that simple. And really, that’s probably the end of the discussion for me. But because other people do not make this judgement, people get bogged down arguing things that are completely irrelevant from my point of view, such as ‘it’s a waste of my time’, even though clearly that person hasn’t actually given any time. 🙂

  8. Yossie

    Seriously…

    Because we need more diversity we need lack of diversity in native finn’s language skills

    Because we need more tolerance, we tell them they are intolerant for wanting more freedom of choice

    You talk about sacrifices, yet you give no tought about the sacrifices on native finn’s language skills.

    “After these groups get rid of Swedish as the mandatory language, what and who is next? These groups have a difficult time living with diversity. So instead of their aim of making Swedish and elective, which is the red herring, you have a wider issue: accepting diversity in our society. It’s as simple as that”

    Its not simple as that! By your logic, if you are against polygamy, you should vote against gay marriage as polygamy will follow it! Lets vote against enviromentalism because if we accept any of it, they will destroy all the industry in Finland and make us live like in 1800s!

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Because we need more diversity we need lack of diversity in native finn’s language skills

      That’s a ridiculous and simplified argument. Studying two home languages is not unusual in today’s world and people still learn a third language on top. Once you learn your first 2nd language, further languages are much easier to learn.

      Because we need more tolerance, we tell them they are intolerant for wanting more freedom of choice

      That’s like putting political concepts in a blender and telling us that the output must somehow make sense.

      First, what do you mean by tolerance, what do you mean by freedom of choice, what do you mean by intolerance? Because at the moment, you seem to have taken these words completely out of the historical and political context.

    • Yossie

      “That’s a ridiculous and simplified argument. Studying two home languages is not unusual in today’s world and people still learn a third language on top. Once you learn your first 2nd language, further languages are much easier to learn.”

      Yes, would be fine if your home languages were included in the most widely spoken ones. However, we don’t have that luxury. Nowdays speaking just english just isn’t enough. You want to add some other major language. For a british as yourself this isn’t a problem as you already speak one major language. Try to see it from our point of view too.

      Also you cant automatically assume that further languages come easier. Having studied english doesn’t make japanese easier…

      You should note that speaking one language and actually having a good command of language are totally different things. In the end you want to have people with good skills in the languages they speak. For most people this would mean concentrating on 2 non-native languages.

      “That’s like putting political concepts in a blender and telling us that the output must somehow make sense.”

      This is your guys blender Mark. Somehow you have made it that it’s about tolerance that Finns are forces to study swedish.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Yes, would be fine if your home languages were included in the most widely spoken ones.

      Really? I’ve never heard of a country ditching a home language so that they can speak a foreign language? That’s the point. You said it. Swedish is a home language and that is why it has the place that it does and it cannot be treated like a foreign language where you decide whether it’s going to be taught on the basis of, for example, trade, diplomacy etc.

      Try to see it from our point of view too.

      And why don’t you try to see if from the point of view of being part of a minority language culture within Finland, that’s what’s relevant here after all!

      Also you cant automatically assume that further languages come easier. Having studied english doesn’t make japanese easier…

      I’ll rely on the extensive linguistic studies that show this to be true.

      In the end you want to have people with good skills in the languages they speak. For most people this would mean concentrating on 2 non-native languages.

      You are making it up as you go along. What makes you think that you can only speak and write fluently in only two languages max?

      Somehow you have made it that it’s about tolerance that Finns are forces to study swedish.

      Enrique is correct to identify this as a ‘minority’ issue and one of tolerance of internal diversity. You are the one trying to ‘globalise’ this debate and to try to make it purely a matter of ‘economics’, ignoring the cultural and political dimensions of this debate. Sorry, but that is the truth, Yossie.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Finns are forces to study swedish.

      Even the way you write this betrays your disgusting level of prejudice against Swedish-speaking Finns. You don’t even refer to them as Finns. You imply that only a Finnish speaker is a real Finn. And you think that this is a perfectly legitimate position to take into political debates, and then you are amazed that other people might think that your position lacks tolerance.

      Can you at least use the proper language here. We are talking about Swedish-speaking Finns and Finnish-speaking Finns. They are all Finns. And if you are a Swedish-speaking Finn then you are being ‘forced’ to learn Finnish just as much as a Finnish-speaking Finn is forced to learn Swedish. Except that in spite of this compulsory effort, a great many Finns still manage to avoid learning Swedish and yet STILL complain about having had to ‘not learn Swedish’. You people are such a joke sometimes…you have no idea about political rights. It’s the politics of grievance, pure and simple. Beer glass politics!

    • Yossie

      Mark

      “And why don’t you try to see if from the point of view of being part of a minority language culture within Finland, that’s what’s relevant here after all!”

      And what has the forced swedish studies for everyone has bring to that minority culture since they made it mandatory in 70s? Dislike of swedish language by many finnish speakers!

      “You are making it up as you go along. What makes you think that you can only speak and write fluently in only two languages max? ”

      Where did I said that? You are the one making things up. I said many people would be better off concentrating their studies on 2 foreign languages since people have limited time and skills for languages.

      “Even the way you write this betrays your disgusting level of prejudice against Swedish-speaking Finns.”

      What is disgusting here is your insulting tone and prejudice. I do consider swedish speaking finns to be as much finns as finnish speakers. Make no mistake about it. If you weren’t so prejudice, you would have figured it out of the context that I was talking about finnish speaking finns and the use of “finns” was to shorten it up.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      And what has the forced swedish studies for everyone has bring to that minority culture since they made it mandatory in 70s? Dislike of swedish language by many finnish speakers!

      Why would you dislike the language of a large minority in Finland? What is there to dislike? Studying? I thought Finnish schooling was supposed to be successful.

      Where did I said that?

      Really? Memory problems? You wrote this!!!!

      For most people this would mean concentrating on 2 non-native languages.

      And you have now clarified this by stating:

      I said many people would be better off concentrating their studies on 2 foreign languages since people have limited time and skills for languages.

      And for this you have not a shred of evidence, educational training or language training to support your view? Like I said, making it up as you go along!

      What is disgusting here is your insulting tone and prejudice.

      You were writing about Finnish speaking Finns exclusively as if these were the only kind of Finns and I expressed my disgust at your blindness in doing that. But this debate is characterised by ignorance defending ignorance on the basis of some kind of ‘everyone hates Swedish’ so it’s okay to knock it. It’s exactly this kind of majority bullying that I personally detest. And you are doing nothing to show you are any less ignorant about the politics of minority issues.

      I do consider swedish speaking finns to be as much finns as finnish speakers.

      Well maybe next time you won’t be so fucking lazy in your writing!

  9. Yossie

    Mark

    “Really? Memory problems? You wrote this!!!!

    For most people this would mean concentrating on 2 non-native languages.

    And you have now clarified this by stating:

    I said many people would be better off concentrating their studies on 2 foreign languages since people have limited time and skills for languages. ”

    Like I said: MOST PEOPLE! or have I really missed the news that most finns are fluent in several non-native languages? What I heard its completely opposite with people being worried that finnish speaking finns can only speak english and very bad swedish.

    “Why would you dislike the language of a large minority in Finland? What is there to dislike? Studying? I thought Finnish schooling was supposed to be successful.”

    Maybe its the wasted effort used to study a language you can hardly hear or use instead of having been able to use that effort to study a language you like and could use?

    “And for this you have not a shred of evidence, educational training or language training to support your view? Like I said, making it up as you go along!”

    I´m sorry I do not have degree in this matter. Yet I do have my own personal experiences of not having space in my schedule to take additional languages, my head spinning with swedish words in english lessons. But yeah, this does not matter since you know it all so much better?

    “It’s exactly this kind of majority bullying that I personally detest”

    How I see it, its swedish speakers that bully us with forced swedish.

    “Well maybe next time you won’t be so fucking lazy in your writing!”

    I´m sorry that obvious things need to be written down to you!

    • Mark

      Yossie

      MOST PEOPLE!

      And you base this on what? You are talking out of your arse if you think that MOST people are not capable of studying, learning or speaking more than 2 languages. It’s that simple! But don’t let science get in the way of your ignorance!

      Maybe its the wasted effort used to study a language you can hardly hear or use instead of having been able to use that effort to study a language you like and could use?

      There are Swedish speaking channels on television and plenty of Swedish speaking programs even on Yle. Swedish newspapers, websites and literature and all based on life in Finland. You really have no excuse to complain about not using Swedish in Finland. Muppet!

      I´m sorry I do not have degree in this matter.

      And it shows!!!!!!!

      Yet I do have my own personal experiences

      No, you have your own personal prejudices!

      Head spinning? Oh, stop being a drama queen! At University I was studying Russian and Spanish at the same time and often found some cross-over between the two, but this usually helps in many ways because its natural to compare words or word origins – by exploring similarities or differences, it helps you get a better handle on aspects of both languages.

      How I see it, its swedish speakers that bully us with forced swedish.

      And this is where your obvious prejudice speaks again. Both Swedish-speakers in Finland and Finnish-speakers in Finland are each learning ONE of the other home languages. There is no bullying. There is total equality in that. But you simply refuse to accept that Swedish has the same legitimacy or status in Finland that Finnish does, and that is why it looks so unbalanced to you.

      The fact that you put forward Finnish as the ‘NORM’ is typical of hegemonic politics. And that is why I’m glad that people like yourself who are clearly ignorant of the politics and potential abuses towards minorities do not get to decide this policy in Finland, because clearly you would run Swedish-speakers out of town!

      Finland is streets ahead of most of the rest of the world in its policy of dealing with a linguistic minority, and rather than laud and celebrate that, you seek to dismantle that very significant achievement. And why? Becuause you had the awful misfortune of having Swedish and English words both floating around your head at the same time. I guess no-one told you that they are both Germanic languages.

    • Yossie

      “And you base this on what? You are talking out of your arse if you think that MOST people are not capable of studying, learning or speaking more than 2 languages. It’s that simple! But don’t let science get in the way of your ignorance!”

      How about I base this on results? Are finnish speaking 2 non-native languages fluently? Most of us aren’t!

      “There are Swedish speaking channels on television and plenty of Swedish speaking programs even on Yle. Swedish newspapers, websites and literature and all based on life in Finland. You really have no excuse to complain about not using Swedish in Finland. Muppet!”

      Yet, I hear more russian where I life than swedish. Nice touch with the insult in the end. Feeling better when insulting people?

      “No, you have your own personal prejudices!”

      Oh right, when people agree with you, they have experiences, when they dont, they have prejudices. I see…

      “Both Swedish-speakers in Finland and Finnish-speakers in Finland are each learning ONE of the other home languages.”

      With the exception that usefulness of finnish and swedish are no where equal in Finland.

      “Finland is streets ahead of most of the rest of the world in its policy of dealing with a linguistic minority”

      How far are you taking this logic? When do we need to start learning saame, russian and somali? How about swedish? They should start learning finnish and all other minority languages they have there?

    • Mark

      Yossie

      How about I base this on results? Are finnish speaking 2 non-native languages fluently? Most of us aren’t!

      You cannot have it both ways. You cannot complain that Finns have to learn Swedish and then tell me in the very next breath that in fact they haven’t learnt the language!

      Also, I’m pretty sure the goal is not to achieve total fluency in both languages for the whole Finnish-speaking population. That is not the goal and that is not the outcome. Just to put this into perspective though, over half of the world’s population is multilingual!

      Yet, I hear more russian where I life than swedish. Nice touch with the insult in the end. Feeling better when insulting people?

      So, learn Russian if you think it would be useful. Nothing stopping you.

      I don’t know if you know my position on the language issue. I think that it should not be part of university studies, because they are already intense enough. But I do think they should be compulsory during school years and that any final qualification at the age of 16 should be an entrance qualification into civil service, but that the public administration should provide their own Swedish classes for those who want to brush up so as to work in public service.

      You are muppet. My definition of a muppet is someone that argues for something on the basis of a clearly ignorant position while being totally ignorant of their obvious ignorance. An educated person can objectively understand two sides of an argument and present both sides fairly, even if they nevertheless choose to take one side. You have shown absolutely no skill or insight whatsoever into the arguments ‘for’ Swedish as a compulsory language. So, you are a muppet. Sorry that you don’t like it or find it insulting. You should work harder to not be so obviously ignorant!

      With the exception that usefulness of finnish and swedish are no where equal in Finland.

      I was NOT talking about usefulness. We were talking about status, as equality of status is also equality of citizenship in Finland. That’s the problem, you DON’T even understand why this is important. You hide from the real arguments and try to make it about ‘usefulness’. I can tell you for a fact that 90% of today’s school curriculum will not be of regular use in everyday life and so, based on your spurious argument, they would be dropped.

      How far are you taking this logic? When do we need to start learning saame, russian and somali?

      I’ll tell you something for nothing. I don’t have a closed book about any of these minority issues. They have to be negotiated, properly and with a view to historical circumstances, to the rights and status of minorities and any potential vulnerabilities. If Swedish continues to decline, then I cannot see compulsory lessons continuing. Nevertheless, I have lived in a country where a historical language has been revived and now retains a very healthy status (Welsh). Finland has decided that anybody living in Finland has a right to maintain their native language. That is a right I would support 100%. Swedish has a historical root in Finland that Russian does not have. But in some border areas, where there are larger Russian-speaking populations, then there is every right of the populations there to seek official recognition of their minority language status.

  10. Farang

    Mark

    Both Swedish-speakers in Finland and Finnish-speakers in Finland are each learning ONE of the other home languages.

    You have to take in consideration the usefulness.

    The swedish-speaking Finns are forced to study Finnish, which is usable to everywhere in Finland.

    The finnish-speaking Finns are force to study Finnish, which is usable only in very few places in Finland.

    So this is not equal case for both. Let’s think it this way. Take two Finns and force one to learn English and one to learn Tagalog. Which one benefits more?

    And what has the forced swedish studies for everyone has bring to that minority culture since they made it mandatory in 70s?

    Mark, I would also like to hear answer to this question. Could you give it?

    • Mark

      Farang

      You have to take in consideration the usefulness…. So this is not equal case for both.

      The debate begins and ends with the question of the equal status of both language speaking groups in Finland, who both have a legitimate claim to Finnish citizenship and recognition as citizens of Finland.

      ‘Usefulness’ is another way for the majority to exercise a disproportionate influence over the rights of a minority. And frankly, I’m sick and tired of this debate in Finland and the way that some people attempt to use this argument of ‘usefulness’ with absolutely no consideration for how that undermines minority rights, either in terms of Swedish speakers or other groups.

      It will always come out that way [monocultural totalitarianism] if ‘usefulness’ becomes the benchmark by which ‘rights’ are assigned. It cannot be allowed to happen. For any student of history, this is easily recognised as the path to fascism.

      And that is why it is just plain wrong. I think the fair way forward is that the commitments to the Swedish language reflect the size and distribution of the Swedish speaking population, which correct me if I’m wrong, is actually currently the case in Finnish municipalities with a sufficiently large enough ‘minority’ population to be regarded as ‘bilingual’, with the administrative obligations that that requires.

      Mark, I would also like to hear answer to this question [what has the forced swedish studies for everyone has bring to that minority culture since they made it mandatory in 70s?]. Could you give it?

      This is the same old crap. Fuck up the dinner so that you never have to cook again!

  11. Jssk

    Those who want to get rid of mandatory Swedish are those who want to undermine its position in our society.

    Well, how would it undermine the position of swedish in our society? Large part of finns never bothered to even learn it properly, because they saw it as a negative thing, due to its mandatory status. Even if the mandatory swedish was abolished, there would be many finns who would still learn it (properly) due to many reasons.

    Are we undermining the status of Saami languages because they are not mandatory? Is the status of meänkieli being undermined because its not mandatory in sweden, even in the regions with a relatively large amount of speakers?

    Is perhaps the status of finnougrian languages being undermined in Russia as they are not mandatory in the regions where they are spoken? I dont think so.

    It seems its always us, bad finns who are undermining the status of swedish language in Finland because we dont see a reason for it to be mandatory. Some people find the mandatory status of it as an insult on their identity. See for example the case with “Finland is swedish” document. Absolutely disgusting.

    Once again, take a look at the organizations that are backing this initiative. Suomalaisuuden litto is an association taken over by some of the most far right and conservative sectors of the PS. The youth wing of the National Coalition Party is neoliberal and similar to the same ideology of the teabaggers and Republican Party, both of which are very anti-immigration and pro-white.

    These organizations and people are just bringing this subject to publicity yet again, rightfully so.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      These organizations and people are just bringing this subject to publicity yet again, rightfully so.

      Don’t be naive. Do you honestly not know that fascists attempt to pick on any ethnic or minority based grievance in order to gain a foothold in politics?

  12. Farang

    Mark, I would also like to hear answer to this question. Could you give it?

    This is the same old crap. Fuck up the dinner so that you never have to cook again!

    Seriously. You claim that we would somehow take away something from the minority if we stopped forcing finnish-speaking Finns from learning swedish. And this seems to be the main argument here to enforce this. So you should be able to tell us what it is that we need to protect here.

  13. Jssk

    Don’t be naive. Do you honestly not know that fascists attempt to pick on any ethnic or minority based grievance in order to gain a foothold in politics?

    Yes, im aware of this. But i cannot see the language strife as such. Even the anger it causes tells you its a much larger issue.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      Even the anger it causes tells you its a much larger issue.

      No, it tells you that ‘citizenship’ lessons in Finland do not include explaining the ‘sacrifices’ necessary by the majority to preserve the rights of minorities.

      Because at the end of the day, we can always argue that ‘catering for a minority’ is not cost effective. I mean, why bother with baby incubators, because the majority don’t need them, so why spend so much money on such a small minority? It’s called ‘health equality’. We all have an equal right to health, even when our ‘illness’ puts us at a disadvantage compared to a healthy majority.

      But why make the majority of people pay for something that only a minority will benefit from, I hear you say? It’s just not fair, I hear you cry!

      You want to make this about how the majority feels when they have to make some kind of ‘sacrifice’ for the minority, and you want to somehow make it seem unfair. And yet, in the process, you fail to understand what equality means.

      That a great many Finns don’t understand this doesn’t surprise me because a great many people the world over do not understand it. And ignorant politicians who only try to feed off that sense of grievance only make the situation worse.

  14. Jssk

    No, it tells you that ‘citizenship’ lessons in Finland do not include explaining the ‘sacrifices’ necessary by the majority to preserve the rights of minorities.

    Fennoswedes have equal rights, they are our countrymen as much as any finn, mandatory swedish or not. I dont see what you are trying to tell me here. If anything, mandatory swedish gives some finns a negative image of finnish swedes, and thus weakens national intergrity.

    I think its more about catetring minorities inequally. You could make a babby reference about this too but it would be rather tasteless.

    You want to make this about how the majority feels when they have to make some kind of ‘sacrifice’ for the minority, and you want to somehow make it seem unfair.

    We are at the point where we are pretty much making ritual sacrifices to the fenno-swede minority.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      Fennoswedes have equal rights, they are our countrymen as much as any finn, mandatory swedish or not.

      You cannot talk about equal rights and quietly slide language rights off the table!

      If anything, mandatory swedish gives some finns a negative image of finnish swedes, and thus weakens national intergrity.

      Well they should learn/be taught to appreciate the compromises necessary to maintain national cohesion in a situation of cultural diversity! Sure, go down the route of disenfranchising a linguistic minority and see where that gets you. Plenty of countries the world over that are caught in militant and painful schisms because a majority has tried to enforce ‘majority rule’.

  15. Jssk

    Jssk

    You cannot talk about equal right and quietly slide language rights off the table!

    Their right to have finns be forced to learn swedish or what?

    • Mark

      Jssk

      Their right to have finns be forced to learn swedish or what?

      Grow up, Jssk. Are you complaining about being ‘forced’ to learn history, English, maths, geography, or even Finnish?

      You are being given an education, stop fucking moaning!

  16. Jssk

    Well they should learn/be taught to appreciate the compromises necessary to maintain national cohesion in a situation of cultural diversity!

    You mean pro-swedish indoctrination, in the style of “Finland is swedish”-document? Indoctrination with politically coloured BS never ends well.

    Sure, go down the route of disenfranchising a linguistic minority and see where that gets you. Plenty of countries the world over that are caught in militant and painful schisms because a majority has tried to enforce ‘majority rule’.

    I ask again, how would the abolishing of mandatory swedish disenfranchise the swedish speaking minority or undermine their rights?

    • Mark

      Jssk

      You mean pro-swedish indoctrination, in the style of “Finland is swedish”-document? Indoctrination with politically coloured BS never ends well.

      Yeah, right. So now you are using the existence of ‘extremists’ within a minority to deny the normal rights of a minority. Wow, that’s never been done before.

      I ask again, how would the abolishing of mandatory swedish disenfranchise the swedish speaking minority or undermine their rights?

      There is total equality in asking every speaker in Finland to make an effort to learn the ‘second’ home language. Removing that obligation makes the ‘other’ home language and those who speak it into a ‘second-class’ category.

      When two linguistic groups exist within a country, then this is the best way to move ahead. Finland has a thriving Swedish-speaking community, and that is in no small part down to the fact that Swedish still has a place in national culture, and this is almost certainly due to the language policy.

  17. Jssk

    Jssk

    Grow up, Jssk. Are you complaining about being ‘forced’ to learn history, English, maths, geography, or even Finnish?

    You are being given an education, stop fucking moaning!

    An invidual appreciates freedom of choice over being forced to learn a language he doesnt need. Geography, history and maths are universal subjects, english is the lingua franca in much of the world. Swedish isnt. Swedish is not useful outside of scandinavia. Nowhere else in the world a 95% majority learns the language of 5% minority.

    Finland is not a part of Russia or Sweden anymore, we are not under foreign rule anymore. Apparently some people have problems adjusting to that.

    In case you wonder, ive been throught all my swedish lessons, didnt learn shit.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      An invidual appreciates freedom of choice over being forced to learn a language he doesnt need.

      There is no real freedom without equality!

      Geography, history and maths are universal subjects,

      Universal? What on earth are you talking about? History is generally national in character. Most people will use only the rudiments of arithmatic in their everyday life. And Geography is pretty likewise selective, depending on which countries you choose to study. Hardly ‘universal’. That’s just a bum-arsed way of trying to make a special case of Finnish not having value! It clearly does have value as one of Finland’s home languages. Just because you refuse to accept that value doesn’t mean that it suddenly ceases to exist.

      Finland is not a part of Russia or Sweden anymore, we are not under foreign rule anymore. Apparently some people have problems adjusting to that.

      Do you see Swedish as a ‘foreign’ language in Finland?

      ive been throught all my swedish lessons, didnt learn shit.

      What does that mean, you didn’t learn Swedish?

  18. Farang

    Mark, please answer this, as this seems to be the core issue here:

    You claim that we would somehow take away something from the minority if we stopped forcing finnish-speaking Finns from learning swedish. And this seems to be the main argument here to enforce this. So you should be able to tell us what it is that we need to protect here.

    So, what is the right that swedish-speakers would lose if finnish-speakers would not be forced to learn swedish.

    • Mark

      Farang

      So, what is the right that swedish-speakers would lose if finnish-speakers would not be forced to learn swedish.

      The status of the language should be equal. That is the basic right!

  19. Jssk

    Yeah, right. So now you are using the existence of ‘extremists’ within a minority to deny the normal rights of a minority. Wow, that’s never been done before.

    I would say its better to concentrate on the language when learning a language, not on the mostly political reasons why you are learning it. A person usually has his own reasons and motives to learn language, but not always when the studying is mandatory.

    There is total equality in asking every speaker in Finland to make an effort to learn the ‘second’ home language. Removing that obligation makes the ‘other’ home language and those who speak it into a ‘second-class’ category.

    By that logic we could also be learning saame.

    When two linguistic groups exist within a country, then this is the best way to move ahead. Finland has a thriving Swedish-speaking community, and that is in no small part down to the fact that Swedish still has a place in national culture, and this is almost certainly due to the language policy.

    Finnish speakers have no obligations to keep the swedish language alive in finland by having to learn swedish.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      By that logic we could also be learning saame.

      Perhaps in Lapland there is justification for doing just that.

      Finnish speakers have no obligations to keep the swedish language alive in finland by having to learn swedish

      See, now you reveal your feelings. As a Finnish speaker you feel you have no obligations to Swedish speakers in Finland, to give them equal status to you as a Finnish speaker. It’s that mentality that takes a country to war with itself and its different people!

  20. Jssk

    See, now you reveal your feelings. As a Finnish speaker you feel you have no obligations to Swedish speakers in Finland, to give them equal status to you as a Finnish speaker. It’s that mentality that takes a country to war with itself and its different people!

    Why do you think that finnish speakers are somehow obliged to keep the swedish language alive? Its the job of swedish speakers.

    By the way, saame is not mandatory in any part of Finland, but the people in Saami regions have the right to learn it.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Why do you think that finnish speakers are somehow obliged to keep the swedish language alive?

      Should I answer this question? Should I answer something that you should have learned in a basic civics class at school? The drive to do away with mandatory Swedish is only a part of the general intolerance being promoted by some sectors in Finland. Finland needs more diversity, not less. The reason we have so little diversity today is why we’re even debating this matter.

  21. Farang

    Farang

    The status of the language should be equal. That is the basic right!

    That’s a very thin argument. The status on language would still be same for both, it has nothing to do with forcing people to learn them. Both would still be national languages.

    So, can you tell us any actual thing that swedish-speakers would lose if learning would not be mandatory?

    • Mark

      Farang

      That’s a very thin argument [The status of the language should be equal. That is the basic right!].

      Well of course it is for someone who thinks the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is “bullshit”.

      it has nothing to do with forcing people to learn them

      You cannot force people to learn, as plenty of ignorant twats on here constantly demonstrate – most of those complaining about Swedish actually didn’t learn it, in spite of the lessons they had at school!

      So, can you tell us any actual thing that swedish-speakers would lose if learning would not be mandatory?

      For sure: STATUS. How many times do I have to say it!?

  22. Jssk

    Universal? What on earth are you talking about? History is generally national in character. Most people will use only the rudiments of arithmatic in their everyday life. And Geography is pretty likewise selective, depending on which countries you choose to study. Hardly ‘universal’. That’s just a bum-arsed way of trying to make a special case of Finnish not having value! It clearly does have value as one of Finland’s home languages. Just because you refuse to accept that value doesn’t mean that it suddenly ceases to exist.

    Those subjects are universal, even thought the content may vary. Its called basic education.

    And yes, swedish is a language native to finland, but so are many other languages.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      And yes, swedish is a language native to finland, but so are many other languages.

      The distribution of Saami is far less diverse in Finland, i.e. mostly Lapland. There I think it should be mandatory to have some lessons in Saami and for Saami to be recognised as an official language.

      The only other language in Finland that can be argued to have any kind of status is Russian. And like I have already said, I think Russian-speakers should be recognised in Finland as a minority language.

      Anything left out?

    • Mark

      Jssk

      Yes, there are other languages that need protection too. A bit of research and I learnt that Karelian, the Kaló language of the Roma people, Russian, Tatar and Yiddish are also spoken by populations in the thousands in Finland.

  23. Farang

    See, now you reveal your feelings. As a Finnish speaker you feel you have no obligations to Swedish speakers in Finland, to give them equal status to you as a Finnish speaker. It’s that mentality that takes a country to war with itself and its different people!

    Jskk is right. The only people responsible of keeping a certain culture alive are the persons of that culture. This applies to all cultures in the world.

    Let’s face it. Who is keeping Finnish culture alive, if not Finns?

  24. Farang

    Mark, I’m still challenging you to provide us an answer. What is the actualy thing that swedish-speakers would lose if finnish-speakers would not be forced to learn swedish in school?

    It seems that the only reasons are just ideological (or ritual) reasons. The swedish-speakers don’t actually benefit anything from the mandatory swedish-lessons for finnish-speaking Finns. It’s only a political issue and for that 95% of the population has to make the sacrifice, only for politics.

    • Mark

      Farang

      It seems that the only reasons are just ideological (or ritual) reasons.

      That’s because you put your fingers in your ears and go ‘blah, blah, blah’ when someone goes to the trouble of telling you reasons. You hear what you want to hear and then complain that you haven’t been told!

      The swedish-speakers don’t actually benefit anything from the mandatory swedish-lessons for finnish-speaking Finns. It’s only a political issue and for that 95% of the population has to make the sacrifice, only for politics.

      That is purely your opinion. Hot air, mate, hot air! You don’t acknowledge human rights, language rights, any fucking rights of minorities. And then you moan about making a fucking sacrifice! Tell me, did you actually go to the trouble of learning Swedish or are you another one of these complaining about being made to do something you clearly didn’t do?

  25. Farang

    Enrique

    Finland needs more diversity, not less. The reason we have so little diversity today is why we’re even debating this matter.

    Which one is more diversity:

    a) 5 million people speaking 3 same language each
    b) 5 million people speaking 20 different languages eavenly spread?

  26. Farang

    Mark

    For sure: STATUS. How many times do I have to say it!?

    And how does this status affect anyone’s life? Absolutely zero effect. So you are admitting that this is only a political/ideological requirement. You want to give a someone a certain “status” which is just an abstract term in expense of 95% of the population.

    How does that make any sense?

    • Mark

      Farang

      And how does this status affect anyone’s life? Absolutely zero effect.

      The fact that you cannot be bothered to weigh up the consequences of reducing Swedish to the status of a ‘foreign’ language in Finland is not my fault. As usual, you are just too fucking lazy to take seriously in any kind of debate!

      How does that make any sense?

      Equal status requires both languages to be taught in the schools. It’s just too obvious. Asking ‘why’ all the time just makes you look like a ten year old.

  27. Farang

    I still can’t undestand this…

    Mark thinks that STATUS is more important than the language skills of the whole country 😀

    • Mark

      Farang

      Mark thinks that STATUS is more important than the language skills of the whole country

      Straw man, Farang. It’s not an either/or situation. It would be quite ridiculous to have a national language that is NOT taught in schools. I know that has happened, but that is quite rightly why the law was changed.

  28. Farang

    Tell me, did you actually go to the trouble of learning Swedish or are you another one of these complaining about being made to do something you clearly didn’t do?

    Ofcourse I learned swedish, I was forced to. I was even forced to do the exam of swedish in the university.

    And after that I have only used swedish with taxi driver in Stockholm. I’d rather spent the time I wasted on learning this unuseful language to learn some language that is usable in wider parts of the world, like French.

    Do you understand what it does to ones language skill if he learns a language but then doesn’t use that for 20 years? It vanishes… And that is the main reason why majority of Finns can’t communicate in swedish even if they have learned it in school.

    • Mark

      Farang

      And after that I have only used swedish with taxi driver in Stockholm.

      That is completely your OWN problem. If you don’t have the imagination to know how to put your language skills to work, then you have NO RIGHT complaining to us and demanding that Swedish lose its status.

      It vanishes…

      Well, fucking use it then, you gimp!

  29. Farang

    Mark

    That is completely your OWN problem. If you don’t have the imagination to know how to put your language skills to work, then you have NO RIGHT complaining to us and demanding that Swedish lose its status.

    Well, fucking use it then, you gimp!

    So, you are saying that in order to justify the usefulness of swedish one must actively search for situations where it can be used? Like if person lives in a place where everyone communicates with finnish or english, that person must actively go to places where swedish is spoken, even if he has no other business there.

    It’s like desperately claiming that EVERYONE needs a hammer. And to justify this claim you say that everyone needs to go finding some nails to hammer in order to “prove” that hammer is useful.

  30. Farang

    Mark

    The fact that you cannot be bothered to weigh up the consequences of reducing Swedish to the status of a ‘foreign’ language in Finland is not my fault. As usual, you are just too fucking lazy to take seriously in any kind of debate!

    Equal status requires both languages to be taught in the schools. It’s just too obvious. Asking ‘why’ all the time just makes you look like a ten year old.

    That’s what I and Jssk have been trying to ask from YOU several times with no success. Tell us how it affects the swedish-speakers.

    You are using the basic slippery-slope argumenting. Nobody is driving here to take away the swedish as official national language. We are only driving to make it voluntary to learn swedish in school. Swedish have been official language of Finland long before it was mandatory to learn it in school and still there were no problems with the “status” of swedish language.

    You haven’t been able to provide any argument about how it would affect the swedish-speakers if swedish would not be mandatory in schools. You only repeat this “can’t you see it?” mantra. No, we can’t see it because it doesn’t exist. If you claim it does exist, please show it to us.

    And could you also comment why the language issues are working in all other countries in the world which don’t force it’s people to learn the minority languages?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Swedish have been official language of Finland long before it was mandatory to learn it in school and still there were no problems with the “status” of swedish language.

      Says you, who knows fuck all about it.

    • Mark

      Farang

      You haven’t been able to provide any argument about how it would affect the swedish-speakers

      A change in status would affect Swedish speakers. But hey, keep your fingers in your ears, blah, blah, blah!

    • Mark

      And could you also comment why the language issues are working in all other countries in the world which don’t force it’s people to learn the minority languages?

      Farang. Vous êtes un imbécile. Comment pouvez-vous dire que ce n’est pas un problème dans tous les autres pays?

  31. Farang

    A change in status would affect Swedish speakers. But hey, keep your fingers in your ears, blah, blah, blah!

    How many times I have to repeat the question:

    HOW?

    HOW does it affect?

    WHAT is the effect?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Well, let’s see if you can be bothered to wade through this to pick out the specific rights referred to. It is common knowledge that levels of competence in Swedish are diminishing in Finland and the right to be served by public authorities in one’s native language of Swedish or Finnish is not being properly served. You can ignore the effect, but basically you have already said that you don’t care if Swedish speaking dies in Finland. In other words, whenever a specific right is put forward, you will say – Finns don’t have to ‘keep Swedish alive’, so it doesn’t matter. The rights are not acknowledged. And each time, you demand to be told about the rights.

      I will not waste my time with an embecile. Read this and if you have an ‘informed’ comment to make, I might bother to reply.

      Language Act Text version
      Language Act came into force on 1 January 2004.

      The new Language Act replaced the old Act of 1922. Like the old Act, the new one only concerns the constitutionally determined national languages: Finnish and Swedish. The new Act does not entail any new language rights; its primary objective is to ensure the realization of these rights in practice.

      According to the Constitution, an individual has the right to use his or her own language, Finnish or Swedish, before authorities. The public authorities shall provide for the cultural and societal needs of the Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking populations of the country on an equal basis.

      The new Act prescribes that the authorities shall on their own initiative see to the realization of the language rights of individuals without them having to call attention to the rights by themselves.

      The Language Act is a general Act determining a minimum level. More detailed provisions on the language rights of a patient or a social welfare client are included in the Acts concerning health care and social welfare. The special legislation also contains more detailed provisions on the language of instruction, consumer protection and road traffic.

      Unilingual or bilingual authorities
      The right of the individual to use his or her own language
      Flexible service in both languages
      Information in both Finnish and Swedish
      The Language Act is also applicable to public service in the form of purchased services
      Authorities to ensure language rights
      Further information
      Unilingual or bilingual authorities

      The Language Act is based on a division of authorities into unilingual and bilingual authorities. The linguistic division is of importance both for the language rights of an individual and for the language obligations of the authorities. The obligations of a unilingual authority to provide service in both languages are more limited than those of a bilingual authority.

      The basis of the linguistic division will, as before, be unilingual and bilingual municipalities. The grounds for the division will remain the same. Every ten years the Council of State decides the division on the basis of the information in the Population Data System regarding the language of each inhabitant of the municipality.

      The current Council of State Decree will expire in 2012. According to the Decree there are 21 bilingual municipalities with Finnish as the majority language in Finland and 23 bilingual municipalities with Swedish as the majority language. Three municipalities are Swedish-speaking. The rest of the municipalities, 399 today, are Finnish-speaking.

      According to the new Language Act the State Authorities of Central Administration are always bilingual, whereas their units of regional and local administration are unilingual if their administrative districts comprise only municipalities with one language. The National Board of Taxation, for example, is bilingual but among its regional units the tax office of Savo-Karelia is unilingual and the tax office of South-Western Finland is bilingual.

      The right of the individual to use his or her own language

      The new Language Act contains exact provisions on the right to use Finnish and Swedish before authorities and courts of law. Everyone shall have the right to use Finnish or Swedish at their own option in their contacts with authorities.

      Unilingual state authorities, too, shall provide service in both languages, but they can use interpreters or translators if they do not possess the language skills needed to give service in the language of the client.

      A unilingual authority uses the language of the administrative district unless otherwise provided in the special legislation. A municipal authority may, however, on request use the other language. In connection with certain matters involving the fundamental rights of an individual, such as taking a child into custody, the party concerned is, according to the Language Act, always entitled to use his or her own language regardless of the language of the municipality. If necessary, interpreters can be used.

      Flexible service in both languages

      State authorities and municipal authorities are thus obliged by law always to serve in both Finnish and Swedish.

      This, however, does not mean that all employees must master both languages. In practice the authorities can act in the way they consider most appropriate with regard to their own duties. If, for instance, there are several service points, different service points can provide service in different languages. Another possibility is to organize work shifts and work distribution in such a way that employees who master both languages are always available.

      If necessary, a unilingual State regional unit can, for instance by phone, contact a Central Authority unit with sufficient language skills. Making forms available on the web with instructions on how to fill them out and other information is also a way to facilitate the service.

      The Language Act does not require that the language skills of the civil servants be broadened to comprise a greater number of duties than before. The language skills of the staff involved in customer service, for example those engaged in information and rescue tasks, must, however, be improved.

      Information in both Finnish and Swedish

      The new Language Act includes many provisions on information. A bilingual authority, be it a State authority or a municipal authority, must use both Finnish and Swedish in their information to the public. The information does not, however, necessarily have to be equally comprehensive in both languages. The main thing is that the most important information is available in both languages.

      For example information and directions regarding how to initiate a matter or how to apply for a benefit must be given in both languages. Contact information for the authorities and other basic information on the work of the authorities as well as different types of notifications and announcements must also be available in both languages.

      For instance material containing examination or investigation data do not necessarily have to be translated in full. The authorities must decide to what extent translating is necessary. The information needs of both language groups must be considered.

      Government proposals and committee reports are generally drawn up in Finnish, but from now on at least a summary of the report and the bill must be appended to them in Swedish. Summonses to council meetings and minutes of the meetings must be drafted in Finnish and Swedish.

      In the case of accidents or emergencies or other exceptional situations each Ministry is responsible for the distribution nationwide of information essential to the life, health and safety of the individual as well as to property and the environment regardless of the language of the municipality or region.

      The Language Act is also applicable to public service in the form of purchased services

      When State- or municipality-owned companies are responsible in matters pertaining to Authorities the provisions of the Language Act will be applied to them. When tasks of public administration are delegated to others than Authorities, it must be made sure that the service level required by the Language Act will be maintained. If, for instance, a municipality transfers public duties to a private enterprise, the municipality has to make sure that the enterprise undertakes to provide the language service required by law, if this cannot be arranged in some other way.

      Authorities to ensure language rights

      The Language Act includes detailed provisions on how to decide the language to be used in administrative matters, the application of administrative law, criminal cases, civil cases, petitions and before appeal authorities.

      Each Authority shall supervise the observance of the Language Act. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for monitoring the enforcement of the Act.

      In the future the Council of State will submit a report to Parliament every election period on the realization of language rights. In addition to Finnish and Swedish the report will discuss at least Sami, Romani and sign language.

      The Act on the required language proficiency of civil servants will be revised at the beginning of this year. The new Act concerns both government and municipal employees. According to the Act, the Authorities shall be responsible for maintaining the practical language skills of its employees, e.g. through training. When employing new staff, the Authorities shall pay regard to the actual language skills required in the work.

      Provisions on the use of the Sami language are included in a separate Act undergoing revision. The Act came into force at the same time as the Language Act, i.e. on 1 January 2004. The right to use other languages in court is regulated in the special legislation, such as the Code of Judicial Procedure, the legislation regarding the administrative process and the legislation regarding health care and social welfare.

  32. Farang

    Farang. Vous êtes un imbécile. Comment pouvez-vous dire que ce n’est pas un problème dans tous les autres pays?

    About French. Even in Canada it is not mandatory for all the population to learn French.

    • Mark

      Six out of seven Francophones live in Quebec, which has French as its ONLY official language, with 95% of people being proficient in French.

    • Farang

      And how does this compare in Finland, where everyone if forced to learn both official languages? Would you also be driving to change the system in Canada so that EVERYONE should be forced to learn both English and French?

  33. Farang

    Mark

    Language Act Text version
    Language Act came into force on 1 January 2004.

    Even that doesn’t mention mandatory swedish in schools 🙂

    You still haven’t figured it out that mandatory swedish in schools has nothing to do with providing services in both languages. Even if we would take the most extreme case as an example, when none of the finnish-speaking finns would not speak swedish, the public services in swedish language could still be arranged by hiring swedish-speaking finns in those positions.

    Therefore you attempt to draw lines between mandatory swedish in schools and public services provided in both languages are totally nullified.

    You can’t justify mandatory swedish with that act.

  34. Jssk

    jssk

    Yes, there are other languages that need protection too. A bit of research and I learnt that Karelian, the Kaló language of the Roma people, Russian, Tatar and Yiddish are also spoken by populations in the thousands in Finland.

    Do you understand that no one except the speakers of a certain language can keep it alive? I do not think finns as a majority are somehow naturally obliged to keep minority languages alive.

    • Mark

      Rubbish. Ensuring that it’s possible to make use of government services in one’s home language does require resources and cooperation from the majority population.

  35. Farang

    Mark, are you really trying to dodge the issue just by being quiet? We still want an answer.

    Your main argument in supporting mandatory swedish is status. And we want to know how does that status affect in any swedish-speaking finn’s life. You have so far only said that it does affect, but you haven’t opened it up.

    It’s very thin to support forcing 95% of the population to learn a universally quite unusable language based only to status, which is as it says, just a status. Nothing concrete, just politics and ideology. I really don’t understand why someone would support this enormous act just in order to make some people “feel good about it”, with no actual benefit to nobody.

    So, I repeat the question:

    How does making swedish voluntary in schools affect the life of swedish-speaking finn?

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Farang, why are you so passionate about the Swedish-language issue? Why is it so important to you? What do you plan to gain or lose?

    • Farang

      Basically I’m passionate about the reasons behind it and how people like Mark try to defend it without any real base.

      To me it’s totally irrelevant since I have already done it, but I would like to spare my kids from having to waste their time in learning something which they will have no use.

      Even the usefulness is already proven to be zero. Because everyone can communicate with swedish-speakers in english, swedish doesn’t even bring any benefit when communicating with swedish-speaking people.

      And what does it tell you that Mark is not able to provide us a single real reason to defend mandatory swedish? All he says is “status” but yet he hasn’t been able to tell us how this “status” would affect anything or anyone.

      To me this tells that mandatory swedish is only a political and ideological issue, which most propably has it ‘s roots in money and corruption.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      I would like to spare my kids from having to waste their time in learning something which they will have no use.

      So in future they will be well advised to avoid driving through Ekenäs, Jakobstad, Kimitoön, Pedersöre and similar districts of Swedish-speaking Finland. If stopped by the police for any reason when doing so, they will be unable to communicate in the language of the community, and will end up waiting in a police cell until an interpreter can be brought from Vaasa. Perhaps when they speak English the police officers will respond in some other language of equal “status”, such as German, Mandarin, Russian or Somali.

      sauce – goose – gander

    • Mark

      Farang

      Even the usefulness is already proven to be zero. Because everyone can communicate with swedish-speakers in english, swedish doesn’t even bring any benefit when communicating with swedish-speaking people.

      If you choose to do nothing with your Swedish skills, then that is down to your extensive level of ignorance!

      You are a narrow-minded bigot who regularly comes on here to defend racists, fascists, homophones and political extremists. We don’t ask you to come, you choose to come because you have some ridiculous sense of self-importance. Maybe you are even paid by PS to do it; how would I know. Stranger things have happened in the world of Far Right politics.

      What status does Swedish have if it is spoken or understood by only 10% of the population? The chances of fulfilling the constitutional pledge to allow both of Finland’s key linguistic communities to have equal status and rights, including dealing with public services would be seriously undermined. The fact you deny this simply underlines that you refuse to even consider that ANY effort should be made to serve Swedish-speakers outside the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland.

      You do this because you are a passionate PS supporter, not because you ‘care about what your kids study’. One day, your kids will probably tell you what a nasty little fascist you are, and what will you say then, I wonder?

    • Farang

      Ok, that makes sense. The whole population should learn swedish just in case they get stopped by police in Ekenäs 🙂 Good, JusticeDemon, good.

      Would you like to help Mark and answer to the quetion he has been avoiding for days?

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      The whole population should learn swedish just in case they get stopped by police in Ekenäs

      Not at all, but then by the same reasoning Swedish-speaking Finns should not have to learn Finnish merely because some Finnish-speaking epähikke may drive through their settlement.

      Consistency not your strong suit? No change there, then.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Mark, are you really trying to dodge the issue just by being quiet? We still want an answer.

      I’m ill with a high fever. Go fuck yourself! You are not my priority!

    • Mark

      Farang

      Your main argument in supporting mandatory swedish is status. And we want to know how does that status affect in any swedish-speaking finn’s life. You have so far only said that it does affect, but you haven’t opened it up.

      Actually, I told you that I am not doing your homework for you. The fact that you know ABSOLUTELY nothing about this subject and how it actually affects people only underlines how supremely unqualified you are to comment on its effects on Swedish speakers. Check out this report to see the various issues that are involved. Tell me when you’ve actually fucking read it (I have) and then perhaps we can discuss.

      But if you are true to form, you will not bother.

      Mark

    • Farang

      BTW, JusticeDemon

      Your attitude is interesting. You are arguing that everyone should be able to speak swedish, but you see it perfectly normal that a police officer in Finland can’t speak finnish.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      You are arguing that everyone should be able to speak swedish

      I’m not sure that I am, but never mind.

      but you see it perfectly normal that a police officer in Finland can’t speak finnish.

      I think it’s perfectly normal for all school students to learn whatever is the second national language from their point of view, and for adult immigrants to learn the national language that best corresponds to their practical needs.

      There is a simple solution to the problem that you describe, Farang. Make all of the Swedish-speaking districts of Finland part of Sweden. This is easily accomplished with modern communications and political arrangements, as has been demonstrated in Tornio-Haparanda. The Swedish-speaking communities can then pay their taxes to Sweden. Other spinoff benefits would include enabling doctors to prescribe therapeutic buprenorphine without fear of imprisonment. It would also ensure that the police officers concerned were no longer “in Finland”. Your children would then only have to recognise the road sign reminding them not to enter Sweden without an interpreter.

    • Farang

      Mark

      Actually, I told you that I am not doing your homework for you.

      Actually, it’s your homework.

      If you make a claim, it’s your duty to show the proof. You can’t expect the opponent to provide the proof.

      If I tell you that there is a space ship floating behind moon, would it me my responsible to prove this, or your responsibility to prove that there is no space ship? Think about it. It’s the same case here. You claim that something exist and now you expect others to prove that it doesn’t or otherwise should admit that you are correct?

      Let’s wait that you are well again and continue then. Take care.

    • Mark

      Farang

      If you make a claim, it’s your duty to show the proof. You can’t expect the opponent to provide the proof.

      Claim, counter-claim. If I say it affects their status and you say it doesn’t, then it must go somewhere from there. I think it’s a no-brainer that it affects their status, but you demand ‘proof’. Well, I’m not sure what ridiculous notion you have of ‘proof’, whether you think this is somehow a court of law or what, but in scientific terms, there is no ‘proof’, only evidence. You don’t seem to understand even that basic criteria of reliable knowledge.

      And the evidence suggests that services in Swedish are suffering and that this also parallels a decline in the competency of speaking Swedish among Finland’s Finnish-speakers. This is not an issue of blame, but actually of teaching methods and motivation.

      The other report looks at how the Language Act has been implemented and it’s clear that it implementation [of Swedish] has suffered and that attempts are being made to improve the situation. The report discusses several sectors of society in which services would be provided, including judicial and health sectors.

      What I don’t understand about you is that if the real issue is that learning Swedish is ‘too hard’, then why don’t you call for improved teaching methods? That is what the report sensibly does. No, you prefer to attempt to undermine the status and rights of Swedish-language speakers and take no responsibility for what that would mean. JD was absolutely right to point out the potential schism in Finland if the kind of policy you advocate was allowed to create ‘segregation’. A segregated population is a population that will be all the more vulnerable to extremism. You haven’t seen that nationalist extremism up close and personal, but I have! And I’ll tell you for nothing, it’s very very hard to turn the clock back once it takes hold!

  36. Farang

    Mark

    You are a narrow-minded bigot who regularly comes on here to defend racists, fascists, homophones and political extremists.

    Go fuck yourself!

    Is it really necessary to use language like that?

    I have never defended racists here. I have discussed about racists and I have given my opinion about why I think racists act like they do. That is not defending or justifying their actions.

    I someone robs a bank and then I try to figure out WHY he did it, it doesn’t mean that I am giving my approval to the robbery or defending the robber.

    It’s pretty hard to have sensible debate if you immediately make such a quick assumptions about the person you are discussing with.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      If someone robs a bank and then I try to figure out WHY he did it, it doesn’t mean that I am giving my approval to the robbery or defending the robber.

      I thought your position on such matters was merely that they are irredeemably bad people, and that no further explanation is useful or necessary.

      Or have you changed your mind?

      Most likely you have simply forgotten what you previously argued.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Is it really necessary to use language like that?

      Not necessary at all. Purely a matter of choice and a high degree of provocation and misrepresentation!

      I have never defended racists here.

      You are here pretty much every week attempting to undermine any kind of ‘anti-racism’. You argue against us ‘on principle’ and you make no attempt to find the middle ground or to validate the complaints of immigrants in Finland or of other Finns about the levels of racism experienced here.

      It’s pretty hard to have sensible debate if you immediately make such a quick assumptions about the person you are discussing with.

      I agree. And I have taken my time to come to my conclusions about you. I have debated with you for several years now, so I think I’m entitled to the opinion I hold. I find you extremely annoying and provocative, in the sense that you constantly question the honesty, intelligence and integrity of people writing here without making ANY effort to actually understand the arguments they put forward. You really are just an ignorant gimp. But you do serve a purpose here, because you highlight the problem of racism, fascism, extremism and bigotry wonderfully. It is a useful exercise to see exactly how the arguments in favour of fascism are actually made, how ordinary people can become obsessed with them and how they close down all room for negotiating political and social understanding. This is a tendency of politics in general, but when coupled with bigotry and extremist ideologies, they become very dangerous.

      You have made it clear many times on here that you are an extremist, from your condemnation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as “bullshit” to your justifications for torturing prisoners, and on and on. If Finland were to take on your personality and ideology, it would become a very very different place to what it is today, and certainly not a better place.

  37. Farang

    JusticeDemon

    Not at all, but then by the same reasoning Swedish-speaking Finns should not have to learn Finnish merely because some Finnish-speaking epähikke may drive through their settlement.
    Consistency not your strong suit? No change there, then.

    And your assumption of my consistency bases on what?

    All the time I have similarly been promoting voluntary swedish for finnish-speakers and voluntary finnish for swedish-speakers. No inconcistency there.

    • JusticeDemon

      I’m sorry Farang. For a moment there I thought you were suggesting that a minimum standard in both national languages should no longer be a requirement for public service positions, or that the requirement should continue, but that the need for knowledge of Swedish could be met by ensuring that all public servants come from the fluently bilingual Swedish-speaking minority.

      That would make the most common name of a police officer, prosecutor or judge in Finland something like Yngve Karlsson.

  38. Farang

    Claim, counter-claim. If I say it affects their status and you say it doesn’t, then it must go somewhere from there.

    Ha! Here’s your twist again, caught you!

    I didn’t say it doesn’t affect the status. I am asking what is the effect of the change of status? How does the status change affect to any swedish-speaking finn.

    And that is the question you haven’t been able to answer.

    • Mark

      Farang

      what is the effect of the change of status

      There are several possible effects. Swedish speakers will not be able to obtain public services in their native language. This reduces Swedish to the status of a foreign language in Finland. That breaks the constititutional commitment for Swedish speakers to be treated equally and to have the SAME language rights.

      Long-term effects:
      = restricted movement within Finland.
      = completely segregated communities
      = Swedish-speakers denied adequate political representation
      = Swedish-speakers denied media representation outside of Swedish-speaking areas.

      This is not the ‘slippery slope’ argument, this is just long-term effects of language policy. Remember, the number of Swedish speakers has declined from 20% around the time of Independence, to 6% today. The arrest of that slide is believed to have been achieved through the educational policy.

  39. Farang

    Mark

    What I don’t understand about you is that if the real issue is that learning Swedish is ‘too hard’, then why don’t you call for improved teaching methods?

    What is this nonsense?

    I have constantly told you I oppose mandatory swedish because it is a unneeded language, not because it is ‘too hard’. Even I learnt swedish so it can’t be that hard, can it? 🙂

    • Mark

      Farang

      because it is a unneeded language

      You are saying that it’s easy to learn, and yet it’s useless after school. But that again comes down simply to YOUR CHOICE not to use your language skills.

      And the national policy towards languages is not to be decided on your failure to make use of your Swedish skills. It is founded on maintaining equality between Swedish-speaking Finns and Finnish-speaking Finns.

  40. Farang

    Mark

    There are several possible effects. Swedish speakers will not be able to obtain public services in their native language.

    I already shot this argument down earlier. Those public service can be arranged by hiring people who speak swedish in those positions. Surely you are not saying that only finnish-speaking finns who have been taught swedish should be there serving swedish-speaking finns, are you?

    Long-term effects:
    = restricted movement within Finland.

    I can’t understand this comment? Even now we are forced to learn swedish in school, but we can’t be forced to speak it. Same applies to public servants. Even if they have been taught swedish in school it doesn’t guarantee that they will speak it.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      I already shot this argument down earlier. Those public service can be arranged by hiring people who speak swedish in those positions.

      Hmmm… “shot down”. Right. More gun violence fantasies from the PS.

      The person hired is precisely the Swedish-speaking police officer who takes your epähiket kids to the police station in Ekenäs because they have no common language. Or perhaps you are suggesting that the solution is to hire police officers to work in pairs, each serving a monolingual community (and presumably unable to communicate reliably even with one another). That sounds a lot more expensive than a 5 per cent kielilisä. How much extra tax are you ready to pay in order to appoint two people instead of one to every public service position in Finland?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Those public service can be arranged by hiring people who speak swedish in those positions.

      I guess you didn’t read the report, did you! As I said you wouldn’t. The FACT is that there are not enough ‘Swedish-speakers’ to take those jobs. What tends to happen is that a person who speaks Swedish competently and is employed to do one job has to do another job simply because they speak Swedish. The same thing happens where I work, where I occassionaly have to act as ‘customer services’ for outside inquiries to my organisation, even though I’m employed in a quite different capacity.

      Surely you are not saying that only finnish-speaking finns who have been taught swedish should be there serving swedish-speaking finns, are you?

      Surely you are not trying to make me look bad by putting ridiculous arguments into my mouth?

      I can’t understand this comment?

      I guess you are simply not thinking this through. JD has pretty much elaborated on this point – the end result of a ‘do as you please’ policy for the Swedish language in Finland is segregation. That means that genuine ‘Swedish-speakers’ will have little opportunity to ‘wander’ outside their enclaves within Finland. Of course, that’s assuming that they hold to their native language. You assume and even support that they would simply abandon Swedish and adopt Finnish.

      In other words, you assume a hegemonic relationship of Finnish to Swedish, that Finnish has a ‘higher’ place naturally in Finland based on its majority and that no compensation should be made to Swedish speakers (the minority) by Finnish speakers. Correct me if I’m wrong. And this displays the very essence of your political thinking – that the majority owes nothing to the minority even when the majority enjoys privileges and entitlements that disadvantage the minority.

  41. Farang

    Mark

    You are saying that it’s easy to learn, and yet it’s useless after school. But that again comes down simply to YOUR CHOICE not to use your language skills.

    That is naive comment. I have no contact with people who speaks swedish, therefore there are no natural situations that I could use swedish in. In my workplace there are no swedish-speakers, we use english with foreigners. Why should I even be using swedish just for the sake of it if there is no need to use it? I would understand the usage of swedish in cities like Vaasa or Helsinki, but not in Kemi, Rovaniemi or Utsjoki.

    I already gave you that hammer-example to show you how naive that is.

    • Mark

      Farang

      That is naive comment. I have no contact with people who speaks swedish, therefore there are no natural situations that I could use swedish in.

      Rubbish. A great many Finns have no contact or ‘natural situations’ with English people and yet still manage to master enough English to be conversational. Who is being naive? You had this skill given to you by Finland’s educational establishment and you allowed it to stagnate, and then you blame the government because you did nothing with it. You should take some responsibility rather than blaming the government for your own failures.

  42. Farang

    The person hired is precisely the Swedish-speaking police officer who takes your epähiket kids to the police station in Ekenäs because they have no common language.

    In that case police officer commits a crime. Nobody can be taken to police station because they don’t know the language.

    Anyway this situation is present at the moment. Even if those kids would have been taught forced swedish in school, it would still not guarantee that they can communicate with swedish.

    Or perhaps you are suggesting that the solution is to hire police officers to work in pairs, each serving a monolingual community (and presumably unable to communicate reliably even with one another). That sounds a lot more expensive than a 5 per cent kielilisä. How much extra tax are you ready to pay in order to appoint two people instead of one to every public service position in Finland?

    That is exactly the slippery slope argument. You immediately make the assumption that if mandatory swedish/finnish would be removed, then NOBODY would choose to learn them anymore. Naive, so naive.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      In that case police officer commits a crime. Nobody can be taken to police station because they don’t know the language.

      Please try to pay attention. In such a case your epähiket kids were unresponsive to the police officer’s appropriate questions in Swedish. I refer you to subsection 2 of section 10 of the Police Act (no. 493 of 1995).

      That is exactly the slippery slope argument.

      Not at all. Please explain how to ensure that public services are available, for example in the judiciary, policing and A&E, without requiring public servants to have a minimum standard of competence in both national languages. Either you require the pertinent standard of bilingualism or you need two officials for each position.

      If your misanthropy leads to prosecution for ethnic agitation, then you will expect to address the court in person and in your choice of national language, and not need to rely on an interpreter as you explain to the bored Swedish-speaking tribunal that the offence is impossible to commit because you only used words. When that same hatred finally leads you to the inevitable heart attack you will expect the 112 operator to understand the language of the caller. You will expect the paramedics and attending physician to understand when you describe your symptoms, and not assume that you are just another incoherent wino in need of the stomach pump.

    • Mark

      Farang

      That is exactly the slippery slope argument. You immediately make the assumption that if mandatory swedish/finnish would be removed, then NOBODY would choose to learn them anymore. Naive, so naive.

      That’s not a very big rock to hide behind Farang. It’s not that NOBODY would choose to learn Swedish, but that very quickly it could turn out that not enough people choose to, especially in some borderline areas. You expect to get services in Finnish, even from Swedish speaking members of the public services, so I’m assuming that you think it’s perfectly okay that Swedish speakers have to learn Finnish, but you don’t think the opposite is true. Why not?

      A voluntary scheme pre-1970s saw a decline in Swedish speakers in Finland. This wasn’t just Swedish-speaking Finns going to Sweden to find work, this was Swedish speakers marrying Finnish speakers and choosing not to speak Swedish as the native language because it would be ‘better’ for their children to have Finnish as their main language. That’s a choice that Swedish speakers should not have to make but which you have openly advocated.

      That is exactly the slippery slope argument

      I think you have mistaken ‘long-term effects’ for slippery slope. Your argument is that if you take the ‘pillar’ of nationwide Swedish-speaking in Finland away, that the Swedish-speaking house will still stand. But what you have done is put a stress on the entire system that will play out over generations and will almost certainly result in the demise of Swedish-speaking in large parts of Finland. That is segregation. That is almost certainly not ‘one nation – two languages’, which has been the official policy of the Finnish government since forever.

  43. Farang

    Please try to pay attention. In such a case your epähiket kids were unresponsive to the police officer’s appropriate questions in Swedish. I refer you to subsection 2 of section 10 of the Police Act (no. 493 of 1995).

    It doesn’t matter. If the kids haven’t broken any laws or done anything to make them suspects of crime, police can’t take them to anywhere only because they can’t respond to police’s questions.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      It doesn’t matter. If the kids haven’t broken any laws or done anything to make them suspects of crime, police can’t take them to anywhere only because they can’t respond to police’s questions.

      Look up the reference. You will see that I am completely correct about this point of law. Your kids will be detained if they fail to respond.

      Well, going by experience that’s probably overoptimistic in your case. Perhaps we should instead settle for any fool can see this obvious point immediately, and even Farang can be brought to accept it after a lot of preliminary bullshitting about the meaning of words.

  44. Farang

    Please explain how to ensure that public services are available, for example in the judiciary, policing and A&E, without requiring public servants to have a minimum standard of competence in both national languages. Either you require the pertinent standard of bilingualism or you need two officials for each position.

    Exactly, you can make it a requirement for the person in that position to be bilingual. It’s no different than it is today. So what is your argument?

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      you can make it a requirement for the person in that position to be bilingual

      And how long before you Hompanzees start complaining that a Swedish-speaking mafia controls the Finnish judiciary and civil service?

  45. Farang

    JusticeDemon, are you intentionally trying to take this discussion to another direction in order to keep in dark the issue Mark brought up?

    You are now concentrating on finding negative issues for per finnish-speakers who wouldn’t learn swedish if it wasn’t mandatory. That is not the issue here. If the person later on regrets that he doesn’t understand swedish, it’s his own problem because he made the choice himself.

    But what Mark said was the finnish-speakers MUST learn mandatory swedish because otherwise it would cause negative issues for swedish-speakers.

    I would like to discuss that more. I have now time to read the report, and will get back after I’ve read it. Meanwhile I’d like to get your input too.

    • Mark

      Actually, that’s not true, Farang. You asked me how it would affect society for a change in the ‘status’ of Swedish and JD has done the work that you should have done to realise what the implications of a ‘segregated’ society would be. I’ve been ill this last few days and I really haven’t had the energy to do your homework for you, but you have banged on and on about the fact that I haven’t answered your question in a concrete way that JD has taken up your offer.

      I understand why you don’t like having your arse handed to you on a plate, but arguing that it’s changing the subject just doesn’t wash. You asked for exactly this kind of concrete examples. NOW you want to keep it theoretical? lololol Funny as fuck, as usual!

  46. Farang

    Mark

    That’s not a very big rock to hide behind Farang. It’s not that NOBODY would choose to learn Swedish, but that very quickly it could turn out that not enough people choose to, especially in some borderline areas. You expect to get services in Finnish, even from Swedish speaking members of the public services, so I’m assuming that you think it’s perfectly okay that Swedish speakers have to learn Finnish, but you don’t think the opposite is true. Why not?

    I already said this earlier. If mandatory swedish would be removed, then also mandatory finnish (for swedish-speakers) should be removed. Otherwise it wouldn’t be equal treatment.

    And about situation becoming to that there would not be enough swedish speakers: That is the natural way of a language to die.

    I understand why you don’t like having your arse handed to you on a plate, but arguing that it’s changing the subject just doesn’t wash. You asked for exactly this kind of concrete examples. NOW you want to keep it theoretical? lololol Funny as fuck, as usual!

    Nope. I asked for concrete examples of what negative would happen to swedish-speaking finns if mandatory swedish would be removed.

    That is almost certainly not ‘one nation – two languages’, which has been the official policy of the Finnish government since forever.

    That is the ultimate wish of mine that I’d like some day to be true. One nation – one language.

    • Mark

      Farang

      I already said this earlier. If mandatory swedish would be removed, then also mandatory finnish (for swedish-speakers) should be removed. Otherwise it wouldn’t be equal treatment.

      We have tried to take you at your word, Farang, and indeed, this is exactly the premise that I am working on in responding to your points. We have had this argument before, after all. But it is exactly this kind of ‘everyone for themselves’ policy towards language rights that would result in a complete undermining of equality and a ‘natural rule’ of the majority language.

      That is the natural way of a language to die.

      And if we failed to teach chemistry or biology, then naturally these subjects would die too. That’s not the point. The point is whether we make a decision to keep them, whether we make a decision that Swedish-speakers should have ‘equal’ language rights in Finland to Finnish speakers. What you advocate is not equal, because you would expect Swedish speakers to speak Finnish. Or would you be happy for the Swedish speaking parts of Finland to abandon Finnish?

      Nope. I asked for concrete examples of what negative would happen to swedish-speaking finns if mandatory swedish would be removed.

      I see, and JD pointing out negative things relating to Finnish-speakers doesn’t float your boat? Actually, you didn’t at any point stipulate that the information you wanted related ONLY to Swedish speakers. You wanted to know what the implications would be of Swedish losing its ‘status’.

      That is the ultimate wish of mine that I’d like some day to be true. One nation – one language.

      Except that to achieve that you would have to abuse the language rights of hundreds of thousands of Finnish citizens, for which you apparently have no conscience. You would put your foot on the throat of the Swedish language and then play ‘dumb’ when it gasped for air and gave up the ghost. There are the sins of commission and the sins of omission, Farang!

      Failing to defend people’s rights is as much of a crime as actually working to violate those rights.

  47. Farang

    Mark

    And if we failed to teach chemistry or biology, then naturally these subjects would die too. That’s not the point. The point is whether we make a decision to keep them, whether we make a decision that Swedish-speakers should have ‘equal’ language rights in Finland to Finnish speakers. What you advocate is not equal, because you would expect Swedish speakers to speak Finnish. Or would you be happy for the Swedish speaking parts of Finland to abandon Finnish?

    I wasn’t talking about swedish dying as a subject taught in school. I was talking about swedish die as a language spoken in Finland.

    I wouldn’t expect swedish-speakers to speak Finnish. Even if ALL finnish-speaking finns stopped speaking swedish and ALL swedish-speaking finns stopped speaking finnish, we could still communicate with english, as we have done so far with no problem.

    I see, and JD pointing out negative things relating to Finnish-speakers doesn’t float your boat? Actually, you didn’t at any point stipulate that the information you wanted related ONLY to Swedish speakers. You wanted to know what the implications would be of Swedish losing its ‘status’.

    Negative effects to finnish-speakers doesn’t matter, because it is up to them to make the decision themselves. If someone makes a personal decision to not learn swedish, then it’s his own responsibility.

    I was all the time talking about the negative effects to swedish-speaking finns if status of swedish would be lowered. And that’s what I want examples for from you, meaning how would it ACTUALLY cause something negative to these swedish-speaking PEOPLE. Status itself is an abstract and therefore doesn’t affect any person. You need to give me something concrete, how it would affect on someone’s life.

    And just to show you that I was talking about swedish-speaking finns, here’s the quote from 2 days ago:

    Farang – permanent resident on March 11, 2013 at 12:39 am
    Mark, I’m still challenging you to provide us an answer. What is the actualy thing that swedish-speakers would lose if finnish-speakers would not be forced to learn swedish in school?

    • Mark

      The loss of cultural and personal identity that comes with the loss of a minority language clearly doesn’t mean much to you. Your idea is to put Finnish as the only legitimate language of Finland. That is abuse of minorities. The consequences are felt every minute of every day for those caught up in it, who are made to feel that their native tongue turns them into a despised and unwelcome minority. I doubt that you have the compassion to understand this, Farang.

      Clearly you are ignoring everything that has been said to you on this topic and are still crying for yet another response. In the same way that you allowed your Swedish skills to lapse, you expect other people to make up for your intellectual and moral laziness in understanding the very real consequences of a loss in status of a language. Enough of this. Debate with yourself, because that is what you are effectively doing anyway!

  48. Farang

    Mark

    Your idea is to put Finnish as the only legitimate language of Finland. That is abuse of minorities.

    No, I never said that. I told you that I wan’t to get rid of mandatory swedish/finnish in schools, but both languages would still be official national languages in Finland.

    My wish is that someday swedish language would die away and then naturally Finland would become unilingual. But that is only a wish, I’m not promoting towards it.

    Clearly you are ignoring everything that has been said to you on this topic and are still crying for yet another response. In the same way that you allowed your Swedish skills to lapse, you expect other people to make up for your intellectual and moral laziness in understanding the very real consequences of a loss in status of a language. Enough of this. Debate with yourself, because that is what you are effectively doing anyway!

    Truth is that you can’t give any examples, because there are none. There are no negative effects against swedish-speaking finns if mandatory swedish/finnish is removed. Your only reason to defend mandatory swedish is so that swedish-speaking people would have power over finnish-speaking people in form of forcing them to spend their time in learning their home language.

    • Mark

      Truth is that you can’t give any examples, because there are none. There are no negative effects against swedish-speaking finns if mandatory swedish/finnish is removed.

      Well, we cannot give examples of something that hasn’t happened yet, can we. What we can say is that a great many Finns who would have some knowledge of Swedish may end with no knowledge of Swedish. We can also say that given that it is already difficult in many bilingual municipalities to provide direct services in Swedish, then we can say that will an even smaller pool of Swedish speakers to draw public servants from, then that situation will get worse. That would be a failure of the constitutional pledge to give equal status to both Finnish and Swedish.

      The failures we would expect to see is in public services like health care, including and especially elderly care, as there is still an elderly generation of Swedish-speakers who are to a large extent monolingual. These are the most vulnerable, but this isn’t just about protecting the vulnerable, but about protecting language rights set out in Finland’s Constitution. The next public sector affected would likely be education, followed by social services, courts of law, and other government information services.

      You do realise that over half of Swedish-speakers live outside of predominently Swedish-speaking areas nowadays, and that in bilingual municipalities, that is those with at least 8% or 3000 inhabitants, then the authority is officially bilingual and should provide bilingual services. However, expecting the entire 8% of the Swedish-speaking population to fulfill all public-service needs in the Swedish language is clearly unrealistic, and so for those municipalities in particular, there is a clear reliance on Finnish-speakers who have learnt Swedish to also provide bilingual services. This is already difficult, as I’ve said.

      Now can we assume that you take the constitutional pledge to give Swedish equal status seriously? If so, do you really think that services would not suffer? And what study or research can you point to that would support that view?

  49. Farang

    Mark

    Well, we cannot give examples of something that hasn’t happened yet, can we

    Yes it has happened, think about it. Swedish hasn’t always been mandatory in schools in Finland. Therefore we have a reference. You can just tell us examples, what issues were negative for swedish-speaking persons BEFORE mandatory swedish and how did those issues improve AFTER mandatory swedish came to schools.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Yes it has happened, think about it. Swedish hasn’t always been mandatory in schools in Finland.

      It is a false comparison to use the past as an example for many reasons. But let’s be clear. In the past, Swedish-speakers were more concentrated in Swedish-speaking areas. Nowadays, largely through intermarriage of the language groups, over 50% live outside Swedish areas. Second, the percentage of Swedish-speaking Finns was close to 10% at that time, and declined quickly both in the decade before the law came into effect and the decade after. This was mostly young people moving to Sweden in search of work, work that was not available in Finland. Think about that. Young people. That means those who would be in the labour force providing the services we are talking about. Clearly the law was needed at that time. Currently, the percentage of Swedish-speakers has stabilised, and is actually going up in younger age groups.

      Now, let’s see, how much research evidence did you present in regard to these points? You can check my figures, you can check the trends I’m describing. What have you offered by way of actual concrete evidence to support your claims?

      N Swedish-speaking Finns…is equal or smaller than N… is always equal or greater than N…

      In other words, you presented a load of gobbledygook disguised as scientific or logical language. It was neither. In plain English, you said: the number of people speaking Swedish would always outnumber the number of people needing services in Swedish. This could be false for several reasons. 1) some Swedish speakers are retired. 2) some Swedish-speakers are not working in the public sector. 3) some Swedish speakers are kids or in education 4) some Swedish speakers are doing army service. 5) some Swedish speakers are unemployed. 24% of the workforce work in the public sector. Let’s take an example of a municipality with 8% Swedish speakers; the national employment ratio is 55%, meaning that only 4.4% of that municipal population would be employed Swedish speaking Finns. Next, the percentage of workers who serve in the public sector in Finland is 23.6%, meaning that only 1% of that population who are also Swedish speaking in that municipality would actually work in the public sector. These are real figures, Farang, not your invisible N figure which you pulled out your arse.

      So, 1% of the population has to serve the other 8% public sector needs. And who is to say that those people actual work in public sector jobs that actually deal directly with the public? If you assume that 70% of Finns who want to cancel Swedish studies includes most Finns. 8% are obviously Swedish speakers in that municiplaity, and 4% are foreigners, that’s 18% who would possibly study Swedish voluntarily. As only 55% of these would actually be working that’s only 9.9% of Finnish speakers who can also speak Swedish. Only 23.6% will work in the public sector. That’s 2.3% of those Finnish speakers who would work in the public sector in that municipality. Add that to your 1% and you have a MAXIMUM of 3.3% of Swedish speakers serving a population of at least 8% in that municipality. How many of those workers would be ‘front-line’ workers who actually provide services directly to the public will actually be much smaller, though I cannot put a figure on it. Needless to say, it is very clear that using realistic and real figures, there is a problem.

      And that isn’t news. We already know there is a problem, even with mandatory Swedish.

      Now how can you now claim that there wouldn’t be enough people to provide services for swedish-speaking finns?

      It’s not just my claim. But at least I provide ACTUAL figures to this puzzle. You have done no such thing. No evidence to consider. None.

  50. Farang

    Mark,

    We can also say that given that it is already difficult in many bilingual municipalities to provide direct services in Swedish, then we can say that will an even smaller pool of Swedish speakers to draw public servants from, then that situation will get worse. That would be a failure of the constitutional pledge to give equal status to both Finnish and Swedish.

    That is total nonsense.

    Let’s say there are N swedish-speaking finns in Finland. This means that the population which needs services in swedish language is equal or smaller than N.

    Now, the pool of the persons able to provide services in swedish is always equal or greater than N.

    Now how can you now claim that there wouldn’t be enough people to provide services for swedish-speaking finns?

  51. Farang

    Mark

    Now can we assume that you take the constitutional pledge to give Swedish equal status seriously?

    No we can’t. In my opinion no finnish-speaker should be forced to serve any swedish-speaker in swedish. Likewise no swedish-speaker should be forced to serve any finnish-speaker in finnish.

    Common sense should be used. If person can’t manage with his own language skills in certain area, he should move to somewhere else. If someone speaks only swedish, he can only blame himself if he moves to a city like Kajaani, where nobody speaks swedish.

    • Mark

      Farang

      No we can’t. In my opinion no finnish-speaker should be forced to serve any swedish-speaker in Swedish. Likewise no Swedish-speaker should be forced to serve any Finnish-speaker in Finnish.

      A similar argument went to the European court in regard to religious beliefs. The two instances where public services were being provided and the contravened the values of the individuals working in those services, and the Court decided the individual had no right to refuse to provide that services that they said condoned homosexuality (births deaths marriages registrar, and marriage counsellor.

      In other words, when the courts decide whether ‘individual rights of conscience’ should be allowed to interfer with obligation of the State to fulfill the legal rights of others, the State will win. Now, tell me the European Court of Human Rights is “bullshit”, just like you called the Universal Decleration of Human Rights bullshit!

      Common sense should be used. If person can’t manage with his own language skills in certain area, he should move to somewhere else.

      Thankfully the world is not governed by ‘Farang’s common sense‘, it’s governed on the basis of rights and obligations and legal protections of citizenship, something you clearly only appreciate when they include your rights, but not the rights of minorities.

  52. Farang

    The English of that report is so painful to read that I prefer to browse the Finnish version.

    Finally managed to read this. I have to say this was mainly politically correct crap.

    They even considered a problem a situation where public servant initially used Finnish language with the customer. Like the servant should be a mind reader and figure out if the person is swedish-speaking or finnish-speaking. And it that is what they call a problem it takes away all respect of the whole document.

    The only actual problem was the same which Mark mentioned: Worry about not enough swedish-speakers being there to work in public service. That is not a real problem because it is not finnish-speakers respobsibility to take care of serving swedish-speakers. If swedish-speakers can’t take care of the services themselves, then it’s only natural that they should solve the problem by learning finnish. Same way as a finnish-speaking person should learn swedish if he likes to be able to live in swedish-speaking are where there are no finnish-speakers to take care of services.

    This is the only proper future and how thing should go.

    • Mark

      Farang

      They even considered a problem a situation where public servant initially used Finnish language with the customer.

      There were many problems, but typical of you to try to pick the one you thought most trivial so as to trivialise the whole report. The fact is, it is a problem. A person should be asked what language they wish to use. The idea that Finnish is the default is itself an undermining of the ‘equal languages’ policy. In public services, people should be asked. That is polite, respectful and sensible.

      The only actual problem was the same which Mark mentioned: Worry about not enough swedish-speakers being there to work in public service.

      In other words, Mark did his homework! Surprise, surprise!

      That is not a real problem because it is not finnish-speakers respobsibility to take care of serving swedish-speakers.

      It is if they work in the public sector in a country with two official languages that have equal status or in a municipality that is officially bilingual. Saying it isn’t a problem is just burrying your head in the sand and refusing to see the answer to your own question about what the problems are if Swedish was not mandatory. You offer no evidence for your position or opinions. None.

      This is the only proper future and how thing should go.

      JD has already pointed out that this would be both ridiculously more expensive than the current system and in effect lead to a nation completely divided against itself. And all that for the sake of 4 hours of education a week between the ages of 7 and 16!

  53. Farang

    Mark, I appreciate your effort. Very good points, you win, I admit that.

    Maybe we can now end this debate, I don’t have any more arguments against yours.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Mark, I appreciate your effort. Very good points, you win, I admit that.

      That’s gracious of you. Appreciated.

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