Nordic Council Literature winner Jonas Eika: In Denmark, “racism is both cultural and legal. We have state racism.”

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The 2019 recipient of the Nordic Council Literature Prize, Jonas Eika of Denmark, took the opportunity to expose generally the racism and social inequality in the Nordic region and in particular, in his home country of Denmark.

Eika, speaking at the Stockholm Concert Hall, blamed Danish Social Democrat Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen for perpetrating state-sponsored racism.

“I’m speaking to the Danish prime minister who’s also sitting somewhere in the audience, Mette Fredriksen, who’s at the head of the Social Democratic Party which has come to power by taking over the previous government’s racist language and politics,” said Eika. “Metter Fredriksen, who calls herself “the children’s PM,” but pursues an immigration policy that splits families apart, impoverishes them, and subjects a slow, destructive violence in the country’s so-called departure centers [immigration removal centers].”

Frederiksen failed to applaud after Eika’s speech and told the media at a press conference with other Nordic prime ministers the following day that she disagreed with what the writer said, according to

Hear Eika’s speech below in full with English subtitles.

Eika also talked about racism and the rise of populist anti-immigration parties that promote social exclusion in the Nordic region and elsewhere.

“I’m also speaking to the other Nordic ministers in your countries,” he said, “refugees are also placed in closed prisons or remote camps, and they are broken down and made ill, some attempt o take their lives.”

“[a]nd I think that the racist nationalism, which is their years, is winning ground in the Nordic nation-states,” he continues, “[it] is dependent on whiteness, on an idea of the white majority’s exclusive right to national welfare and safety and I see whiteness as [a] heritage of the colonial past,” he said, “which also exists in the Nordic countries, and which none of the powers who previously colonized and oppressed original peoples have shown any real commitment to confronting. Quite the opposite.”‘

Thank you Bashy Qurashy for the heads-up.