2007-12-04

Minorities in China are treated better

The Swedish news site The Local carries a wacky AFP article on the ol' language question. (You can tell that the author is French by the way Arto Paasilinna is quoted in the end.) The problem with discussing the topic is that the world is neatly divided into people who don't care and people who care a bit too much. This article tries to bring a smidgen of heat to the proceedings by only quoting the latter.

"Finland tries to teach everyone a lesson about morality but minorities in China are treated better," blasted Juhan [sic] Janhunen, an expert on Asian languages, comparing one of the most egalitarian countries in the world to the Communist regime.

On the other hand, the majority in China is treated worse, so it evens out.
And as a result of budgetary cutbacks, Swedish-speaking police stations, courts and municipal offices will in the coming years be integrated into Finnish entities.

"It's scandalous! We don't even know who was here first, the Swedes or the Finns," thunders a judge, Charles Lindroos, whose court is due to close.

The Sami may have been there first, but it totally doesn't count because our ancestors weren't playing for keepsies back then.
Heikki Tala, the head of the Association for Finnish Culture and Identity, doesn't see a problem.

"Swedish speakers enjoy privileges like no other linguistic minority in the world," he said.

"The 500,000 Finns in Sweden have no rights," he pointed out.

That's not strictly true. For example, while you're allowed to enslave Sweden-dwelling Finns, you must ensure that there's no gender discrimination among your slave force.

4 comments:

TH said...

Is there some kind of EU directive that stipulates that whenever an article about Finland is published in foreign press, at least a few factual errors and misrepresentations must be inserted in it?

Ari said...

My working theory is that all articles written by foreigners about small countries are inaccurate, and I just don't know enough to notice the errors when the topic isn't Finland.

bunseni_lamp said...

That is right, and it also applies to articles about small countries in Finnish media. Basically, it is all about what kind of people journalist meets first when he arrives in this hypothetical small country. He knows nothing of the subject beforehand and his first contacts define how he writes; if he must write about language problems in Finland, and he first gets to speak with a Swedish speaking activist/supremacist - voila, there you go. Works other way around, too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's a very unbalanced article. It's like interviewing Stalin and Hitler for a balanced view on World War 2's events. Both Finlandssvensk Samling and Suomalaisuuden liito are hardly the places to go for a fair picture.