Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Terrier tactics

Hufvudstadsbladet is running a series of articles and features (the website includes only a selection from the paper edition) under the general headline "Swedish Under Attack", focusing on the current language debate in Finland. Yesterday the paper asked some leading Finland-Swedish personalities what they thought of SFP ([Finland-]Swedish People's Party) leader Stefan Wallin's proposal, voiced during an interview on Sunday, that the party should be a "terrier" for Finland-Swedish interests.

Respondents were asked:

1 What do you think of terrier tactics in the defence of Swedish questions?

2 What sort of tactics should they be?

Among literary respondents, Jörn Donner wrote:
If by terrier tactics what is meant is a more aggressive style that beats fists on the table, I can probably see a point in it. It's getting too easy for the Finland-Swedes to become too accommodating and seek consensus. But if terrier tactics are on the agenda, the SFP should probably have left the government a number ofl times during the past 20 years. So far I have seen no indication that they ever intended to do so, alas.
And in the course of his (longer) reply Kjell Westö said:
I have no easy counter-prescription. I'm surprised that so many Finland-Swedes seem to experience Finnish-speaking Finland as a scary, completely alien world. This autumn's debate has made me realize that I've underestimated that sense of alienation. I personally get along well with  Finnish-speakers and have always felt myself to be a Finn who happens to have Swedish as his mother tongue. For me language - any language - is a tool that makes it possible to build bridges, and I don't think I'm going to abandon that position.
See also: Land of one language?
Land of one language? - 2

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