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Björn Wiman: Barbarity is the same – no matter if you write the ö, or ø

”Sweden call the danes fascists, and Denmark call the swedes for feminists, which in denmark's eyes is something much worse!” So, with the usual saltiness, Suzanne Brøgger in his book of essays about Norway, the ”Norwegian omelette”.

And syskongrälet between the neighbouring nordic countries are not direct any news. In 1908, the organizing magazine of Words and Image editor Karl Wåhlin a vote among its readers about whether they should continue to publish the Danish and Norwegian contributions in the original language. It is a question that engages the readership, just three years after the dissolution of the union with Norway. A reader points out that it is ”unworthy of our best literary magazine to serve as afstjälpningslår for what grannarne rejected” and mean that the Swedish authors often have to wait on that their contributions are introduced: ”During the time fullproppades the journal af the Danish blåstrumpor, seltersvattens and novellfröknar.” Also in other posts reflected a growing nationalist fervor: ”Let the manifold of executing his, once and for all fall. Work tirelessly on all Swedish may once again come to honor, and Sweden, such as before take the lead in the Nordic region”, that of a reader.

Others advocate instead a continuation of the state order. ”Words and Image completely out to be able to fill their Swedish kulturuppgift, it must, therefore, include also the Danish and Norwegian grants”, argues a professor in Lund. The vote results in a compromise: the journal will continue to print a smaller part of the Danish and Norwegian contributions and then of course the humanist, which as one writer points out, ”after all, every educated american to understand'.

In Johanna Peace wonderful novel, ”Nora or Brinn Oslo brinn” – in the week of dagens nyheter's culture prize – depicts the main character Johanna in one place the expression that often characterizes the meetings between the skandinavisktalande – ”a solidifying phase and an unwillingness to give expression to that you don't actually understand”. To listen to the Danish, " says Johanna, ”was worse than having a radio set between two stations, more like trying to rinse the rice in a coarse colander or read in the coffee grounds.”

There are reasons to follow Johanna Peace bridge building example. Not least because it kärvänliga wrangling between the neighbouring nordic countries are about to develop into something more serious than a superficial language confusion.

therefore, she decides to learn the language. And more than that. Danish constitutes a significant part of both the novel's style and content. ”Multilingualism”, as it is called in the scientific context, is something that has existed in the literature since the beginning. Aristotle talked about the ”barbarismer”, while språkpurister through the centuries seen språkblandningen as a threat to national, uniform ideal. In today's globalised world is to be praised rather for its cross-border effects in the creation of a new ”world literature”.

there are reasons to follow Johanna Peace bridge building example. Not least because it kärvänliga wrangling between the neighbouring nordic countries are about to develop into something more serious than a superficial language confusion. In the Danish debate, Sweden has long been depicted as a mentally enslaved åsiktsdiktatur, whose population is obsessed with gender issues, flyktingkramande and political correctness. In recent years, this view also reached Norway, where the expression Swedish tilstander – ”the Swedish state” – is used as an invective to describe the uncontrolled immigration and the consequent destruction of the welfare state.

To the end of eat, these stereotypes also into the relations between individual people. In Johanna Peace novel growing jealousy against the Norwegian girl Nora to a komplexfylld projection of a självgott country with much oil and a capital called ”Asshole”. During one of ben's argument with the Danish boyfriend Emil, he pulls svenskkortet: ” Hold now, op. You it her noget fucking feministhalløj you have the gang in?”

there are worse things in the world than both the ”Swedish tilstander” and ”fucking feministhalløj”. Before the parliamentary elections in the autumn, tried the Danish writer Carsten Jensen, in a series of DN-articles explain what Sweden has to learn from Denmark in depth. Jensen warned of how Denmark for several decades has served as a laboratory for right-wing extremist who now storms out in Europe, where immigration has always brought forth as a decisive factor. He warned of a förråat climate where an extremist party to be with väljarpotential of around 20% with the time can force all parties and the entire public debate in bigotry and halvrasistisk rhetoric, on the basis of an opportunistic medlöperi from the media centred alliance.

Read more: Denmark to place utvisningsdömda on the fate of the island

After Jensen's articles have been able to witness another example of how the public debate gradually förråas and polarized when a right-wing party is given political influence in a country, step by step moved the boundaries of what is possible to say and do. At the end of last year, the Danish government and the stödpartiet Dansk folkeparti a series of measures that would reduce immigration to the country – one of them was to send the refugees who commit crimes to a particular center on an uninhabited island off the island of Zealand. The proposal was illustrated by Dansk folkeparti with an animated propagandafilm, where a man in a muslim hat and cassock travel in a boat to a deserted island.

So it looks when the real ”barbarismerna” eats into the nordic languages and thoughts – no matter if you write the ö, or ø.

Read more by Björn Wimans chronicles – about the climate crisis and the book ”Late on earth. 33 thoughts on the world's biggest news” .

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