Published on 06/03/12 at 23:26:44 GMT by Redaksjonen
It has been said that ingratitude is linked to thoughtlessness.
In a new report from Israel, trying NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) journalists Hætta Kenneth and Marie Elise Nystad to rapport about the help that the Sami people are getting from Israel to preserve their languages and culture. Instead of being grateful and not mix irrelevant politics in the case, the journalists from NRK decided to add to the report an interview with the leader of Palestinian Committee in Norway.
I remember as a child the first time I heard about the tragic fate of the Sami people in Norway. I remember my favorite radio show which was about the story of a Sami child who was kidnapped from his family and forced to learn Norwegian.
Later in life when I moved from Israel to Norway, I asked many Norwegians about the fate of the Sami people and was quite surprised to discover that most Norwegians did not even know that the Sami people were forced to forget their languages and culture.
I can only imagine the headlines in NRK and the Norwegian newspapers, if Israel would have adopted the same methodology to "customize" Palestinian children to the Jewish language and culture: kidnap young Palestinian children and force them to speak Hebrew.
The consequences of the "language learning", which was forced on the Sami people are well known - The Sami languages are in danger of disappearing. And it was precisely for this reason that Norway decided to send a group of linguists and advisers to Israel to help with the preservation of the languages.
If NRK would rather discuss the political situation in Israel than the political reasons for why the Norwegian government policy actually was to eradicate the Sami languages and culture completely, then it is important to provide accurate information about Israel's language policy when it comes to Palestinians and their language situation in Israel:
What does the law say? - Israel: The Palestinian Arabic language has been adopted by law in Israel as one of the two official languages in Israel. - Norway: Sami is official language only in the Sami areas, not nationally.
Media use of language? - Israel: All TV movies on Israeli TV channels are translated to both Hebrew and Arabic. - Norway: None of the TV movies on Norwegian TV channels are translated into Sami.
Street Signs? - Israel: All street signs in Israel, both Jewish and Arab areas are translated into Hebrew, Arabic and English. - Norway: Some street signs in Sami areas have been translated into Sami.
Language learning in schools: - Israel: All Jewish children are actually forced to learn Arabic in addition to Hebrew and English from elementary school. - Norway: I can only imagine what would happen if the Norwegian children would be forced to learn the Sami language.
It is quite doubtful that the Norwegian journalists who were sent this time to Israel are aware of the reasons of why the Sami languages are in danger of disappearing and it is equally doubtful whether they have any knowledge of the language policy in Israel.
Facts about the Sami languages: - The Sami languages belong to the Uralic languages group and spread out over northern Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden), northern Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. - Between 20 000 and 30 000 people are speaking the various Sami languages. The most common Sami languages today are Northern Sami, Lule and Southern Sami. - In an international context, all Sami languages characterized as endangered languages. - From the end of the 1800s there was a strong political policy of "Norwegianisation" of the Sami people in Norway. - In parallel with the political struggle for Norwegian independence from Sweden, the Norwegian politicians promoted measures for internal consolidation, to make the Sami and Kven people becoming Norwegian. - From 1880 the Norwegian curriculum said that all teaching in schools mustbe in Norwegian, and both Kven and Sami were forbidden in all schools. - From the beginning of the 1900s, it was forbidden to teach the Sami language, religious services in the Sami language were banned and Sami was never used by magistrates as sheriffs, mayors, etc. - In 1924, it was proposed by a Sami teacher to start a beginner's training course on Sami, but the authorities were negative. Sami culture was "something that was not existed" they replied. - The Sami children were gathered in boarding schools, where there were only permitted to speak Norwegian, and the authorities did not allow the use of Sami in public. - According to a study from 1930, more than half of the population in Kvænangen were speaking either Sami or Finnish at home, in 1950 only one person was still using Sami and one who used Finnish at home. - The Sami languages disappeared from large areas, for example, the distinctive dialect spoken on Kvaløya Ringvassøya in Troms has disappeared forever. - Among the Sami languages which have been in use in Norway, UNESCO has classified Eastern Sami, Pite Sami and Ume Sami as extinct, Lule and South Sami as severely endangered, while the Northern Sami is classified as threatened. - There are currently no statistics on how many families or individuals who use the Sami languages as a daily language, or how many people speak the Sami languages.
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