To my Swedish readers, a bit of understanding here.
This movement is a direct result of the failed notion of multiculturalism, of which bilingualism plays such a key role. In order to have a cohesive state, the need for a single language with an overriding sense of a single culture is paramount. That’s not to say that people can’t maintain on a private level their sense of fealty to their ethnic background and heritage, but on a public level, there has to be a sense of unity, or the whole enterprise begins to collapse.
Swedish speakers in Finland make up only 5.5% of the Finnish population yet it’s the official second language of the land, I see no need to impose the tyranny of the minority upon the majority. There is no anti-Swedish language movement here per say, just against the imposing of it upon the majority, for entirely political reasons.
NOTE: The Swedish language debate in Finland has gone on as long as I have been living here, and successive generations have maintained the momentum to the consternation of the cultural/political self anointed elite. And in spite of claiming to belong to Scandinavia, much of the Nordic Swedish based language speaking people do not view Finland as a ‘real’ Scandinavian country…solely to the language difference.
By Finnish law, if a public initiative gathers 50,000 supporters within 6 months, it will be considered by Parliament. A citizen’s initiative opposing mandatory Swedish-language classes in the Finnish school system has gathered 50,000 signatures since it was launched in early March.
The move was launched by Vapaa Kielivalinta (a group that supports freedom of language choice), the Finnish Alliance, the Finns Party Youth and the National Coalition Party Youth. Their goal is to make Swedish optional, not mandatory as it is now in the school system. Finland is a bilingual country where the other official language is Swedish.
“I believe that this initiative will be taken seriously by Parliament, and it has the potential to succeed,” says Sampo Terho, President of the Finnish Alliance and a Member of European Pariliament.