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The Language policy in Latvia is going under social discussion

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#1 | Posted: 8 Nov 2011 21:07 | Edited by: Paul 
It's not quite about miniBB-related news, but some news affecting my native country, the place where I'm currently living and working. Latvia.
I must say, something politically strong like this is happening here in about 20 years for the first time.

As you probably might not know, the strict Language policy in Latvia is even included in Wikipedia. It declares Latvian to be the official state language and affirming the rights of ethnic minorities to preserve and develop their languages. Russian is the native language for more than one third of the population, and is well known by about 90% of the population; but it also "considered indigenous". While living in Latvia, I have learned Latvian better than many native Latvians.

But with this, we have the social experiment, meaning Latvian government tries to save their culture and language, using the other culture's generation. I don't know how it's called officially, but in practice, sometimes in looks like fascism.

I think, every nation deserves rights to teach their children in the native language, so they understand the topic. You all probably know, how difficult sometimes is to learn something new. Now imagine you learn it in the language, which is not spoken in your family.

Unfortunately, we have such a policy in education in Latvia, too. More and more Russian schools are being closed or "Latvianized". That makes our children, the next generation, too dumb to be on the European competitive market. I wouldn't like to educate my son in Latvian. I know that the most important thing I've learn in my life, is my native language. It's Russian.

You might say, Russians are "wrong" to Latvia, but you don't have to mess the Russian people and the Russian government. All Russians living currently in Latvia, were not occupying this land by purpose. They are people thrown out of the Russian empire or USSR by religious or political reasons, and these processes lasted for about 300 years. This land was never actually related to only "Latvians". Wikipedia explains a lot about this.

What is happening with not only to Russians, but to all other national minorities in Latvia, which are quite a lot, 'cause it's always been a "moving country" - that is called Chauvinism

Because of that, nobody understands, why Latvia is called "An independant democratic country" in the first sentence of its Constitution. It's not democratic. Half of the population doesn't have election rights.

These days, in November, we finally have the revolutionary action happening. It's created by the real political revolutionaries, and it's an extremely hot topic in all local media these days. There are a lot of "for" and "against" opinions, lots of discussions. It's not important, what kind of results this action will have on output. It will have results, in any way.

I would like just to inform anybody, who has friend or relatives from Latvia: just pass these news to them. Just let them know. It's up to them what they decide regarding this event. May be some of them will sign the petition to the government. This process is running now.

Thank you.

Author tom322
Registered
#2 | Posted: 9 Nov 2011 00:22 
The more languages the members of a society know, the more intelligent / valuable for the market they are = the more long-term profit for the country such members will bring. Some people don't understand it (or they actually do but due to their own interests they ignore this fact).

I don't know what's going on in the world - USA is a perfect example of a fascist state now. Similar things are in Latvia and other countries. People waiting for something, maybe only planets could explain that.

Author kuopassa
Registered
#3 | Posted: 10 Nov 2011 09:45 
Here in Finland we have also some problems with the government's official language policy. Basically here 6% of population is telling the rest that they should learn Swedish. Sounds absurd, but this really is the case. I have no idea how the Swedish Finns managed to trick the constitution like that, but corruption could be the answer. :-/

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#4 | Posted: 10 Nov 2011 11:59 | Edited by: Paul 
Astonishing!
Just 6% of population gained their rights.
Here, we have about 40% of population that can't get them for 25 years.

You see, Latvia is a bit different story. It's not a big country like US with a big mess of nations, and it doesn't have a "leading nation" in background, like for example "Baltic states" Lithuania or Estonia, where approx. the same amount of ethnic minorities is present like in Finland.

The problem is purely about it. Latvians want "their own country", with the only one language; Russians feel the "strong brother" on their back and are not really afraid of NATO powers Latvians are trying to collect around.

If it would be a purely "independant" country, located far away from Russia's borders, which is NOT Latvia, most possibly there would be no such national questions. But Latvians are just *afraid* of losing their identity, if they allow Russians kind of freedom again. Because even the small part of the powerful nation, in time, could easily "replace" the big, but weak world's minority.

It's not the same like in Finland, not the same like in US :) Thanks though for your replies, guys.

Author kuopassa
Registered
#5 | Posted: 10 Nov 2011 12:21 
Sure, I think I understand the situation you have over there. It would be justified if the 2nd official language etc. in Latvia would be for example Russian. That is because you have such a large number of people speaking it. It would also be practical, as Russian is a major language spoken by hundreds of millions of people.

It is not democratic what happens here in Finland: it's not justified that 6% of population is telling the huge majority what they should do. Our people should be given the right to choose if they want to learn (besides Finnish) for example English, Russian or German. Especially some Finns living in East are never going to use Swedish, but they are forced by law to learn it. Some of them would like to learn Russian as they're in contact with them.

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#6 | Posted: 10 Nov 2011 12:36 | Edited by: Paul 
kuopassa:
It would also be practical, as Russian is a major language spoken by hundreds of millions of people.

No doubts, "being practical" is just another heavy reason. Unfortunately, mostly all Latvians themselves are "overproduced" by the current political system and do not quite understand, where such politics is leading to. Latvia has lost about 15% of the population these years; trying to find a job, many of the citizens were moved to the UK, Ireland and Germany; many of the older age inhabitants just died, and the "new babies" factor is still very low. Latvia dies and going to the bankruptcy with the current politics.

I would say, 90% of Latvians know and speak Russian very well. It's just "national politics" we have here.
Latvia is often called in the foreign media as the "Neo-Nazism".

kuopassa:
Some of them would like to learn Russian as they're in contact with them.

I understand you. Unfortunately, the modern "democracy model" tries to align every nation into the same dimension. That's why no wonder a small ethnic minority could bring something hot up to it. That's the hiss in the democracy model.

I think, the real democracy is born on the confrontation of national powers, but of course, without physical human war, on the intellectual discussions, proper politics level, business competition. It's an utopia to unite different nations. For example, Finns have "sisu", and Swedens don't even know what's it about. How to unite them? Impossible. Let them live their own lives - but I see the governments think different, unfortunately.

Author tom322
Registered
#7 | Posted: 10 Nov 2011 21:04 | Edited by: tom322 
I used to think that moving to a small country may be a good idea because they have less problems, less restrictions, and have more freedom. But that's apparently not the case. Maybe one exception - people living in Tibet or Peru mountain villages are probably the happiest of all ;).

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#8 | Posted: 10 Nov 2011 22:30 
tom322:
people living in Tibet or Peru mountain villages are probably the happiest of all

Even if I'd have village in Latvia, I'd feel quite happy and safe, too :)

Author tom322
Registered
#9 | Posted: 10 Nov 2011 23:55 
Paul:
Even if I'd have village in Latvia, I'd feel quite happy and safe, too :)

Right, but if there were 1000 people in the village and 900 of them would feel strongly about their 'Latvian heritage' then in time it might be a little annoying ;).

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#10 | Posted: 11 Nov 2011 12:44 
1000 people in the village? I doubt you ever find such amount in Latvia :)
10 people in the village. That's real for now.

Author tom322
Registered
#11 | Posted: 11 Nov 2011 16:15 
Paul:
10 people in the village. That's real for now.

Wow, so it is different than I imagined. I assumed a very small village would have at least 200 people; and an average would have 1000 people. At least that's what I remember from countries on the west of Latvia. Well, in that case it would be peaceful and quiet indeed ; ).

Author Paul
Lead Developer
#12 | Posted: 2 Dec 2011 13:35 
Thanks to all for replies and attention.

Taking into attention the initial results, there were collected more than 180,000 signatures for the petition to the Latvian president.

Now the law offer about the Russian language in Latvia will enter the government's border. We all are excited to see what happens next :)
I wouldn't say it's a good government which goes against of will of hundreds of thousands citizens...

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