Jonas Eika speech – Nordic Council Literature Prize 2019

The winner of the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize 2019 is Jonas Eika, from Denmark. I’m standing here on this stage with gratitude and tenderness towards those I share this life with, those that inspire me, those that I think together with, those that I do politics and literature with, those that I organise with. The book receiving this award exists also because of them. Because of people who use their energy, not to serve the ruling order, or to achieve a lucrative position within it, but because they believe in and hope for another one. A culture which doesn’t rest on patriarchal relationships, a community which doesn’t require racist exclusion, a society without class or power, where our creative and loving efforts don’t serve the death machines of the state and capital, but serve us all, and life, in all its forms, human as well as non-human. I think that in literature there’s a dream of a language that doesn’t require forgetting in order to mean something, a language that’s on par with the world, in all its oppression and despair, but simultaneously open to the indefinable, the inexpressible which exists in all things, and from which a new order can be created. And the Nordic Council’s work with translating and spreading books from both large and small languages, it possibly contributes to that. But let’s also not forget that the Nordic Council is also an institution, it’s an official collaboration between some of the richest nation-states in the world. And I think that the racist nationalism, which in these years is winning ground in the nordic nation-states, is dependent on whiteness, on an idea of the white majority’s exclusive right to national welfare and safety. And I see whiteness as heritage of the colonial past which also exists in the nordic countries, and which none of the powers who previously colonised and oppressed original peoples have shown any real commitment to confronting. Quite the opposite. Many of them show a commitment to using it. I’m speaking to the Danish PM who’s also sitting somewhere in this audience Mette Frederiksen, who’s at the head of a social-democratic party which has come to power by taking over the previous government’s racist language and politics. Mette Frederiksen, who calls herself “the children’s PM,” but pursues an immigration policy that splits families apart, impoverishes them, and subjects both children and adults to a slow, destructive violence in the country’s so-called departure centres. Close Sjælsmark, close Kærshovedgård, close Ellebæk, abolish the whole camp system. Mette Frederiksen and the social-democrats who say that they fight for welfare and cheap housing, but carry out the biggest attack on public housing ever seen. Mette Frederiksen and the social-democrats who say that in Denmark we are all equal, but with the so-called ghetto-plan discriminate against citizens based on origin and class. In Denmark racism is both cultural and legal, in Denmark we have state racism. I’m also speaking to the other nordic ministers. In your countries refugees are also placed in closed prisons or remote camps, and they are broken down and made ill, some attempt to take their own lives. From all your countries, people are deported to places where they aren’t safe. Many of your countries take part in financing the expansion and militarisation of the EU’s borders, a process which costs thousands of refugees and migrants their lives, while it simultaneously benefits the security and arms industry, including several nordic companies. But in the end, but also first and foremost, I’m speaking to all those who want something different. Regardless of whether we’re privileged or oppressed by these societies, and many of us are both, then we share that we didn’t choose them. None of us chose to live in oppressive societies. They don’t have a claim to our loyalty. But it requires something of us to desert from them. Particularly in the situations where we’re privileged, it requires an attention to the oppression and struggle, which many years of neoliberal and nationalist politics have attempted to make us blind and deaf to. If we have extra money and resources, it requires that we redistribute them in solidarity. And for us all, I think it requires that we destroy the bounded, uniform sense of self, which the state and capital have created in us, and learn to act together again, across and on the strength of our differences. It requires that we find each other.

8 Replies to “Jonas Eika speech – Nordic Council Literature Prize 2019

  1. Det er en imponerende tale, som han holder med rolig stemme, selvom han fornærmer adskillige mennesker i salen. Imens kan vi se vores statsminister sidde med sit arrogante ansigtsudtryk og føle sig mere værd end manden, der står på scenen og taler om, hvad der nok bedst kan beskrives som menneskerettigheder.

  2. Talen er ekstrem god for Mette Forræderiksen, det får hende til at se ud som om hun er imod flere Muslimer, hvilket vi alle ved er en løgn da hun kun har lavet lempelser for dem og talen er ekstrem god for Morten Østergaard, for han malker den allerede og kalder os alle racister… Jonas blev garanteret betalt for at holde talen, sikkert hans øreringe..

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