Eiríkur Rögnvaldsson, former professor of Icelandic grammar at the University of Iceland, shares an anonymous email on his Facebook page, that he received after he defended the Icelandic „Fjallkona“, which would directly translate to the Icelandic Mountain Woman. It is a role acted out by a woman each year on June 17th, Iceland’s national independence day. This year’s mountain woman was Sylwia Zajkowska, a woman of Polish descent. She was the first woman of other than Icelandic descent to deliver the mountain woman’s speech, which she did in her native Polish accent. This appeared to offend some people.
Röngvaldsson was surely not among those who took offense. He discussed the matter in the radio show Sprengisandur at Bylgjan radio station a few days ago. Eiríkur said he was pleased with Sylwia’s speech. He also encouraged Icelanders to be patient with foreigners who speak imperfect Icelandic or Icelandic with a strong accent.
„We simply have to decide; are we going to make it easier for these people to master Icelandic and show patience while they are learning the language or are we going to be inflexible in our demands for some kind of perfect Icelandic language, perfect pronunciation, perfect inflections, and so on?“ said Rögnvaldsson in the interview.
Anonymous, hateful letter
This stance led him to receiving a chilling letter. „This morning I was interviewed in the show Sprengisandur at Bylgjan, following my writing from the other day about a foreign accent from the „Mountain Woman“. I guess what I said in the interview is the reason I received the following anonymous email earlier. Truthfully, I found it rather uncomfortable and scary, “ says Röngvaldsson in his post.
He published the letter in its entirety. The individual holding the pen seems to harbor hate for Polish people. „People do not want this large import of foreigners and that is why people hate that a Polish person should be chosen, and it does not make matters better that she does not know Icelandic. Leftist people like yourself live in LA LA land. You have no idea what’s going on in people’s heads. The hatred will only grow and people like yourself are responsible. Importing people from other cultures on a large scale is dangerous for democracy. Not languages. Her incompetence is not the main reason why people express themselves in a negative way on the matter. A lot of people hate and or despise Polish people,“ says the correspondent.
The man who shot at the Polish man recently knew that he was shooting at a foreigner and even that he was shooting at a Polish person. Maybe the „Mountain Woman“ scene was the motivation for that. His last straw. The nonsense that often comes from commentators in the media is sometimes quite unique. Then you incite this hatred even more by saying that there will be even more foreigners coming into the country and obviously making yourself a man who wants multiculturalism, perhaps because of some strange incentive, and or maybe based solely on some strange ideology that we will all be so very happy as different people with different ideas about life.“
Finally, the man complains about the alleged racism of Polish people. „That it’s okay to import people to the country on a large scale, who have a lot of prejudice against homosexuals and people of other races. I’m talking about Muslims, Poles and Ukrainians, for example. Their prejudices are great. Talk to ten Poles and at least five of them will be prejudiced. Talk to ten Muslim believers and at least five of them will express hatred towards the West and compliance with Sharia law. You people at the University see the world through some filter that is not at all based on facts. Rather wishful thinking. The academic community is no smarter than that. It is based more on ideology rather than facts.“
This article was originally published in Icelandic by Hjálmar Friðriksson.