A language under attack (2,3,4,5)

That sounds like a very unfair judgment; why taking Magnus’ remarks so personally? This is an academic platform where we at the very least should expect some respectful manners. “I do not like his articles”: this is a statement not an argument. Could you elaborate please? Besides why not addressing him directly? “Magnus, I don’t like your articles (and here is why)” sounds a bit closer to a dialogue than a public attack.

My own reading is that Magnus was trying to emphasise the traumatic experience of people who are forced to abandon their mother language and to learn the dominant language. Some chose to use this dominant language to express themselves, some radically reject that language. The current Chinese policies in the Uyghur region, rather than building bridges and harmony, are creating the same rejection process; though indeed, as in the German case, some chose to use the dominant language to express their identity (like Tibetan writer Pema Tseden for instance).

Concluding from this comparison that Magnus hates Chinese and Germans… there might be other platforms to “laver votre linge sale” as the French saying goes.

Vanessa Frangville <vanessafrangville@gmail.com>


Magnus Fiskesjö asked some legitimate questions and his analogy is quite on point. The article is not “his,” it was written by Rustem Shir. I think you should read the article or learn what is going on in the Uyghur land/Xinjiang region. If the Chinese government were encouraging multilingualism and didn’t replace the Uyghur education system, it would be a completely different discussion. How would you feel if the Chinese government told you that you need to study Chinese and replaced the German education you received with a Chinese one. How would you feel if the Chinese government make it seem speaking German in Germany is a crime? You’ve mentioned many people wrote in German, which I’m sure most of them had the options of choosing to write in German. Likewise, I can choose to write in Uyghur, English, and Chinese, I should have the choice and freedom to do so. I went through the education system in Uyghur land/Xinjiang when they were replacing the Uyghur education system. I loved studying Chinese until that point, which I realized we are being colonized. After, I refused to speak Chinese and intentionally spoke with a very heavy accent if I had to. My Han Chinese teachers did not like it because they know I can speak well. It was my small way of getting back at them. Moreover humans capable of being multilingual, I’m sure you are at least bilingual too, which means that the Chinese government replacing the Uyghur education system in the name of letting Uyghurs learn better Chinese is absolute horse crap. It is one of the methods of colonizing the region and it only comes only from an extremely nationalistic perspective, which is comparable to the Nazi one.

Would you please read the article next time before you make a comment like this? And maybe come up with some legitimate critique?

Thank you,

Mirshad Ghalip <mieralif@iu.edu>


I value the comments which Dr. Fiskesjö posts here. He is perceptive & well-informed, and when he sees fundamental moral values at stake, I agree.

I do not see why his latest observation — that languages imposed by force are seldom loved — should be controversial.  One could take it further, and wonder how much that is worth reading will still be written in Chinese a generation from now, if a climate of pervasive propaganda is restored.  Years ago I was puzzled to come across a line by a young, sinophone Tibetan poet (who had been imprisoned) that ran something like this: “Resolutely hold high the banner of Buddhist thought!”

“Is this satire?” I asked.

“No,” my teacher said, “it’s the only language he was taught; it’s the only way he can express himself.”

A. E. Clark <aec@raggedbanner.com>


On Magnus’s behalf I would like to correct the view on him: His articles are often strongly opposed to activities of the Chinese GOVERNMENT, not China itself. I believe it is worth to read his articles, he critizes misbehaviour which undoubtly causes great damage or pain.

In the same way he did not express any hate of (all) Germans, but of the activities the Nazi government showed.

Heiko Schultz <urbade@mailbox.org>

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