Frsluflokkur: Vinir og fjlskylda

Reflections on two decades - Mother tongue education

Dear participants, guests, my colleagues, friends and comrades, welcome to “The treasure of languages-Conference on practical ways of improving mother tongue learning in homes, schools and leisure”. With commission of the board of the Murml, I would like to welcome you to this educative and meaningful gathering.

I would like to express our feeling of gratitude and gladness to our special guest, Dr. Deirdre Kirwan, principal of Scoil Bhrde Cailn, from Dublin, Ireland. Thank you for coming, Dr. Kirwan.

I would like also to thank to the board members of Murml for providing us such a good opportunity for deepening our understanding of multi-linguistic education and developing our teaching skills, as well as the dedicating activities on the daily base. The association Murml is a sort of “Mother organization” for mother-tongue education, and today 24 language groups are joining Muml. This is a really remarkable development, I would say. Many well educated people are now working in the Murml and are trying to share their knowledge and educational skills to the other members, its a fantastic thing, isn’t is?

Murml was officially organized and legally registered in 2001. I was one of the founders of Muml, but Murml at that time was far different from what it is today. There were 5 language groups, English, Russian, Lithuanian, Polish and Japanese. We were also closely working with the Vietnamese group.

The mother-tongue education itself began to be organized around the year 1993 with the cooperation and support of the Reykjavik municipality.But the support of the city to the mother tongue education was to be stopped at the end of 2001, so we, founders, hurried to organize the association Murml formally.Because we needed to apply for grunts here and there, but to do so there had to be a registered association.

I myself have been involved in the Japanese group, and our group will celebrate its 20th anniversary in the coming school year. I was there from the beginning, but I don’t remember well if it was the autumn of 1995 or the winter of 1996. I have two kids, and they were then 5 years old and 2 years old, and now they will be soon 25 and 22.They have already graduated from the Japanese mother-tongue group, and I am half-retired from the group, too.

So two decades is surely some period of time. I have been involved in the Japanese group without interruption through those two decades, so I think it is my privilege that I can compare then and now.

There are many things that have changed, but some things have not. Some things were topics of the discussion twenty years ago, and they are still topics for discussion today. Some things were important and worth paying attention to twenty years ago, and are still so.

I would like to point out only three points to remind you of their importance. But they are not about the theory of multi-linguistic education or teaching skills. They are more about the role of a parent. I am not educated in the field of multi-linguistic education. I am just a father of two children, and that is where I have been standing so far. Please understand this beforehand.

The first point is whether the mother-tongue teaching belongs to home education or to school education. This is a classic discussion. This happened really in some mother-tongue teaching groups, but numbers of parents misunderstood that if they took kids to their mother-tongue teaching groups, then the group would take care of everything and the kids didn’t have to do any home study. It became clear in some cases that the parents did not use the mother tongue at home even in communicating with the child.

In the Japanese group there wasn’t such an extreme example, since we didn’t have any educated teacher in the beginning, and we parents had a kind of agreement that we ourselves would teach our children, so there was no clear border between the home study and the education in the group. Yet there has been a constant misunderstanding, as if the mother-tongue education could be completed at the mother-tongue group. Of course, our weekly education for a couple of hours cannot complete anything, but it is an aid to stimulate the mother-tongue teaching at home.

This point is really matter of course for those who used to teach children their mother tongue, but is not necessarily taken for granted for those who have just stepped into mother-tongue teaching. It also happens that even though the parents are aware of the importance of home study, as a fact, they have fallen into counting only on the mother-tongue group unconsciously.

The second point is misjudgment or exceeding decision by parents that multi-linguistic education is too much of a burden for their children. Surely it is work to educate our children our mother-tongue in a situation where the language is not a common language. But no education is easy to obtain generally and whatever the children are supposed to learn, they have to make an appropriate effort.

We need to consider three things in this kind of misjudgment. First, the capacity of a child in leaning is much bigger than we think usually. Very often, we misunderstand that what we cannot do is difficult for our children, too. But it’s not true. I am not good at dancing, I don’t even dare to dance, but my son dances very well. My daughter is now reading books in English that I would never take in my hands. “This must be a burden for my child”: parents should see thoroughly the condition of their child before they come to such a conclusion.

Secondly, the burden which parents recognize as a burden might not be the child’s, but it could be a burden for the parents themselves. We all know it’s a considerable task to teach our kids our mother-tongue. I know it’s an especially heavy task for a parent when the parent is new in this country and is learning Icelandic for himself. This is a wall. I cannot say any easy words about this wall. We need to go over it.

If I may tell from my experience, it’s difficult to learn Icelandic and it takes a long time usually for us, but the really hard time in learning Icelandic is not endless. It’s just a certain period. Meanwhile our child is growing every day and it cannot wait for us making free time. So for a certain period, we should decide to do both: learn Icelandic and teach our kid the mother-tongue. We have to do it, and we can do it.

Thirdly, it depends also on the priority of the education for our children if the mother-tongue learning becomes a burden for them or not. In Iceland, it’s common that children learn many things at the same time: Ballet, painting, piano, violin, swimming, football, karate and so on.

And I think it’s a positive thing to give them all sorts of possibilities. In Japan, we don’t do this, and I feel sorry for that. I never got any music lessons when I was a kid. One of my dreams is to play the saxophone, I wish I could have had the basic lessons for it when I was little.

Anyway, the point is, if mother-tongue learning is just one of those subjects or if it has higher priority among them. Of course we should respect our children’s wishes fairly, but at the same time we should be aware that our children are not really capable yet to choose what is important for them. We are supposed to help them. It’s the responsibility of us parents.

The third point that I want to remind you of its importance is how we work in this society. As I have mentioned before, I weigh very highly the importance of home study of our mother-tongue in our family life. But nevertheless the mother-tongue education is not only a private matter of immigrants in their home. It is at the same time a social matter of Iceland because the existence of bilingual or multilingual citizens profits the whole society.

Counting from twenty years ago, mother-tongue education was considered as a private matter of immigrants by the education authorities in Iceland, and also generally in the society. Things have gotten much better today, as it can be seen for example in that Murml got the Social award of Frttablai last year. But I don’t think it still enough.

One of the particularities of this country is, in my opinion, that society doesn’t know one thing and that is “to cultivate”, to grow up something. Instead they want to get only the result, the harvest.

Last years, my children have got many requests to make some assistance in Icelandic business such as RV or St 2 because of their fluency in both Japanese and Icelandic. They wanted to use the ability of my kids when they needed it. But they never thought from where their ability came. They might have thought that it was enough to pay my kids a small pocket money, but I did not think it was enough.

When I think about this “opportunism” in Icelandic society in general, I get angry. If they want to use the ability of bilingual or multilingual citizens, they should support us more. I don’t think anyone can deny the benefit that this society will get from our children who can manage two or more languages. Look, to which direction this society is heading. Global business, tourism and multiculturalism, can Iceland stand without those?

Mother- tongue education is not only about the language, but also it is about our culture. That’s the different point about mother– tongue education from the Icelandic student’s learning foreign language in a college. The society should recognize better the importance of mother-tongue education and support it.
We need to continue to appeal for this.

I have mentioned three points, that were important twenty years ago, and are still important for us. The importance of home study, the importance of not to misjudge the capability of our children and the importance of getting better understanding in the society regarding mother- tongue education. I am aware that you know these things well already. My apology if you got bored. Nevertheless it is worth repeating, I think.

Lastly I want to add one word and I think this is my mission word for today. Again I repeat a thing you already know well. My mission word for today is: “Continue, and never give up”.

I remember when my first child, my son, was so small and he had not begun to speak words. I was talking to him in Japanese every day, and got no response from him. It was as if I was talking to a wall and I felt like I was a stupid man who was making effort for nothing. So I was so happy when he uttered a word in Japanese “murasaki”, that meant purple color when he saw purple flowers in our garden. Ever since I use only Japanese in talking with my son, and also with my daughter.

My daughter speaks even better Japanese than my son. Actually she speaks Japanese quite the same as ordinary Japanese people. But she has never lived in Japan. She has visited Japan only in summer vacations that are only three to four weeks at most. I want to boast of my children, but more than that, I want you to see my daughter as an example of what mother-tongue teaching can achieve, even without living in the home country.

Our mother-tongue teaching is the mutual work of parents, kids and surrounding people, like the association Murml. With mutual help and encouragement, we can do it. So please “Continue”, and “Never give up”.

Thank you very much for your patience to listen to me, half retired man.
God bless you, your kids and Murml.

-Welcoming speech at the conference of Murml “The treasure of languages”
at the Geruberg,21st of August 2015-

Glei heimsknarjnustu

Ml hlisleitenda hafa veri eitt af umruefnum jflagi okkar undanfarna vikur. Mig langar a fjalla aeins um mlefni fr ru sjnarhorni en venjulega er gert.

Vi vinir mnir byrjuum a fara heimskn til hlisleitenda Reykjanesb ri 2005. Skmmu sar byrjai Raui krossinn slands (RK) a skipuleggja heimsknarjnustu sjlfboalia vi eldra flk, hlisleitendur og fleiri.

Heimskn mn og vina minna sameinaist san vi sjlfboastarfsemi RK og san hef g veri heimsknarjnustu RK vi hlisleitendur til dagsins dag.

(g er eirri skoun a vi ttum a htta a nota ori „hlisleitandi" og nota orasamband eins og „umskjandi um aljlega vernd" ea „manneskja fltta", ar sem a er meira lsandi auk ess sem hitt ori hefur fengi sig neikvan bl en um etta tla g a skrifa ara grein seinna.)

A mta manneskju

a sem gerist heimsknarjnustu vi flk fltta er einfaldlega a „mta manneskju". Oftast er visaga hennar og reynsla svo langt burtu fr hversdagslegum raunveruleika okkar slandi. En a er ekki annig a flk byrji a segja okkur heimsknarvinum fr sgu sinni samstundist eftir a vi hittumst.

A mta manneskju er ekki sama og a sj manneskju ea a heilsa henni. a krefst kveinnar fyrirhafnar og tma til a mta manneskju sannri merkingu. Vi urfum a byggja upp traust.

essu samskiptaferli geta gilegar uppkomur tt sr sta. Uppsfnu reii og vonleysi sem hlaist hefur upp flki fltta getur t.d. bitna heimsknarvinum. Fyrir a geta jafnvel heimsknarvinir veri hluti af „kerfinu" sem er a hindra a a komast inn lf frii og ryggi.

En ef vi num trausti flksins og a opnar hjarta sitt, er fyrirhfnin ess viri. hvert skipti egar g hlusta sgu flks fltta, hugsa g n um lf mitt og daglegt umhverfi. „Land mitt", „heimili mitt", „fjlskylda mn", „starf mitt", „frelsi mitt", „friur". Slk atrii sem vi teljum jafnvel mevita sjlfgefna hluti eru alls ekki sameiginleg mrgum stum heiminum.

Manneskja sem g mti heimskn var hluti af slkum raunveruleika heimsins. Me v a mta henni er g hjkvmilega tengdur vi raunveruleika heiminum sem er gjrlkur astum mnum slandi.

Manneskja „fltta"

En etta er enn ekki fangastaur heimsknar. Ef vi sjum flk fltta einungis tengslum vi str ea kgun heimalandi ess, er a ekki rtt vihorf. Slkt getur valdi httulegri agreiningu eins og „vi og eir sem eru fltta". Rtt vihorf er a horfa flki sem manneskjur, sem s mennsku flks og einnig persnuleika. „A vera fltta" er staa kveins flks en hvorki hluti af manneskjunni sjlfri n einhverri „tegund" manns.

fangastaur heimsknar er a mta manneskju sem hefur veri fltta og bur mean umskn um aljalega vernd er mefer slandi. v miur getur ferli teki langan tma, eins og eitt r ea jafnvel meira. En ef g neyddi mig sjlfan ess a finna jkvtt atrii essu erfia tmabili, segi g a vi getum nota tmabili til ess a vera vinir flks. Heimsknarstarfsemin stefnir a v.

Fegur manneskju

etta ekki einungis vi um flk fltta, en maur tapar oft ljma snum erfileikunum. Fyrir nokkrum rum hitti g konu fltta. Hn var ltt og mjg reytt. Satt a segja leit konan t fyrir a vera tuttugu rum eldri en aldurinn sagi til um raun.

Eftir um tv r fkk konan dvalarleyfi af mannarstum og enn tveimur rum sar hitti g hana hskla af tilviljun. Falleg kona heilsai mr brosandi en g ekkti hana ekki ar til hn sagi nafn sitt. Hn hafi fengi ljma sinn aftur og birti fegur sna sem hn tti innra me sr.

a er snn glei mn a geta ori vitni a v er manneskja fr sjlfsmynd sna til baka og fegur eftir erfileika, og essi glei fylgir einnig v a vera heimsknarstarfsemi, a a s ekki endilega alltaf.

A kynnast nju flki og skapa vinttu sem opnar dyr a njum heimi, bi fyrir flk fltta og okkur heimsknarvini. g er lnsamur af v a g hef eignast marga vini sem voru ea eru fltta. Kynning vi augar vafalaust mitt eigi lf.

,,Kallau mig PABBI..."

N ykir mr mjg gilegt af v a g get fylgt upphaldssjnvarpsttum mnum Japan nstum samstunds netinu. Einn eirra er um rannsknarlgreglumenn Tk (Keishicho Sosa1kka 9gakari). Fyrir nokkrum vikum horfi g ttinn en sagan var um svona:

ekktur og vinsll ,,chef " er myrt. Hann var ekki svo gamall (um 35?). Hann er frskilinn og fimm ra stelpu sem br hj fyrrverandi konunni. Konan hefur gift sig eftir skilna. Ni maurinn er fimmtugsaldur og etta var fyrsta skipti fyrir hann a eignast eigin fjlskyldu og a var draumur hans lengi. Maurinn er gur vi stelpuna en stelpan svarar honum mjg kalt og alltaf segist vilja hitta pabba sinn sem er chef.

Chef getur hitt stelpuna sna aeins sex mnaafresti, en ni maurinn tekur stelpuna stundum til chef, svo a stelpan veri ng. En me tmanum byrjar maurinn a hugsa eins og: ,,N er g pabbi stelpuna. Ef hn tvo pabba, ruglast hn alveg.... ess vegna kallar stelpan ekki mig pabbi. etta verur a ljkast". Og maurinn drepur chef.

En a kom ljs sar a chef hugsai hi sama sjlfur og hafi kvei a htta a hitta stelpuna sna....

Saga af essu tagi birtist mjg oft japnskum sjnvarpsttum ea skldsgum, sem s saga kringum ,,njan pabba" ,,nja mmmu" og barn sem anna foreldri.
,,Loksins kallai barni mig MAMMA!" Margir Japanir horfa svona endingu sgu nokkrar me tr augum snum.

etta fyrirbri (a Japanir eru hrifnir af sgu af essu tagi) speglar mjg skrt hvernig eir sj hjnaskilnaarml, stu ,,fur" og ,,mur" fjlskyldu, ea hagsmuni barns skilnaarmlum foreldra sinna.

a gti veri erfitt a skilja, en ef mir er me barni snu eftir skilna og gifti sig njum manni, verur essi nji maur a fur barnsins. Hr g ekki vi lgfrileg atrii, heldur segi g um andlegt atrii ea ,,hugarfar" Japana. Og essu samhengi kemur s hugmynd eins og ofangreindri sgu: ,,a er ekki gott fyrir barn a fyrrverandi maurinn hittir barn sitt oft".

etta er ekki alveg n ggn, en samkvmt rannskn um agang frskilinna foreldra a eigi barni sem Velferarruneyti Japans geri ri 1997, um 40% af foreldrum svruu: ,,hefur aldrei hitt barn eftir skila", og eir sem hitta barn sitt reglulega voru aeins um 30%. g leitai a njustum tlum, en gat ekki fengi au. Mia vi mist efni sem er hgt a skoa netinu, virist staan vera nstum sama og fyrir 15 rum.

g er sjlfur frskilinn og tv brn. au voru enn frekar ung egar g skildi vi mur eirra. En sem betur fer hef g haft mjg g samband vi brnin mn og nna eru au orin nstum fullorin. g get ekki mynda mr a lf mitt eftir skilna n barnanna.

Einnig skil g ekki hugmynd um ,,njan pabba" ea ,,nja mmmu" sem er algengt heimalandi mnu. g vil enn eignast ,,nja konu" fyrir mig (sem virist vera mjg erfitt), en a mr takist a eiga nja konu, verur hn aldrei a mur barnanna minna. Hn er bara ,,eigin konan mn". A sjlfsgu getur a gerst, ef lti barn er a ra, a nr maki tekur nokkurt hlutverk pabba ea mmmu a sr fyrir barni. En a er allt anna en a skipta pabba ea mmmu barns ara manneskju.

etta er eitt af nokkrum tfrum sem g held innilega: ,,Gott a g b slandi, en ekki Japan....."

(Vona a slenskan mn n yfirlesturs s skiljanleg.)

"Trans-gender" prestur

Mig langar a kynna ykkur fyrir smsgu sem kom vart til mn.
g var prestaskla Tokyo 1986-1990 (Japan Lutheran Theological College & Seminary). Hann var minnst hsklinn Japan, svona .. 200 samtals. Meal annarra voru fir nemendur lokastgi prestasklans srstaklega, svona 8 -12 nemendur. Hins vegar vorum vi gir vinir hvert vi ara. laugardaginn sl. kkti g heimasiu sklans til ess a sna dttur minni hvernig sklinn var, og g fann “link” til eins prests sem var bekkjarbrur minn. Og g fr inn heimasiu hans og skoai.arna...

Hann var orinn “Hn”, ha ha !! W00t


g var hissa alveg. g var ekki binn a heyra honum ea henni nstum 18 r, en g sendi honum/henni tlvupst strax.
svarai hann/hn a hn fkk lknisdm um “Gender Identity Disorder” fyrir 8 rum og var kona. g veit ekki hvort a s rtt a kalla a “disorder” ea ekki, ar sem hn litur t fyrir a vera mjg hressandi og hamingjusm.

a sem mr finnst adanlegt hj henni er a hn jnar sem prestur enn. a hltur a vera mjg erfitt umhverfi Japan a vera “trans-gender” prestur. Fordmar gar samkynhneigarflks og “trans-gender” flks Japan eru mikils sterkari en hr slandi. Mig langar innilega a segja henni “FRAM!! Brjttu niur fordma!!"
etta var “surprising” en gladdi mig jafnframt!!


Lf me fjlskyldu - saga einsts fur

g b me brnum mnum essa daga. Mli raist annig a mur barnanna minna, s.s. fyrrverandi konan mn, er nna nmsleyfi og hn fkk tkifri til a stula a nmi Bretlandi. Og hn fr anga byrjun september og verur ar anga til desember.

mean g a passa brnin mn – ea brnin passa mig, he he
Tounge – nttrulega. Brnin mn er orin n egar 16 ra og 13, og fn b mn vesturbnum er of ltil til a taka mti eim svona langt tmabil. v er g binn a flytjast til bar barnanna sem er einnig vesturbnum. (Eitt sameiginlegt barttuml vesturbringa er blastisml, en g mun segja fr barttu minni nstunni Devil )

annig hfust dagar mnir sem “einsts fur”. N egar er einn mnuur liinn en stuttu mli sagt gengur allt vel og mr liur afskaplega vel!! J, a sjlfsgu fylgir mislegt sem aukaverkefni eins og a skutla au egar veur er mjg slmt ea a vo votta hverjum degi (raunar gerir vlin a, ekki g). Samt finnst mr etta gaman.

Meal annars er a elda mat. A elda mat var aal hugaml mitt lengi. g byrjai a elda egar g var studentab prestasklans mns fyrir 20 rum. Og san var g a elda sjlfur hverjum degi ..m. 9 r egar g var giftur. En eftir a g skildi vi konuna mna fyrir 7 rum, var a ekki svo spennandi og ar til. g nenni ekki a elda mat aeins fyrir mig sjlfan lengur.

En essa daga er eldamennskan mn komin upp aftur r geymslu og g nt ess a elda handa krkkunum mnum. Mr finnst gaman a elda hversdagsmat fremur en a ba til “party” mat fyrir gesti. A elda hversdagsmat er ekki aeins a elda mat, eins og i viti. a innifelur sr a hugsa um jafnvgi nringa, a reikna kostna, a nota afgang fr linum degi o.fl. Mr finnst svona bara gaman!!

sastu viku gerist mislegt bi einkalfi ogeinnig vinnu. Feramaur fr Japan lentist slys hr slandi, rstefna um geheilsu, frekar mrg vitl vi flk, pabbi minn veiklaist Tokyo, breyting borgarstjrn, vagsrugigt.... og g var a hlaupa eins og Jack Bauer.
Cool En samt br friur innri mr. g held a etta er vegna ess a g b me fjlskyldunni minni, s.s. g er a halda mig ngju lfsins. J, mr finnst gott a vera me fjlskyldunni.

dag stelpan mn 14 ra afmli sitt. a er lka gaman a elda afmlismat!!

Prejudice and/or paranoia?

“It was the worst experience!” said a young man who came to talk to me the other day. “I have never seen such disrespect. I wouldn’t have been able to stand it if my wife and kids had been with me.” He is from one of the countries that joined the EU a couple years ago. It was the first time that I had met him, and so far he was very polite, friendly, and lively. I asked him what had happened. He said he was in a home electronics shop and was looking at a product he intended to buy. The sales attendant was kind in the beginning, but after this young man mentioned where he was from, the friendly manner evaporated and the sales clerk was no longer willing to answer questions or spend time with the young man. Why? Nobody knows except the sales clerk himself.

One of the privileges of being a pastor is getting to hear peoples’ stories, and it is also my privilege as pastor for the foreign community to be able to talk about prejudice in Iceland. Of course, many different groups of people can be targets of prejudice, but here I am going to talk only about prejudice towards immigrants and foreigners. This Wednesday 10th of October is the International day for the mental health, and it is especially titled “Influence of culture and diversity” here in Iceland this year. So it would be a good occasion to reflect on a little bit about “prejudise and / or paranoia”.

Prejudices manifest themselves in different ways. The kind of prejudice that the young man from the new EU member state experienced is called “hidden” prejudice. Hidden prejudice is expressed in a non-verbal, somewhat indirect way. Examples might be ignoring or failing to greet someone, giving substandard service, or treating someone like a small child. Hidden prejudice is very common in Iceland (probably every single immigrant has experienced it at some time), as well as probably in every other society on the earth. Nevertheless, it is rather hard to point it out or to discuss it in a public forum, unlike the vivid, aggressive, and blatant prejudice expressed in racially discriminative statements or speeches. Why is this?

First of all, hidden prejudice shows up in people’s behavior during routine, everyday encounters. When it happens, we do not usually have our video camera running. So we cannot rewind the scene and examine it later on.

Secondly, it is not so easy, even for us immigrants ourselves, to recognize hidden prejudice as prejudice right away when it happens. This was not prejudice, we think, just some misunderstanding or accident. Let me give an example that really happened to me. I bought a TV set for my children. It was a small one, but still cost some money. After I paid, with my Visa card, the sales clerk literally threw the card back to me, not even saying “gjru svo vel.” Afterwards, I asked myself how I should understand this gesture. It seemed to me there were at least four possible answers:
1. The sales clerk does this to every customer. He is just rude. 2. He happened to be in a bad mood. 3. He knew me personally and he didnt like me. 4. He is prejudiced towards immigrants, at least Asians. Probably the only way to know for sure would be to ask him on the spot. But this is difficult in practice. It is already almost a declaration of war to ask someone such a question: “Excuse me, but did you do that because you are prejudiced against me?” Most of us avoid this kind of conflict as much as we can.

And even if I had asked the sales clerk this question, there is no guarantee that he would have answered honestly. He might say: “What are you talking about?” Others around us often join in a kind of denial that acts of prejudice actually happen. I know that in many cases, when an immigrant complains about experiencing discrimination, people around him say: “I think you must have misunderstood something,” “Oh, no, that couldn’t have happened!” or “ You are too sensitive, don’t be paranoid!”.

So where is the way out? Is there any way to engage the problem of “hidden” prejudice? Or do we have to be just quiet and endure it?
Of course I think we can do something, and we need to do something. Here “we” means both native Icelanders and immigrants. In my view, our main goal should be to develop our sense of what kind of words and attitudes can hurt other peoples’ feelings. This is a much larger project than I have time to describe in this article, so now I would like to return to the experience of those people who are experiencing prejudice. Here are some suggestions for how to react:

1. Let us encourage those who experience prejudice to speak up. As with sexual crimes, silence serves mostly just those who cause hurt. Silence helps neither the victims nor the community.
2. Let us not hesitate to speak about apparent incidents of prejudice just because we cannot prove what was in the other person’s mind. It is important to express feelings of hurt or disrespect even while we allow for the possibility of having misunderstood the situation.
3. Let us not repress or block out our experiences of prejudice in daily life, nor deny automatically that such attitudes exist, nor call those who experience prejudice oversensitive, unless we have truly good reason to doubt what they say.
4. Let us acknowledge that each of us bears prejudices, and that those who carry prejudices may be wealthy, or not; well educated, or not; highly respected, or not.
5. Let us remember that those who are in weaker positions in society find it more difficult to speak up about prejudice than those who are in more powerful positions.
6. If you want to talk about your experience of prejudice but cannot find anybody to listen, please contact me. I am honored to listen to you. I may not be able to act in your case, but I can and do act on the understanding I gain from listening to many people like yourselves.

Dear readers, especially Icelandic readers, I understand it must be tedious to hear somebody talk about prejudice in this country. But those of us who are forced to speak about prejudice also find it difficult and burdensome. I wish that we can just say “Allt lagi,” smile, and see things improve on their own. But it doesnt work like that.

I believe that most of us immigrants want to join with native Icelanders to improve our society and our understanding of each other. To do this, we need to talk about our difficulties as well as our successes.

(The original text of his piece was on the Reykjavk Grapevine in March of this year)

Fjlbreytileiki og geheilsa innflytjenda

Fjlbreytileiki lfi okkar er alltaf a aukast. n tillits til ess hvort maur viurkenni slensku jina sem fjlmenningarlegt samflag ea ekki, sjum vi fjlmenningarleg fyrirbri nlgt okkur daglegu lfi.
Fjlbreytileiki augar samflagi okkar. Flest okkar njta ess frelsis a geta vali um hva vi hfum matinn hvern dag: slenskan, knverskan, tlenskan, mexkskan og svo framvegis. Okkur finnst gaman a lesa sgur fr heimsbygginni og r bta ekkingu okkar og hjlpa okkur a skilja betur heiminn. En fjlbreytileikanum fylgja lka erfileikar. Fjlmenning felst v a mismunandi gildismat og hugarfar manna mtast. mean einum ykir kvikmynd g, ykir rum hn leiinleg. a er einkenni fjlmenningar a flk m ,,bregast vi mismunandi htt” vi sama atburinum ea hlutanum.

Hr landi er gelg landsekkt fyrirbri. er g ekki a tala um bkstaflegt unglyndi, heldur tmabundna vanlan sem einkennist af yngslum og vonleysi. Utanakomandi astur, eins og t.d. atvinnuleysi, stvinamissir ea hjnaskilnaur, getur haft fr me sr gelg. Slkar astur eru viukenndar rsakir sem vinga menn til a la illa. hinn bginn er einnig hgt a finna atrii sem ekki eru srstaklega tengd gesveiflum en geta haft vandri fr me sr fyrir innflytjendur. Hr er um a ra menningarlegan mismun sem getur reynst vandmefarinn fjlmenningarlegu samflagi.

Skortur innflytjenda kunnttu nju tungumli og vanekking samflagsgerinni hafa elilega kveinn menningarlegan mismun fr me sr. En nnur atrii eru einnig ingarmikil essu samhengi.
mrgum menningarheimum til dmis, eins og Asu ea Afrku, ber flk viringu fyrir eldra flki. g lst upp slkum menningarheimi sjlfur. Japan er a viteki a eldra flki er snd kurteisi og viring (athugi a g er ekki a leggja mat hvort a s jkvtt ea neikvtt). slandi skiptir a ekki miklu mli hvort einhver maur s eldri ea yngri en einhver annar. Flk getur tala saman jafnrttisgrundvelli n tillits til aldurs. g get sagt a af eigin reynslu a a tk mig talsveran tma a alagast essu og finna mlamilun. N egar g hef alagast er etta ekki endilega neikvtt. En fyrstu rin lei mr illa og var pirraur egar yngri flk talai vi mig eins og a vri jafningi minn.

g vil vekja athygli v a ef menningarlegur mismunur er tluverur getur a valdi alvarlegri vanlan. Ef manneskja af erlendu bergi brotin skilur ekki hva er a gerast kringum sig vegna tungumlavankunnttu getur hann tlka afskiptaleysi sem af v hlst sem ,,skort viringu” og tekur v sem persnulegri niurlgingu. mtar maurinn slma mynd af umhverfi snu, mynd sem er ekki alls kostar rtt.
Og hvort sem vi kllum etta fyrirbri misskilning ea mistlkun, er lf innflytjanda oftast ofi me slkum smbilum milli raunveruleikans og ess hvernig vikomandi tlkar raunveruleikann - srstaklega mean innflytjandinn er ekki binn a alagast samflaginu ngilega.

ess vegna snist mr nausynlegt a leysa ennan vef misskilnings og mistlkunar, fr einum ri til annars, til ess a geta nlgast geheilbrigisgslu innflytjanda. A sjlfsgu mli a vera unni af bi innflytjandanum sjlfum og af v flki sem vill veita honum asto.

Ef vi frum enn lengra og skoum menningarleg vihorf innflytjanda gagnvart gesjkdmum flkjast mlin enn frekar. stan er s a fordmar gagnvart gesjkdmum eru enn rkjandi mrgum menningarsvum og flk fr slkum svum ks hugsanlega frekar a lta fram hj gesjkdmum, en a horfast augu vi .

Ef mr hefur tekist a koma essu atrii til skila til ykkar lesendur gir essari stuttu grein, er g sttur. Vi urfum a horfast augu vi a um lei og fjlbreytileikinn eykst samflaginu, stndum vi frammi fyrir fjlbreyttari orskum vanlunar. Fjlmenning augar samflagi en vi urfum a leggja okkur fram til a vel til takist – til a llum li vel. Vi verum ll sem eitt a vinna a uppbyggingu fjlmenningarlegs samflags. eim mun meira sem vi leggjum okkur, eim mun betur lur okkur.

(Birtist tmariti "Okkar ml" hauststgfu 2007)

Brf fr Gui - barnasaga -

Sagan fjallar um vinina Akira, Yuki og Ichiro en au voru fimm ra og saman leikskla.* Dag einn fengu au brf fr Gui. brfinu voru eftirfarandi skilabo: ,,Mamma n er besta mamman heiminum!”. Akira, Yuki og Ichiro voru mjg gl yfir a hafa fengi essi skilabo fr Gui. au sgu htt: ,,Mamma mn er besta mamman heiminum! Besta mamman er mamma mn!”. Skilaboin fr Gui veitti eim mikla hamingju.

*g ks a nota japnsk nfn svo a enginn taki essa sgu persnulega. Akira og Ichiro eru drengir og Yuki er stlka.

egar Akira, Yuki og Ichiro uru tu ra gmul uppgtvuu au a Gu hafi sent sama brfi til fleiri barna. Akira og Yuki hugsau: ,,Mamma mn virist ekki vera EINA besta mamman heiminum. Mmmur annarra barna eru lka gar!”. En Ichiro var ekki sttur vi hugmynd og sagi: ,,Nei, a st a mamma mn er s besta! a ir a mamma mn, ekki hans ea hennar, er besta mamman!”. Brnin elskuu mmmu sna mest.

egar au uru 15 ra var Akira dlti vonsvikinn me mmmu sna. Hann bar saman mmmu sna og arar mur kringum sig og hugsai: ,,Mamma er alls ekki s besta ... hn gefur mr ekki tlvuleik eins og mamma hans Ichiro ... mamma mn er ekki eins falleg og mamma Kenji ... mamma mn er alls ekki frg samflaginu ...”

Akira sagi Yuki fr essu. Yuki svarai honum: ,,, vertu ekki a bulla Akira!! Manstu ekki a Gu sendi r brf og sagi a mamma n er s besta heiminum! Gu ekki vi a hvaa mir s rkust ea gefur drustu hlutina.” sagi Akira: ,,Hvor er betri – mamma mn ea mamma n?”. ,,etta er ekki samkeppni,” svarai Yuki. ,,Mamma n er s besta fyrir ig og mn fyrir mig!”
En Ichiro var ekki sttur vi samtali. ,,Nei, mamma mn er betri en mamma Akira ea Yuki. Gu sagi mr a. a stendur brfinu.”

Tuttugu r liu. Akira, Yuki og Ichiro voru orin fullorin. Akira var nbinn a eignast sitt fyrsta barn. Foreldrahlutverki fkk hann til a hugsa um brfi sem hann fkk fr Gui um bestu mmmuna heiminum. N fannst honum a engin nnur nema eiginkona hans gti veri besta mamman heiminum. Smuleiis a hann vri besti pabbi heiminum tt hann vri ekki rkastur ea sterkasti pabbinn bnum. Akira skammaist sn a hafa efast um or Gus, a mamma hans hafi veri besta mamma heiminunm. Gu hafi haft rtt fyrir sr.

Yuki var barnlaus. Satt a segja hafi a komi ljs a hn myndi ekki geta eignast brn. Einnig hafi mir hennar nlega ltist. hvert skipti egar Yuki s barni hans Akira tti henni leitt a hn myndi aldrei eignast barn sem fengi brf fr Gui. Yuki hugsai miki um hvort brfi sem hn fkk fr Gui egar hn var fimm ra hefi einhverja merkingu fyrir sig, en hn var n sama aldri og mir hennar var egar hn var fimm ra.

Yuki elskai mmmu sna mest af llum og hn vissi a hn var s besta fyrir sig. En mamma hennar var din og Yuki tti engin brn. Orin ,,mamma n er s besta” virtust n vera orin tm. En Yuki tri v a orin hefu enn merkingu fyrir sig ar sem hn skynjai a Gu og krleikur hans var meiri en hefi komi fram brfinu. Yuki geymdi sannfringu brjsti snu.

Ichiro tri enn or Gus um a mamma sn vri besta mamman heiminum. Hann var binn a eignast sitt eigi barn eins og Akira. En ar sem hann tri orum Gus bkstaflega sagi hann barninu fr orum og brfi Gus, a amma eirra vri besta amma heimi en ekkert um mur ess.

annig lifa Akira, Yuki og Ichiro lfi snu enn dag.


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