START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
Nov 2, 2006
Please - it would mean very lot to me if you would like to sign this petition to the Swedish prime minister, and pay it forward to everyone you know.

It is about the right of the Scanian minority people in Sweden to its own language, culture and history. It is also a tribute to my grandfather John, who passed away one and a half year, ago, and who always was very steadfast in his wish to pass the Scanian culture forward to his children and grandchildren. I do this for him, and for all other Scanians who would wish for nothing more than freedom. 

Here are some photos from Scania: 

Europe is full of old non-independent nations and minority peoples, who since they do not have an independent state of their own, are depending on the good will of a majority with another culture, language and history, Some of the perhaps more well known non-independent nations of Europe is for example Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country in Spain, Britanny and Corsica in France, and Scotland and Wales in Great Britain. But there are so many other non-independent nations except from these. Scania, a small land on the most southern tip of the Scandinavian Peninsula, is one of them. On February 26 2008, this land has been a part of Sweden for three hundred and fifty years. But Scania is not Sweden, no more than Catalonia is Spain or Montenegro and Kosovo is Serbia. Scania is recognised as a non-independent nation by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (the UNPO), but not yet by the Swedish state. This petition is for the rights of the Scanian minority people in Sweden, to make the new Swedish government aware of the minority rights as expressed by the United Nations in the declaration on human rights, and perhaps even fulfil some of them as a gift to Scania for the 350 years anniversary of Swedish rule.     

Scania (Skaneland) consists of the three provinces of Skane, Blekinge and southern Halland, and has a total population of about 1.5 million people - one sixth of the entire population of the Swedish Kingdom, on an area of about 16,000 km2 - Sweden’s total area is about 450,000 km2. Scania is the most densely populated part of Sweden, next after the Stockholm capital region. Several thousands of Scanians are also living all across Sweden.  

There are so many differences between Scania and Sweden proper - the language, the nature (Scania is a land of agricultural flatlands and deciduous forests, while Sweden is mostly a country of coniferous forest), the historical architecture which is more like that of central Europe, and the many special manners and traditions. Scania has in its long historical past always been a part of the European continent rather than of Scandinavia. From Scania to Germany, there are only 75 English miles (100 kilometres), and to the German capital of Berlin less than 300 miles. From Scania's unofficial capital Malmoe (with 250,000 inhabitants) to Denmark's capital Copenhagen, there are only 20 miles - a journey of only twenty minutes over the bridge between the two cities, while Stockholm, which is supposed to be the capital of the Scanian people, is more than 400 hundred miles farther north.     

Since Scania is so close to the European subcontinent, while most of Sweden is so far away from the same, the deeply rooted Scanian wanting of being part of Europe, is constantly drawn back. In the year 2003, Sweden voted on whether to install the European common currency. The Scanian people voted for a change of currency and for closer integration with Europe, but virtually all other parts of the in general very EU sceptical Sweden voted no. And so, Scania's isolation continues. 

Sweden is very centrally governed state. All governmental institutions and major cultural institutions are situated in Stockholm, from where everything in directly governed and supervised and the different provinces have got no self governing at all. And so, Scania's own cultural inheritance, as well as its politics and economy, is diminishing. Most of Scania's cultural treasures are placed in museums of castles in Stockholm, to which a lot of them were brought as treasures of war. And the Scanian language has, despite its obvious dissimilarity with Swedish, and despite of the fact that Swedes often complain that they do not understand when Scanians speak, despite the fact that Scanians most often has got to adapt to Swedish when speaking to Swedes, and despite the fact that the Scanian language has its roots in Danish rather than in Swedish, never been recognised as anything other than a Swedish dialect. And so, the language is disappearing, and becoming more and more 'Swedificated', just as the rest of the old Scanian culture. Today, the Scanian vocabulary is very much the same as the Swedish, especially in the urban areas, and the old Scanian vocabulary is mostly found in the countryside. But the very unique Scanian diphtongs, its long vowels and its French-style tongue-root 'r'-s still makes even the most 'Swedificated' vocabulary pronounced in Scanian very different from Swedish.

It is nothing short of a wonder that despite of the firm central rule from Stockholm, where every attempt from Scania to grow strong on its own is hindered, the Scanian population is actually one of the fastest growing fastest growing in Sweden, much thanks to a very large immigration. In Malmoe, about one third of the population is actually born outside of the European Union, which makes it the most amazing multicultural and multiethnic city in Scandinavia, and gives a fantastic diversity. But sadly, the city has been widely neglected by the Stockholm government, and so the crime rate has raised dramatically, the integration is failing, and the unemployment in the poor areas is immense, without Malmoe or Scania being able to much about it, by itself, neither financially nor politically, as their hands are so firmly tied from Stockholm, where most of the country's money is spent. 

The tale of Scania is a very sad story. Already in the 400th century it was mentioned in Europe as a nation - hundreds of years before Sweden even existed. Somewhere around year thousand it joined the kingdom of Denmark, and soon it became a central and crucial part of Denmark, the most wealthy part of the country, and the seat of the Danish bishop was for hundreds of year in the Scanian city of Lund, whose cathedral, built in the 1100s still reminds the Scanians of better times past. And another evidence of Scania's glorious past is al of the beautiful castles that still is present wherever you go in Scania. But then came the event that would change Scania from being a central part of Denmark to being a neglected land in the outskirts of Sweden. In the extremely cold winter of 1658, the Swedish army by a strike of luck managed to march over the ice to the Danish main island of Sealand, and the Danes had to surrender immediately. And to avoid complete destruction, Denmark was forced to give all of its land on the Scandinavian Peninsula - a third of the country's entire area - over to Sweden. But the Scanian people refused to accept the Swedish rule, and so the Scanian War, the most bloody war ever to have taken place in Scandinavia, began in 1675 and lasted all until 1679. Sweden at last were victorious, and was allowed to keep their rule over Scania, in one condition, which was strictly formulated at the peace treaty of Lund in 1679 - that the Scanian people would be completely independent in all internal affairs, and that would be allowed to keep on to their own culture, language and traditions. But this condition was fast and illegally broken, already in 1720. Scania came under direct Swedish and from then, a devastating, cruel process of Swedification began. All texts in Danish were banned, as well as the Scanian and Danish languages. And in fact, Danish literature was banned in Scania all up until the early 20th century. All power was transferred from Scania to Stockholm. Statues of Swedish kings and conquerors were raised in the centre of Scania's major towns, and are standing there still today. The castles and manors were taken over by Swedes, or came under strict Swedish supervision. But this was not the worst – far from it – for the Swedish cruelty towards the Scanian people during the Swedification process exceeded all reason – mass murders, massacres and even genocides took place, abuse and torture was ever present, villages were burned to the ground, and towns, castles and churches were plundered of their cultural treasures. Approximately half of the native Scanian population died during the Swedification process, which strictly speaking in some ways is going on even today, if yet in a much more subtle way. And at some point during the mid 19th century the Swedish king even suggested deportation of the entire Scanian people, to get rid of these 'troublemakers' once and for all. The last act of war from Sweden towards Scania took place on June 15 in 1818 at the village of Klagerup outside of Malmoe, where farmers refusing to go to war against their sibling land of Denmark were brutally massacred by Swedish soldiers by the direct order of the same king the had earlier suggested the deportation. (And it is the ancestors of this king who stills sits upon the Swedish throne today.) And the Swedification process did at last prove to be successful. Today, the issue of Scania and the minority rights of the Scanian people, is very silent - well, actually non-existing, in Sweden, even from the Scanian people itself, which largely now has come to terms with their destiny as being a part of Sweden.

But now, as we are nearing Scania's 350th anniversary under Swedish rule on Februrary 26 2008, it would be about to once again raise the question of the rights of the Scanian people, in the hope that they one day in pride will be able to see their own red flag with its golden cross waving in the air at Malmoe's main square. And so for the anniversary, my humble wishes for the Swedish government to ponder upon regarding the rights of the Scanian people would be to:

  • Recognise Skaneland (Scania) as the official collective name of the provinces of Skaane, Blekinge and southern Halland, and re-unite Scania as one single region.      
  • Give Scania full independence and autonomy in all internal affairs, and its own representation in the Nordic Council, after the examples of other minority regions in Scandinavia such as Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Aaland, with is own parliament and government, and by thus fulfil the 1679 peace treaty.
  • Give the Scanian people the right to, whenever they would wish so, through majority voting form a fully independent state of their own.    
  • Recognise the Scanian tongue as an official language of Scania, and as an official minority language in Sweden, and let an official Scanian written language and Scanian language academy be developed.  
  • Give the Scanian red and gold cross-flag official status.  
  • Give the Scanian school children their right to know about their pre-Swedish history, the times of the Scanian Wars, and the Swedish oppression rule after the wars all up until the early 20th century, and give them the right to learn the Scanian and Danish languages at school.  
  • Take away the Swedish victory monuments and royal statues that are placed in the Scanian towns, and cancel the currencies portraying Swedish kings guilty of oppression and war against Scania.    
  • Give back to Scania its historical artefacts and cultural treasures that are now placed in Swedish museums, goods and castles.   
  • Issue an official apology from the Swedish state and the Swedish royal court to the Scanian people for the mass murders, abuses, oppression, plundering, destruction, and other wrongdoings committed towards Scania during hundreds of years.    
 Please, sign the petition:

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Posted: Nov 2, 2006 2:35am


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Johan Maltesson
, 1
Kristianstad, Scania, Sweden
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