Swedish National Radio: Syriacs know Arabic, no need to provide public health information in their mother language Syriac

Stockholm – In a previous article SyriacPress reported how Sweden’s national radio broadcaster Sveriges Radio disseminated public health information on the coronavirus and the preventive measures the Swedish government imposed, in many different languages of the immigrant communities living in Sweden but not in the Syriac language (Suroyo / Suraya).

Our news desk talked to Syriac politician for the Swedish political party KristenDemokraterna Aday Beth Kinne. Beth Kinne asked written questions to Sveriges Radio on the incident. As outraged as Beth Kinne was over the national radio’s negligence, the answer he got was even more disappointing.

In its answer to Beth Kinne, national Swedish radio Sveriges Radios said that considering its limited resources Sveriges Radio chose to broadcast the information on the coronavirus measures in the languages spoken by the largest immigrant communities in Sweden: Arabic, Kurmanci, Sorani, Persian, Somali and other languages. Sveriges Radio said that because many people who come from the Middle East also know Arabic along their mother language (i.e. Syriac) it decided to provide the information to them in Arabic.

Aday Beth Kinne pointing to a billboard where the city of Södertälje, with a large Syriac population, put up “Welcome” in the original languages of its citizens except in Syriac.

Beth Kinne expressed his disappointment over the answers by Sveriges Radio and said that he has send them new questions;

“In the first place, I have no doubt that our Syriac community is one of the larger immigrant communities in Sweden. Second, if it is really a question of speaking the Arabic language then why broadcast the public health information in the two Kurdish languages Kurmanci and Sorani. The Kurds speak Arabic!”

“I respect all languages, but if it concerns an issue of national public health you simply cannot act like this on such an important issue. And I don’t belief the issue is related to limited resources or that the costs are high. I told Sveriges Radio that, because it is related to public health, I am prepared to translate the information to Syriac for free. Sveriges Radio is a national radio broadcaster and is funded by public tax money. Tax money paid by Syriacs and all other Swedes. Sveriges Radio needs to treat all its citizens equally.”