Monday, July 24, 2006

2688 On being illiterate

In Finland, I am illiterate. Finnish and Estonian are related languages--the Finns and Estonians may have been one people centuries ago, but their languages are not like any romance or germanic language. I think Finnish has 12 or 13 declensions for its nouns. Swedish is the second national language, and because it is germanic, you'll have a better chance trying to pronounce the street names and directions and store types in Swedish to figure them out than to try Finnish. In Copenhagen I looked through a Danish newspaper and could at least figure out pieces of it. Nothing in Finnish made much sense.

On Wednesday I went shopping with Riitta for groceries and tried to find an English language publication. Truly, after three days of being unable to read, I was desperate. At the news stand my choice was between the international edition of Time Magazine and Vogue. It was a tough choice, believe me. But I paid 4 euros (about $5.00) for 52 pages of Time, 19 of which were photos of the World Cup. Photos I can figure out in Finnish. Five pages were devoted to bashing the "Bush Doctrine." No mention or credit for liberating the Iraqi people from a cruel dictator; no credit for identifying North Korea within months of taking office as part of the Axis of Evil; no mention that his neo-con advisors are former Democrats; or the 500 WMD that have been found; that the Iraqi people have voted in free elections. Although Bush has always acknowledged we were in for a long battle against Islamic terrorists, when he reiterates this, the MSM seems to think it is a victory for their side.

So what does Time recommend? Some Truman era reruns. They don't mention how extremely unpopular Truman was his second term--I think he was lower in the polls than Bush. Another article by Jos. S. Nye, Jr. pined nostalgically for the days of FDR and containment. Tell that one to the Estonians and the millions of other east Europeans who died in the Gulags waiting for the Americans to come and free them. Sixty years ago we sold out 40 million East Europeans to the USSR; let's not repeat that mistake by selling out the Iraqis.

Even so, it was good to be able to read again.

1 comment:

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Finnish isn't even easy to read when you can speak some of it(actually, since it is phonetic, anyone can read it aloud and be understood by Finns, even if "anyone" doesn't have a clue what he/she just read). My trip to Finland was not as peaceful as yours, but it is over, and I am home.