Well, that didn’t take very long. The blowback must have been so strong against climate alarmist guru Greta Thunberg’s remarks in Turin, Italy that she has apologized. As far as I know, this is the first time the petulant Swedish teenager has publicly apologized for remarks made in a speech.
Young Greta spoke during a climate change protest Friday on the heels of her triumphant appearance at COP25 – the U.N. climate change conference. During her speech in Madrid, she uttered a sentence that sure sounded like a potentially violent threat. If world leaders don’t bow to the Fridays for Future movement, “We will make sure we put them against the wall and that they will have to do their job.” That’s quite a loaded statement, historically speaking. It certainly implies putting someone to death by firing squad to most of us. It’s a graphic reference to violence.
Her apology issued Saturday included a caveat – the confusion came about because she was improvising her speech. She blamed “Swenglish” for the poor translation of that “against the wall” comment. She’s Swedish and English is not her first language but she usually delivers her speeches in English. She’s given lots of speeches during the course of her Fridays for Future protests – the protest in Turin on Friday was the 69th of the protests – so you’ll have to pardon me if I’m cynical. At the age of 16 (she’ll turn 17 in January) she is a professional protester who is aware of the importance of words. She’s been groomed for this job since her early childhood by her activist parents and other adults in her life. Neither her youth nor Asperger’s syndrome shields her from her responsibilities as an international speaker.
Thunberg later explained she was making a literal translation from Swedish. She said the phrase in her native language means to hold people accountable, and clarified that her worldwide school strike movement ought to remain a peaceful protest on climate change.
“Yesterday I said we must hold our leaders accountable and unfortunately said ‘put them against the wall’. That’s Swenglish: “att ställa någon mot väggen” (to put someone against the wall) means to hold someone accountable,” she tweeted.
“That’s what happens when you improvise speeches in a second language. But of course I apologise if anyone misunderstood this,” she continued. “I can not enough express the fact that I – as well as the entire school strike movement- are against any possible form of violence. It goes without saying but I say it anyway.”
… improvise speeches in a second language.
But of course I apologise if anyone misunderstood this. I can not enough express the fact that I – as well as the entire school strike movement- are against any possible form of violence. It goes without saying but I say it anyway.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 14, 2019
One reply to that tweet caught my eye- that of another Swede. She’s the “VP, Video Content – Discovery Golf (GOLFTV & Golf Digest)”, according to her Blue Check Twitter bio. She randomly slams Trump though Thunberg didn’t namecheck him in her ugly rhetoric. Trump Derangement Syndrome is an international disease. She wasn’t the only one jumping to that conclusion, either. The Greta cult is strong.
No need, Greta. You're far more eloquent in English than the leader of the free world, and it's his first language.
— Stina Sternberg (@StinaSternberg) December 14, 2019
Another Blue Check tweeter delivered a tweet in support of Greta, all the way from Vietnam, where she was visiting. Michelle Obama is a member of the cult. Grrl power.
.@GretaThunberg, don’t let anyone dim your light. Like the girls I’ve met in Vietnam and all over the world, you have so much to offer us all. Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) December 13, 2019
Thunberg’s audience is predominantly a young audience – school kids looking to get out of going to class on Fridays. Those who address the crowds at her rallies have a responsibility to keep that in mind. Even Greta herself isn’t above being held accountable for the rhetoric that the crowds hear. Care has to be taken that impressionable youth are not being given messages that violence is a solution, no matter if that message is deliberate or inadvertent.
I’ll end with this clip from SNL last night. It’s the cold open of the show and it is of three families eating Christmas dinner, one from San Francisco, one from Atlanta, and one from Charleston, S.C. All of them have a conversation about Trump’s impeachment. At the end of the skit, Kate McKinnon makes a cameo appearance as Greta Thunberg. “Greta” tells Trump to “Grow up!” and the in-studio audience loves it.