Greta Thunberg Apologizes For Mistranslated ‘Put Leaders Against The Wall’ Quote
By Thanussha Priyah, 16 Dec 2019
Image via MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com
During the Fridays For Future protest in Turin, Italy, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg made a comment in her native language Swedish that turned out to have a different meaning in English.
The 16-year-old expressed during the protest in Turin that she was worried the UN climate conference wouldn’t make a difference in efforts towards climate change. In her speech, she explained, “World leaders are still trying to run away from their responsibilities, but we have to make sure they cannot do that.”
She added, “We will make sure that we put them against the wall, and they will have to do their job to protect our futures.”
Translated in English, “put them against the wall” could be misconstrued as a threat to put world leaders up for execution by firing squad.
Attempting to clear things up, Thunberg later explained that this usually happens when speeches are improvised for a second language.
The teenager tweeted that she had spoken in “Swenglish,” and the phrase “att ställa någon mot väggen” (read: to put someone against the wall) stood for holding “someone accountable.”
She apologized for using the phrase as it could be easily misunderstood, and emphasized that she and her “entire school strike movement” do not stand for “any possible form of violence.”
Following the clarification, the climate activist also shared a tweet of her traveling on the floor of an overcrowded train, but quickly updated that she got a seat after Göttingen station and never felt it was a problem to be in an “overcrowded” train. She called it “a great sign,” referring to the high demand for train travel.
Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I’m finally on my way home! pic.twitter.com/ssfLCPsR8o— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 14, 2019
Our train from Basel was taken out of traffic. So we sat on the floor on 2 different trains. After Göttingen I got a seat.This is no problem of course and I never said it was. Overcrowded trains is a great sign because it means the demand for train travel is high!— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 15, 2019
[via BBC, images via MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com]
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