Greta Thunberg apologized on Saturday for how a Swedish idiom she used translated into a seemingly threatening remark about world leaders.
“Yesterday I said we must hold our leaders accountable and unfortunately said ‘put them against the wall,'” the 16-year-old climate activist tweeted on Saturday, CBS News reports. “That’s Swenglish: ‘att ställa någon mot väggen’ (to put someone against the wall) means to hold someone accountable.”
Speaking at her last event before resting for the holiday season and the New Year, Time Magzine’s “Person of the Year” told a crowd in Turin, Italy on Friday: “World leaders are still trying to run away from their responsibilities but we have to make sure they cannot do that. We will make sure that we put them against the wall and they will have to do their job to protect our futures.”
The comment was widely perceived as threatening in nature as CBS News reports “the expression in English is often a euphemism for executions.”
“It refers to putting someone in front of wall before they are killed by a firing squad,” the report continued.
“That’s what happens when you improvise speeches in a second language,” Thunberg continued in her apology. “But of course I apologize 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.”
Daily Mail reports the Swede also said: “It is not fair that the older generation is handing over the responsibility to solve this crisis to us young people who have not started this crisis. It’s not fair that we have to do all this.”
“The adults are behaving as if there is no tomorrow but there is a tomorrow, it is the tomorrow where our young people will live and we have to fight for that tomorrow,” she continued. “We can no longer take that tomorrow for granted.”
The eco-activist claimed the decision these world leaders and other activists make “will define our future,” the Daily Mail adds.
… 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