Donald Trump has again pointed a finger “see what happened in Sweden”. But what Donald Trump believes has happened in Sweden or to Sweden has not yet occurred. It will never do!
Not that the country lacks problems to deal with, I don’t say that.
But it is peaceful here. We all in Sweden just now wait for sign of spring as the wild spring flowers: the tough and hardy little sunshine Cotswold, the plentiful overflowing Wood Anemones soon enough on every little hill, in nice company with the smiling and flirty Yellow Star… and we are lucky to see the shy little Blue Hepatica. From the same family as Wood Anemones, but not as abundant as its white sisters. Fragile, tenderly beauty to love…
Like the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer describe the flower in a poem he called The Blue Anemones:
To be enchanted – nothing is simpler. It is one of the oldest trick from ground and spring: the Blue Anemones. They are somehow unexpected. De rises out of the brownish rustling last year’s leaves at overlooked spots there the gaze otherwise never stays. They burns and hovers, yes hovers! And it’s because of the color. That eager violet blue color now weighs nothing. Here is ecstasy, but low below the ceiling. ….. (the poem will be continued at the end of this post)
I don’t know if it is a local curiosity, but in Sweden the political parties are not only described in colors but has often chose a certain flower as its symbol. The Sweden Democrats has chosen the Blue Anemone – or the Blue Hepatica to be exact – as a symbol for its party…
The same precious little spring flower our poet Tomas Tranströmer chosen to his poem from 1983. I am of course not amused by this coincidence, bringing the flower pushed back down in the brown leaves from yesterday darkness.
In American press, getting an interest in Sweden politics thanks to Mr. Trump’s earlier slip of tongue, The Swedish Democrats has been described as a Swedish conservative party. That is so very wrong.
The conservative parties in Sweden are four in a block cooperation: “The moderates” and “The Christian Parties”, true conservatives parties and they are in company with two other bourgeoisie parties, namely The Liberals and The Centre Party (a rural party).
The Swedish Democrats is in reality an anti-democratic, nationalistic party with roots in Nazi and racist groups. They are to compare with Front National led by Marine Le Pen in France – and like Front National there are very shadowed in connection to Putin’s Russia.
In practice “persona non grata” party in Swedish politics area, hated like the plague by the other traditional parties.
The Moderate Party leader Anna Kinberg Batra shaking hand with Jimmie Åkesson, leader for The Swedish Democrats after a hearing in the parliament. This handshaking became a news paper scandal – as the members of Swedish Democrats Party are ”personae non gratae”, meaning they are ostracized in parliament by members from the other parties.
As a true racist party, the policy focus in every context on to discredit Muslims and foreigners. The party has only one explanation to every alleged social problem they describe – always caused with what they call “Muslims” and people born in other countries than Sweden. Every political issue will be solved the same: forbid Muslims to live in Sweden, forbid immigration. They go so far in their polemic as accusing all Muslim men to be criminals and rapists.
They are associated with anti-democrats groups in the EU.
They all avoid to criticize Russia.
And the Russian activities as well as anti-democratic parties’ agenda is to undermine the democracies in Europe. And so as well in US! Putin’s agenda is well-known and bothersome for us in Sweden and people in Europe: he works powerful with to undermine the European democracies with organized troll news and money supports to antidemocratic movements.
The Swedish Democrats was formed 1988 and has very quick become slimmed and clean its out brown look and the leader seems extremely trained for the job. In spite the racist allegations it has succeeded so well it has become the third biggest party in Sweden and established itself in the parliament. The last an equal chock for common Swedes as for the common Americans, Trump actually won the Presidential election.
They run today the rhetoric in the public discourse. All this annoying talk about ”refugees”, ”immigration” and ”criminality” everywhere, even from overseas…
In spite all this yelling about “Muslims” at the public arena, the current problems in Sweden is not “Muslims” or “immigration policy”. It’s in the big picture how to keep the welfare system for everyone, now when the large 40s generation has reached retirement age. We actually need people to replace them on the labor market.
What Sweden suffers coming on the headlines – making a loudmouthed and ignorant man as Trump to point his finger – is a wave of gang criminality there very young people (children actually) in early teens are provided with guns by older people belonging to a hidden, larger and organized criminality connected to drug dealing – and those youngster has introduced a “justice of the street”. And this exploitation of children is as ruthless and brutal as trafficking.
Almost every day or week News reports of another teenager has been killed on a public place.
These crimes are of course hard for the police to investigate as no one of this gang members talks to the police. Not common people around this shootings want to tell any either – as who wants to be shoot in the head…
What scares is this murders take place on public places, like a parking place, nearby a grocery shop or a school there innocent people comes are at risk to be harmed.
We do have “ghetto alike” rental areas in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg. So even in minor cities as the city closest mine about 100 kilometers away. There are certainly criminality in my city too. But tell me a city on earth which hasn’t!
Even if I live in residential area with many people with low income and many from refugees from Africa too, I live a very peaceful daily life fear nothing from any.
Sweden is a good country to live in for rich as well as for poor – we all pay the same fee at the health center (about 17 to 23 dollars). We don’t have to die of curable diseases because we can’t afford to see a doctor or get hospital care. (And Mr. Trump, for us it’s normal and everyone’s natural right – and not “a complicated thing”!)
All the schools holds good standards too, even in suburbs areas, at least comparing to how it is in – even – US. (Not to talk about other parts of world.) And our ”ghetto alike” areas holds middle class standards for the apartments comparing to other places in world. And no one must have to have 2 jobs to pay for rent and food, like is common in US.
The big issue for Sweden as a country is not having too liberal rules for refugees to come here or for having immigrant groups assumed to cause problems by ignorants.
The immigrant rules we have current are from 2016 and they are settle to stay ahead coming years – and they are more restricted than Trump’s prospected wall ever will be. (As he will never make it come true, even if he on the road will cause many defenseless individuals unnecessary suffering.)
Violence provided by “Muslims” is actually not a problem, but we have scary race motivated hate crimes, causing danger for innocent peoples’ life. During last year xenophobic citizens causes danger for people by set fire to refugee lodgings. Under the year 2016 there were 92 fires on refugee lodgings, 53 of them caused by “unknown perpetrator”, in only 2 cases an external offender has been identified. The victims of the fires were already traumatized and frighten people, including many small children. So far has no one been killed – yet. But this happens in the tracks of the anti-democratic movement.
Instead of talking about which groups mostly provides crimes, it could be a good idea to look at which groups are most affected by crimes and violence. As being native Swede I feel very safe! Really!
We have actually a too restricted immigrant policy for the time! But it is caused of practical reasons and not ideological ones – we were in fact run off mattresses for people to sleep on over nights and refugees were forced to sleep on the streets – in the middle of the winter! And the servants at The Migration Authority migrations were – and still are – understaffed and worked 24/7 and were all worn out. Furthermore the townships could not provide enough housing for new citizens. The government was forced to make a powerful intervention to put a stop to it. Even if they hated to do it. And they did – hated to do it!
But what are Swedes in common interested in? Well, we Swedes are mostly focused on the public service programs with glittering song contest to the final Eurovision Song Contest. So when Donald Trump asked what happened in Sweden “last Friday”, the most Swedes actually sat in front of their TVs watching this crap. Yes, really!
So IF anything had happened “last Friday”, we would not have noticed it! We’re just interested in what’s on TV screen, surf on internet and read about miracle diets for claimed healthy outcome – and going outdoors we are only looking for spring signs.
(Talking about “1984” or “The brave new world”!)
As the increasing light returns to this distant, dark little country… Seriously, Sweden is a sparsely populated isolated area very far north with plenty of room for new residents. But we lack housing.
And as I said, the big “M” is not for “Muslims” or “Moderate Party” but “Mello Festival” (nickname for Melody Festival), those races every Friday weekend with gala and parties in different cities in Sweden – for the big Eurovision Song Contest. Yes…. this is the most important thing for a common Swede today, no matter age. (I heard this races ended last Friday, so I wonder what my neighbors will do this coming Friday tonight…?) 😀 😀
The good thing with Mr. Trump’s talk and random attack on Sweden it made me (and others, I guess) start to read American web papers – and Swedish news media started to publish articles in English for people abroad.
This interests is declining for me. I began to lose the interest when I read a long investigating article there a journalist in end claimed the refugee restrictions from the Swedish government was caused by a murder of a young assistant on a refugee camp. Such stupidity.
And then I read – for example – an American article about liberal values, Sweden – and (of course!) refugees, written by James Traub (New York Times, March 7)…
The author of the article said Sweden should be aware certain people (Muslims) will have problems to accept the rules in a democratic and highly secular country as Sweden, with its freedom for women and homosexuals. And he pointed out those migrants Sweden received earlier in time never had this problems to assimilate. He mentioned Chileans, Curds and Bosnians.
Yes but? This is very wrong! The Chilean refugees caused a lot of problems in the 70s. Not at least because of domestic violence.
Even the most conservative Muslim men coming to Sweden now are more freely than those South American catholic refugees coming in the 70s. I was married to a Chilean man 32 years ago and been in that group a short while so I know from the inside what I’m talking about.
The Kurds… well there you have “the honor culture”. Kurdish women and girls had some strange habits to commit suicide jumping from a balcony – until our naive authorities realized it was murders… Yes, we Swedes can be naive, no doubt!
When it comes to Muslims with traditional values there are and will be social problems caused of their ideas about sexuality and women’s rights and school girls’ mandatory participation in gymnastics lessons and swimming lessons. (I have some personal insights there too.)
No doubt there are conflicts! But actually, like in US, different groups CAN live in same country.
But really, to compare refugee groups like this liberal man do in his article, is to slip on reality so very unfair and wrong. Refugees are for obvious reasons traumatized when coming here. But it is not fair to compare groups who have lived here for 40 to 50 years with people who may has been here for about 10 months! That’s lousy!
From where do this liberal man get his rhetoric, I asked myself when reading him? Coming back to that…
It is prejudices (in Sweden as well as among people abroad, like from this man Traub) to believe people coming from Africa are all uneducated. It is true for unaccompanied children refugees in early teens, this group has certainly never got a proper chance to school education. But when it comes to adults’ refugees, the most who has the possibility to get out of their countries are middle class people having professions and most often they have academic trainings of different kinds.
But Swedes tend to treat all from Africa as if they are all illiterates. (Just imagine how annoying it must be for the already affected person, dealing with all other emotional struggles belonging to refugee situation and than be treated as an illiterate!)
We have what is called a structural racism in Sweden, which prevent migrants to establish to use their qualitied trainings in Sweden, as the same Swedish labor market screams for educated people in the same professions, like in the health sector and construction industry. The problem is not located in the individual person coming here as an immigrant, but in the Swedish system not able to assimilate people from abroad and take advantage of peoples skills.
Another thing disturbing me much about this talk about different cultures and immigrants alleged problems to assimilate in a new country and it is this focus on refugees.
But what is a refugee?
Yes, what is a refugee? Well, it is a person who flees from his or hers country inflected of war and violence in order to save the own life. And what do we do? We sit here and say, “but will he/she be able to live here and assimilate to Western values”.
What do you mean, if you think like that? Is it better this person stays in a war zone to be killed? Because “we” don’t like this persons eventual worldviews? Well, what kind of world view do we have then?
Tell me, please!
Remember this: Hitler succeeded to murder millions of Jews. And we let happened – because they were Jews (or Rome or mental retarder).
Is it what you would do if a fire started in your house, valuate people in the burning house before considering to eventually save their lives?
What a shame on our humanity! Sharpening, please!
I don’t think Sweden should be blamed for trying to hold a high level of humanity for the individual, we should be honored for it! As the Americans are proud over people like Martin Luther King and his movement.
Traub starts his article with writing about a saying he claims to be typical Swedish and typical for the Swedish debate climate. It’s “corridor of opinion”. It’s a common expression in Sweden he say. But I had never heard about it before I read his article. So I called my son and asked about it and he said actually this phrase exists, but it is introduced in the public rhetoric by The Swedish Democrats.
In the 70s the left movements own the public arena rhetoric, people like the romantic poet Tomas Tranströmer was mocked by stupid and ”radical” young intellectuals. But today it is voices we thought never to be heard again, coming from the graves of our bad past.
That is the really bad thing in today public discourse – not only this man, Traub, but overall in media and in politics – the rhetoric for the day is settled by racist and anti-democratic and reactionary movements. We all are infected! That’s terrible!
The common expression I know off is not “corridor opinion”, but is to say it is “low under the ceiling”. The opposite is“high under the ceiling”. I’m not skilled enough in the English language to know if there any English equivalents to this expressions?
Back to Tranströmer and his poem… He uses this two expressions in his poem, “low” respective “high under the roof”. As said it is the common expressions in Sweden to my knowledge.
Further he introduces mystically the city of Nineveh in his poem about the Swedish little spring flower and combines this with a quote from a local medieval chronicle. (The Chronicle of Eric). Heavens know why! But I take the liberty to replace this obscure passage in the poem with a line about Trump and the White House. Because what Tranströmer actually refers to in the poem is an enigma for me, I don’t know it.
Please note this: You are not allowed to translate a poet’s work without having permission for it. And I have not. The translation here can not be spread and used further in a public context, it is only for to illustrate my reasoning in my post and must stay in its frame.
I’ve translated the title to “Blue anemones”, but the proper name for this flower is Blue Hepatica. I think “Blue Anemones” is more romantic and poetic title.
The Blue Anemones (Från ”Blåsipporna”, ur samlingen ”Det vilda torget”, 1983 by Tomas Tranströmer.)
To be enchanted – nothing is simpler. It is one of the oldest trick from ground and spring: the Blue Anemones. They are somehow unexpected. De rises out of the brownish rustling last year’s leaves at overlooked spots there the gaze otherwise never stays. They burns and hovers, yes hovers! And it’s because of the color. That eager violet blue color weighs nothing nowadays. Here is ecstasy, but low below the ceiling. ”Career” irrelevant! ”Power” and ”publicity” – ludicrous! They seemed have arranged a great reception at the White House (with many loud trumpet solos for nothing). High under ceilings – and above all heads the chandeliers hanged like vultures of glass. Instead of such an over-decorated and clamorous blind alley the blue anemones opens a hidden passage to the real feast, which is dead silent.