This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

That Transformative Urgency

"I was born here and will die here. This is the wrong time for immigrants. There are no jobs for them. Our government just gives them money."
Rune Nilsson, 74, retiree, Astorp, Sweden

"Until now, I like Sweden. The people are lovely and kind, but we understand they are afraid of us because of all the blood that has been shed in Syria."
"We hope to one day get the chance to explain to them that this is not Islam. We are human beings, too, and we also love peace."
Yassir Mohammad, 35, Syrian school teacher, refugee, Astorp, Sweden

"We are not racist. Racists hate people because of the colour of their skin. We do not hate anybody."
"[...This was] not because they are immigrants. It is because the flow is so big into Sweden. We want to lower the intake to about ten thousand a year so that we can make them part of Swedish society."
"I am very proud that we are tolerant [but] you can be very tolerant of other cultures without having them here."
"In the depth of my heart I hope this won't become an Islamic country."
Eddie Ek, Swedish Democratic party member, Astorp municipal councillor

"What they do at home, they want to do in Swedish society and they want Swedish society to accept that. It is [the Swedes'] country and their culture, and I think that people who come to this society have to acclimatize, not the other way around."
"They will become stronger and stronger [Sweden's anti-immigrant political parties] if something is not done about this situation."
Azad Jonczyk, Polish-Iraqi, chief of integration for refugees, Astorp
A woman of Middle-Eastern descent wearing a black headscarf and robes carries a small child through an outdoor customs gate
(Photo: Bulent Kilic)

The situation in a nutshell is that people who are indigenous to a country, who value its heritage, culture, laws and social contract have every right to expect that if they open their doors in a compassionate gesture to people in need, those people will respond with gratefulness and humility and do everything they can to integrate themselves into the welcoming society, and not instead, as has happened and will continue to happen, demand that the welcoming country change itself to accord with the newcomers' expectations.

A case in point is Rosengard, a suburb of Malmo, Sweden. Malmo is the country's third-largest city, located 80 kilometres from Astorp. And in Malmo fully eighty percent of residents there now speak Arabic. "I love it here because it feels like the Middle East", said a hijab-wearing Palestinian from Syria. "It's special. You know, people in the streets, the smell of spices." In countries all over Europe there are now Muslim-majority areas of major cities, where the residents are hostile to the indigenous culture and demand that Islamic law must prevail.

Sweden is now assailed by a cultural divide of deep consequence to its future. The Swedish character is quiet, and unperturbed about personal gender relationships, whereas Arabs are noticeably loud in their presence, emotional, but deeply conservative in their view of prevailing social issues. When refugees live in enclaves where everyone speaks the same language there is no impetus to learn the language of the country they now become a part of.

In Astorp, a farming town of fifteen thousand souls, one of every four residents is either a refugee or is seeking refugee status. Few of the refugees is employed. So far, in Sweden, the country has absorbed 85,000 refugees, mostly Syrians, in a country of nine million, proud of itself as a refuge for unfortunate people fleeing civil war. Their presence has increased the membership of the Swedish anti-immigrant party.

Mr. Jonczyk, who emigrated from Iraq thirty years earlier, clearly understands the source of polarization, the resentment that Swedes feel against the new arrivals whose numbers have burdened the country, and whose indigenous population struggles against the incidence of rising crime rates amidst fears of losing their country entirely as it becomes transformed from what is dear and familiar to them, to the appearance and values of a religion, a culture and a heritage completely foreign to Swedes.

Lisa Adelquist teaches children of 13 nationalities at an Astorp public school: "When I work with these children, I am very optimistic for their future and the future of Sweden. But when I think about the politics of this situation I become a little worried". As well she might.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet