Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sweden Struggles Against Racism and Exclusion

The first anniversary of the massacre on Utøya has been an occasion for breast-beating and soul-searching, especially in Norway and Sweden. Our Swedish correspondent LN has translated an opinion piece from the Swedish MSM about the lessons Swedes should learn from last year’s atrocity in Norway.

The translator includes this note:

This op-ed by Anna Ardin is pathetic — it is just plain nursery-level, and the original is in bad Swedish, too.

Is this an attempt at self-persuasion?

From yesterday’s Svenska Dagbladet:

The worldview of the racists is not ours

The xenophobes will not get the rest of us to imitate a mindset and a language in which people are lumped together by faith or background. The public discourse shall not be poisoned.

So writes Anna Ardin of ‘One Sweden’, along with representatives of several other organizations.

[Photo: The island of Utøya, Tyrifjorden.

The place where Anders Breivik Behring shot and killed 69 young people.]

After the tragedy at Utøya, we expected that the attitude towards people from other countries would change. That did not happen. Xenophobic blogs are still popular, and the number of organizations which are critical of Muslims is steadily growing. When these forces are given free rein and are allowed to decide what we’re talking about, and how, the conditions for both an inquisitive dialogue between people and for a fair and objective criticism of religion are excluded.

In Sweden racism has a long history. Although the government has distanced itself from racism, it is still alive in everyday life, in reckless statements about immigrants or about the opinions Muslims are supposed to have.

The racism of daily life is reinforced by xenophobic organizations within civil society. In official contexts races are no longer mentioned; instead one speaks of cultures. The struggle against ‘foreign racial elements’ has been replaced by ‘foreign cultures’. But these are cultures that one is born into and allegedly cannot change.

To these organizations, ‘Multiculture’ is the great enemy, as our opponents believe that people who are born dissimilar cannot, or should not, live together. They do not believe that multiple cultures can exist within the same country without giving rise to unsolvable conflicts. Especially Muslims, they believe, are impossible to integrate. The racists also are using criticism of religion in their attempts to legitimize attacks on Islam and Muslims, the same tools so often used in attacks on Jews.

To succeed in their intent, the xenophobes designate Muslims as a single group. They are all alike: strongly driven by religion and with certain political ideas. Muslims themselves may not be heard. Organizations or parties like the Sweden Democrats are determinedly hammering in words like “mass immigration” and “Islamization”.

The aim of course is to get readers to believe that immigrants, especially Muslims, are dangerous. They place people with different skin color, ethnicity, and religion against each other and thereby poison the public discourse.

In this environment it is important to the rest of us not to touch upon xenophobia when we are debating. We must be careful with our words and refrain from sweeping generalizations. We must let individuals be free to define their beliefs and political opinions, and never lump together everybody of a particular faith or background to a single homogeneous group.

The core of civil society is full of conflicts. Organizing is often based on exclusive group memberships, and identity is created through differences. This is sometimes but not always positive. In this process we want to be a positive force. Civil society includes hatreds and authoritarian tendencies, but also conflict management, public culture and education, and association and community activities that represent the opposite.

We gather, therefore, organizations from civil society with very different voices, to engage in activities within a framework of an initiative that we call ‘One Sweden’. Respectful collaboration, we believe, is the key to social and economic success in our secular society. Stereotypes are decomposed, consensus is built up. Together we can discuss social problems and welfare challenges as we share the same basic values: an open, democratic and prosperous Sweden. A Sweden where everyone has the same right and opportunity to contribute to the development, regardless of creed, birthplace or skin color.

If the racists succeed in their creation of social structures, it is not about whether certain small parties will enter parliament or not. It depends on whether we choose to see through their rhetoric and stop supporting their worldview and instead build something else.

Anna Ardin
Project One, Sweden; think tank Sektor3

Jessica Schedvin
Chairman, Young Humanists

Henrik Forsner
Focus Question antiracism, Young Humanists

Anton Landehag
Chairman of Youth Against Racism

Edward Sköllerfalk
Operations manager, Pentacostal Youth

Yasri Khan
Chairman of Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice

Barbara Spectre
Principal Paideia — The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden


Anonymous said...

The public discourse shall not be poisoned

That really says it all, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Not sure what to make of this. My view of a culture is an operational one: it is a more or less specific set of answers to a general set of questions. Table manners are one example. More seriously, a culture provides answers to questions such as: who is my family? What are my obligations to them? What are there obligations to me? Who are my countrymen? And so forth. What defines a culture and differentiates it from others is how it answers these questions. Looked at this way, I think it obvious that not all cultures can mix without friction. If one culture believes that its women are essentially property and another does not, how can these two cultures exist together? They cannot. Religion is a major, perhaps dominant, shaper of a culture. Refusing to debate these matters honestly and openly is to invite disaster.

Anonymous said...

"The aim of course is to get readers to believe that immigrants, especially Muslims, are dangerous."

Rapes, forced marriages, sex gangs, grooming, blowing people up, driving jeeps loaded with explosives into airports ... where could anyone possibly get the idea that Mohammedans might do things that are "dangerous" from, I wonder?

Anonymous said...

As for her refraining from making sweeping generalisations ... er ... don't then.

Anonymous said...

As for her claiming that her bogeymen are deciding what she and other people can talk about - projection much eh?|

Bulldog said...

I am a young british lad and although I'm un-educated I am becoming very aware of the dilution of our entire race and culture across europe coupled with freedom of speech and democracy in the name of tolerance or multicutli or what ever other crock of ****, not sure how to make other people around me aware without being accused of being a witch.. I mean a blastpheamer... I mean a racist... New words but they use the same old tacticts eh think ill show a few close friends and family this site, just wanted to say blogs like this are a big help at making people aware keep up the goood work!!!

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the writer is blaming "racists" for using the term multicultural when they mean multiracial but as far as I am aware it is officialdom who have changed the terminology. Twenty to thirty years ago we did speak of the newly created multiracial society in England then all of a sudden this became our vibrant multicultural society. It was as if the term race was so emotively charged that a pseudonym had to be used. If the problem is a clash of cultures then why in the USA is there still conflict after three hundred years and where basically African Americans are part of one Christian American culture? The change seems to have occurred about 30 years ago when I remember Margaret Thatcher saying - in an attempt to get votes and that is all - that immigration from outside Europe should be halted as the immigrants' cultures were too different. I don't think she was talking about just culture but was talking about race and culture. What we are really talking about is national identity and despite the fact that the Marxists and the globalizers have been hell bent on destroying national identity in European countries and many of European settlement for the last 50 to 60 years for ideological or financial reasons it is proving a very tough nut to crack. Why should a people who are genetically and culturally identical and happy and safe in their homeland suddenly want to hand it over to people from all over the world who are different in both respects? It has been shown that when people of a different race begin to move into a racially/culturally homogenous area then once they achieve 10% of the population the host race/culture begin to move out until there is complete race/cultural replacement. A country is merely a street/district writ large and this is what has been happening in England, people have been white-flighting for the last 50 years. The same goes for Holland and probably most other European countries.

Anonymous said...

Anna Ardin is an assistant to the founder of Project One who is a african muslim, the muslim could have been the one who wrote it putting a swedish name under it. The muslim created a demand list so swedes know what to expect. The demands includes mosques for muslims on demand, respect for muslims, even if dressed in burka, etc etc. The article they wrote is pure hate toward the swedish and the swedes.


Anonymous said...

There's no such thing as a refusal to fight, only a refusal to win.

The only real struggle in Sweden is Oikophobia.


Anonymous said...

Muslims are dangerous. If you are not one, or you are the wrong 'flavor' of Muslim, you are the enemy.