Progressives usually think everything in Sweden is perfect. Right-wingers think it sucks and more so, they think it’s a crucible of Muslim violence.
Donald Trump’s outburst about “that thing that happened in Sweden last night” – which turned out to be a Fox News report he had seen on the difficulties of integrating refugees – is an illustration of the role that Sweden plays in the fantasies of the outside world.
Sweden can be anything people like to believe it is. For much of the 20th century foreign progressives were convinced that everything ran perfectly smoothly and everyone got laid. In the 21st century foreign right-wingers as convinced that nothing works and that rape is widespread.
There’s a history of fantasies about Sweden. In 1960, US President Dwight Eisenhower said that Sweden “has a tremendous record for socialistic philosophy, and the record shows that their rate of suicide has gone up almost unbelievably… Drunkenness has gone up…” Of course, that was complete nonsense, but it was entirely harmless nonsense when compared to President Trump’s views.
Trump has drawn on a persistent set of myths among Sweden’s nationalist right. They claim that Muslim immigration has turned some urban areas into ghettoes where Sharia law is practiced, gang rape is commonplace, and the police and fire engines dare to enter. Once again, this is pure nonsense.
There has been a huge rise in recorded violent crime in Sweden over the past 40 years, but it is still a much safer place than the US, UK and indeed most of Europe. There has also been a huge increase in humanitarian immigration. But these two issues are unrelated.
Of course, there are pockets of serious criminality in the most segregated parts of Sweden. Almost all of this criminality arises from second generation immigrants. This is a problem caused by adolescent males, unemployment, and exclusion from the communities around them, and easy access to guns. Religion has nothing to do with it.
Not so long ago a hideous murder happened in one of the most segregated communities in Sweden. Two schoolchildren and a teacher were killed with a sword by a young man dressed up as a Stormtrooper. He was white, and his victims were not.
If you repeat them continuously “alternative facts” can be perceived as true. Well, Trump’s facts are false. The real life Sweden is not like his fantasy perception of Sweden.
Sign in with Facebook to comment:
Sign in with Facebook