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'Sweden Democrat thugs only voice what many Swedes think'

'Sweden Democrat thugs only voice what many Swedes think'

Published: 22 Nov 2012 14:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Nov 2012 14:34 GMT+01:00

The real scandal isn't what drunken Sweden Democrats said when they are out on the town, but that the racism they expressed is so common among Swedes, argues Mariam Osman Sherifay, chairwoman of the Centre Against Racism (Centrum mot rasism).

It has been a turbulent couple of weeks for the Sweden Democrats.

After first desperately trying to cover up the open racism displayed by prominent members, spokesman Martin Kinnunen last Friday penned a threatening statement to the Expressen newspaper in which the snarling author demanded the film the tabloid had obtained, but which party representatives have had access to for some two and a half years.

“The Sweden Democrats think Expressen’s directorial extravaganza of cutting and pasting must stop,” Kinnunen wrote in the statement, despite the fact that a Sweden Democrat had previously edited the material to his own advantage.

Over the course of the week, the guilty representatives at least temporarily withdrew from the public eye. Behind all this is the every-day racism for which the Sweden Democrats constantly make themselves mouthpieces.

The uncouth racism and contempt for women aired by the three Swede Democrat leaders are an everyday occurrence in Swedish bars but perhaps even more visible in the comment fields on the websites that Sweden Democrat followers have made into their virtual meeting places.

I have myself encountered a veritable mob mentality in these places. On the Sweden Democrat-friendly forum Sweden Confidential I recently read that I ought to be sectioned on account of my views.

On other forums I have been called “Social Democrat scum”, “moron”, and “useful idiot”, just to mention some of the nicer words of abuse. A lot of this hatred comes from Sweden Democrat sympathizers or from those who support similar political parties.

And all too often, these comments remain unchallenged.

These things happen all the time on the internet. As a result, opinion website Newsmill has shut down its comments, while the Debatt section of Sveriges Television (SVT) remains open.

But Swedish racism doesn’t end there.

Everyday racism exists in schools, pubs, on the job market, on the housing market, and in how black football players are talked about.

Sweden Democrats are simply a product of this Swedish racism.

The three politicians in the iron pipe gang have simply voiced what the majority of the party think; opinions they actually share with many Swedes.

The real scandal, therefore, isn’t what drunken Sweden Democrats say in a pub, but that the racism that they are expressing is so common in Sweden.

The Sweden Democrats received some 11 percent in an opinion poll recently carried out by research company United Minds, so we must suppose that their political programme is well known.

As a result, it can come as a surprise that the leading representatives for such a well-known racist party can be accused of being racists.

Despite what many seem to argue, the view that Sweden isn’t the country of comedian Soran Ismail but of Sweden Democrat economic policy spokesman Erik Almqvist and his party, is widely accepted within the party.

The same goes for when they threw the made up word “babbe” in Ismail’s face.

The word is supposed to be understood as a variant of baboon; it's not a swear word shouted by inebriated youngsters on a pub crawl, but typical of the racism that many within the party share, that many of us are subjected to daily, and that the Sweden Democrats have made into their ideology.

What has bothered a lot of Sweden Democrats isn’t the racism that the iron pipe gang expressed, but the fact that they lied about what happened.

The Sweden Democrats built their brand on telling the truth where other political parties lie. Now, the credibility of the party leadership has been jeopardized.

Add to this that the members of the iron pipe gang are being investigated in seven cases of hate speech and assault, on the initiative of the Stockholm police.

Of course the expulsion of the iron pipe gang from the party would be welcomed, but it won’t change anything in principle.

The fact that they haven’t already been expelled is a sign in itself; the Sweden Democrats are racist.

The reactions in media debates are comparatively tired; some have made an analogy by asking what would have happened if Finance Minister Anders Borg and Justice Minister Beatrice Ask had armed themselves with iron pipes, called a young woman a “little cunt” and a comedian “babbe” and other similar expletives?

My own guess is that all the media and debaters would have loudly demanded their expulsion and of course the Moderates would have expelled them immediately. That neither of this has happened shows some sort of acceptance or at least desensitization.

Let’s just hope that last week’s occurrences can be a wake-up call; that people finally realize that there is racism in the Swedish society much worse than the uncouth skinheads who made up the White Aryan Resistance-supporters in the 1980s and 1990s. The movement's political power was limited and their influence was almost completely subcultural.

But the Sweden Democrats are part of the establishment and the racism that they vent includes at least 11 percent of Swedish voters.

It is time to seriously scrutinize Sweden’s largest racist party. It is time to work on our own racism.

Mariam Osman Sherifay is a Social Democrat politician and has served as the chairwoman of the Centre Against Racism (Centrum mot rasism) since 2009.

This article was originally published in Swedish on the Newsmill opinion website. English translation by The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:23 November 22, 2012 by procrustes
Ms. Sharifey,

As a foreigner living in Sweden for a number of years, I have realized that Sweden more closely resembles a private club than a country. Sweden has laws but for "members" they can and often are "adjusted" especially if the plaintiff is a foreigner.

Unless one has traceable "Swedish Blood" one can never join the club. A non-Swede is allowed to work on the grounds and receive the social benefits their taxes pay for, but they can never enter the clubhouse nor hold real power. This applies to both people of color and so-called "whites". You see, the Swede is the creme de la creme of white. If you don't believe me, ask one.

America has a black president. A black Prime Minister of Sweden violates the most basic ground rules of the Swedish Club. A black Prime Minister is an impossibility. A Jew? Well, my my.

Sadly, Sweden cannot long prosper with this attitude. History is careening away from nationhood toward humanist "worldism" while Sweden is busily bunkering up tribal traditions.

We are watching a nation on the road to irrelevance--albeit Swedish speaking irrelevance. And, you know what, I think the Club is just fine with that.
21:37 November 22, 2012 by Iraniboy
I think I disagree with the author who implies SD's support is widespread! The fact is that already 90% are not only disapproving SD but also opposing it to an unimaginable extent! On the other side, I personally know some of these SD supporters. They do not believe what SD says or do. They are just trying to show their disapproval of Sweden's failure to integrate many asylum seekers. In Sweden, there was no party to reflect on Sweden's failure on immigration without racism. Suddenly SD came offering both at the same time!

So in general, the support for SD is low and even this low level is due to the economical problems and immigration failures.

With regards to @procrustes comment and many others how claim the same thing, I should admit it is not racism! It stems from the feeling of deep insecurity among the majority of Swedes. In fact you have more chance of entering the clubs of those racist Swedes than non-racist ones! Because racists hate those they don't know and love those they do! However I agree that Sweden cannot prosper with this attitude. That why Alliansen are trying to change the face of Sweden by immigration. They are trying to make Sweden ready for the new world we live on!
21:52 November 22, 2012 by Eric1
If one thinks racism is bad, they should be Caucasian living in today's Zimbabwe, South Africa, most Islamic countries, or America's enter cities, and others. The average Caucasian Sweden is less racist than the groups of people yelling racism. Centrum mot rasism gets its political power by yelling racism. Of course there is racism but using it to suppress freedom of thought and speech is dangerous for a democracy.
01:02 November 23, 2012 by Not Dumb
I am of US origins and living in Sweden, university educated, white, and much in agreement with comment #1. Sweden does seem very much more like a 'private club' than a country, a place with laws that do seem to be regularly 'bent' for the members, particularly when it may come to questions involving a 'foreigner'.

But, I also believe that the worst aspect of what some might say is 'shamelessly' ongoing, is the almost total lack of awareness that so many folks here have as regards the implications of such despicable conduct, DENIAL and SELECTIVE BLINDNESS and DEAFNESS keeping them from reality. To my eyes, Swedish xenophobia is rampant, ugly, very dangerous to any 'outsiders', and completely invisible to the vast majority of Swedes born of majority heritage.

I have little doubt that my words will soon be attacked by those claiming either a defense of high-minded virtues or their rights as 'native Swedes'. And so, rather than waste words upon those I personally see as looking down from the heights of insurmountable prejudice and denial, I have nothing further to say.
12:24 November 23, 2012 by RobinHood
It is sad that Ms Sharifey (born in Cairo) finds it necessary to call so many of her adopted countrymen/women racists. It is these fine people (the Swedes) who have, after all, welcomed more immigrants and refugees (per capita) than any other country in the EU. It is these generous people who finance make their visitors so welcome, by paying for benefits housing and healthcare amongst the most generous in the world.

Ms Sharifey, perhaps a small nod of approval to these generous folk might be in order instead of such inappropriate accusations of wholesale racism amongst Swedes. Perhaps you might even find it within yourself to thank them, instead of calling them racists.

Of course there is much work to be done combating racism in Sweden, but do you think you are the right person to be leading the way? The important post of chairwoman of the Centre Against Racism is a place for a moderate and conciliator; not yet another extremist. By making such provocative and divisive comments? You and your extremist accusations have become part of the problem. You are certainly not part of the solution and it is time to stand down and make way for someone who can bring people together, not drive them apart.
16:37 November 23, 2012 by Sense and logic
You can always go home if you dont like it in Swefen.
18:34 November 23, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Are there racists in any of the other parties?

Will be responding to this article, hopefully on Sunday evening. This is only a short preliminary excursion :

http://www.thelocal.se/blogs/corneliushamelberg/2012/11/23/re-sweden-democrat-thugs-only-voice-what-many-swedes-think/
14:20 November 24, 2012 by useronthenet
Racism exists all over the world. Having spent many years in Asia and Africa I would say that these places are extremely rascist towards foreigners. In comparison the racism in Sweden is small by comparison.
15:47 November 24, 2012 by fmb
2 things:

1) racism is much more of a problem in the place where this lady comes from ,so why does not she engage in the solving the problem over there? copts of egypt are abused every single day

2) swedes have the right to be whatever they like, since this is their country
11:25 November 25, 2012 by cogito
The lady is correct, but then how can she represent the Social Democratic Party, the most (secretly) racist of parties and the party behind what is known as "institutionalized racism."
12:18 November 25, 2012 by racistreport.org
www.racistreport.org --- Global Movement Against Racism!!!
13:36 November 25, 2012 by skatty
@Sense and logic #6

If the inhabitant of all countries around the world would listen to your advice, then all the population of all the countries around the world should permanently live on highways, roads, train stations, bus stations, and airports!

It does not make sense and logic!
22:00 November 25, 2012 by Emerentia
@ procrustes

One of the ministers, or counsils of state, or what it's called in English ("statsråd") is black and born in Burundi. There are Swedish MP:s born in Turkey, Kosovo, Eritrea, Kurdistan, Finland, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, Germany, Poland to name a few. Compare it to your own country, whatever it is, are there really so many more politicians born in other countries in those parlaments, than in Sweden?

Compared to the US, for example, how many of the senators or members of congress are immigrants and born somewhere else than in the US? A person can't even be the president of the US if they are born abroad, Sweden has no such rules. Anybody can become the Prime Minister of Sweden, no matter where born, if their party get's the most votes. Our current prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldts grandfathers grandfather was a black guy who worked at... what do you call it, a carny, fun fair or something like that.

That "private club" you talk about, I don't recogize at all, isn't it more like that in the US? In Sweden a kindergarden teacher, a bus driver, a student, a nurse or whatever you are become an MP, in many other contries who have to belong to those "private clubs" and be a lawyer or business man to become a senator or congressman.
02:48 November 26, 2012 by TheWatchman
Why doesn't she go back home to where she came from if the people in Sweden, who so generously gave her a place to stay and live, are so "racist"?
10:39 November 26, 2012 by jack_sprat
Iraniboy is absolutely correct. We've a similar problem in the States and its source is the same, more or less. There is a consensus among those who dominate each country -- who are NOT represented by folks like the New Democrat politicians in question -- which simply refuses to see the consequences of their insularity on those who are not like them. Oh, they'll cater to the worst elements of the aliens within their midst, but they've no desire whatsoever to face the fact that they've made a large section of their own superfluous. It's those people who are the tinder which will be used to burn down your house and mine, sooner or later.
11:52 November 26, 2012 by Alexey-nsk
The fight against racism - it is their bread. They do not want to defeat racism, they want to constantly fight against racism.
15:50 November 26, 2012 by Jes
@TheWatchman ,

she can`t go back to her country because she is in her country . If you don´t get what I mean , it is only because you are a racist .

I can happily annoy you some more : look at that photo on top ; there is another one holding the Swedish flag. Your type told her that she could never win in Europe unless her dancer was blond.

WRONG !!!!!
20:21 November 26, 2012 by jostein
Since we are this xenophobic and racist, swedish immigrationpolicy has been a crime against humanity. Why foister this huge amount of culturally alien immigrants on the xenophobic and racist Swedes? Why dump innocent third worlders among such a hostile population?

Swedish immigrationpolicy has been the malicious and willfull destruction the swedish nation.
06:53 November 27, 2012 by Köz
I lived in Sweden 2 years and came back, its been 5-6 months by then.

I really noticed that "private swedish club" when I was there and I am really happy that I left Sweden when it comes to the subject discrimination.

Whatever you do, doesnt matter how much you try you cant enter the club. You have to prove yourself each day each moment over and over and still it wont work.

I love sweden, I like my very few swedish friends but living in Sweden hmm yeah maybe 100 years later when swedes are more welcoming would be an option for me.,

Heja Sverige fortfarande
08:27 November 27, 2012 by Lavaux
It's refreshing to see a Swede face facts. However, the worst thing about SD isn't racism. It's that they don't want to share welfare state goodies with immigrants. Not wanting to share with everyone - that's SD's biggest sin.

What's more, SD shouldn't be considered a right-wing party because SD loves socialism, the welfare state, etc. Sure, not wanting to share with everyone is a not a leftist tendency, but 'not-left' does not equate with 'right'.
08:51 November 27, 2012 by skogsbo
I think people vote for SD because it is a vote against the other parties, not a vote for SD. If there was a box in the ballot saying "none of the above" many people would just vote for that instead.

As a white European male I'vve experience racism against me in the ME and S America, but that's life, it's people.... just get over it and make the best of your lot. We'll all be pushing up daisies in less than 100years and all your moaning will be meaningless.
12:35 November 27, 2012 by Chuck_Norris
I am in Sweden for 2 years as part of an exchange program.

After doing internships in London, Paris; and studied in London, Spain, Brazil and Canada; I can truly say something that I thought would never come out of my mouth. As a white middle class educated male, for the first time in my life I feel discriminated against.

From certain "councilours" at university, to taking part at university student board to interactions at work. It is so clear how some Swedes go an extra mile to not do something for you even if its their job to.

I read a book of a Brazilian author who came to Sweden in the 60s and 70s and I couldn't have agreed more. I will paraphrase him : Carioca Brazilians believe they are clever with their slangs and witty ways of life, but the real clever ones are the Swedes that make the whole world believe Sweden is the perfect harmonious place while in reality is a s hole.
13:20 November 27, 2012 by smilingjack
At first I found swedes to be stand offish and not interested in other cultures. after a while I realised that they werent so much being stand offish as more pushing the virtues of sweden. nothing wrong with that. I cant talk about sweden but stockholm is a great city. If I was from here I would talk it up too.

Being involved with a firm that is doing business with a swedish business I can 100% vouch that the swedes are going out of their way to be unhelpful. beyond unhelpful. it will be to their own detriment as their reputation for the poor way they do business is spreading. china has already taken volvo and is moving all operations outside swedish management control. saab is gone. nortel is half a company and ericcson aare losing ground rapidly as huawei and samsung are pleasant and helpful in business. great place. wonderful people. but lose the chip on the shoulder when it comes to business.
13:33 November 27, 2012 by Khazara
Well this is a great example of a nation's propaganda machine creating a false image to outsiders; half-heartedly believing it; allowing gullible people, especially people of African and "Arab" descent to live and attain citizenship, just so as to shun them or make it difficult for them to live at the same standard of living as white people.

This is the insidious way that white racism works. I for one am not a "Pollyanna", I have lived in Sweden for 3 years and 3 months and advice all Africans who are not married and have children with a white Swede to attain what you can (free "education") and leave because this country will not change in your lifetime so why invest your time into it? Could you not use your abilities in Africa? Indeed, there are so many inherit problems with Sweden: weather, economy, urbanization, culture; that only a person with a limited consciousness who is an African would stay here.

I don't expect people who practiced racism (white hegemony) to form a nation to change just because they are liberal about sex (this is what "liberal" white homogeneous countries are liberal about). Don't waste your life trying to change a dying nation.
14:01 November 27, 2012 by what would thomas paine do
Who's the Brazilian author, or name of the book, please?

Otherwise, I generally feel that it's none of my business who the Swedish people wish to have or not have as residents in their homeland. Their home, their choice.

I have, however, experienced and witnessed that forced healthcare rationing has sacrificed both life quality and actual human lives, in order to finance a society that "looks" a certain way.

Sick people of all ages, sexual orientations, and ethnic backgrounds are sacrificed, while the tax money of their grieving parents, children, and spouses is used to import replacements, some of whom will also be sacrificed and replaced.

We're less than cattle.
14:55 November 27, 2012 by cogito
"... I'vve experience racism against me in the ME and S America, but that's life, it's people.... just get over it ..."

A white British male compares the "racism" he (claims) he experienced in South America with that of a black woman in Sweden.

Irony lost in another galaxy. Along with empathy.
21:06 November 28, 2012 by towns
"Racism" this, "racism" that. I think Alexey-nsk (#16) said it best: "The fight against racism - it is their bread. They do not want to defeat racism, they want to constantly fight against racism."

Many people need a cause to fight for to give their life meaning, for some that cause is "the fight against racism" and they likely will never be satisfied. I've lived in quite a few European countries and based on my experience, the Swedes are on average one of the least racist people in Europe. They are practically socially engineered from the cradle NOT to be racist! Seriously, if 100% of ethnic Swedes voluntarily emigrated from Sweden and left to country to immigrants and asylum seekers those "new" Swedes left would probably keep going on about how racist and ungrateful those Swedes were.
10:46 November 29, 2012 by clearandpresenttruth
So why are there numbers in the polls still rising?

Finally, Sweden wakes up : )
14:34 November 29, 2012 by NyDag
Suffice to say, this lady is right. My friends and I all think it.
14:58 November 29, 2012 by procrustes
@Emerentia Your comment is the epitome of tokenism fueling denial.
20:40 December 7, 2012 by fareasttiger
I'm a foreigner, but I would vote for the SD in a heart beat, sick of these 7th century imported trashes! It's all about...the enemy of my enemy is....?
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