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'Don't let the far-right dominate the debate'

The Local · 23 Sep 2010, 14:41

Published: 23 Sep 2010 14:41 GMT+02:00

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I was a Human Rights specialist at the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in the years after the murder of far-right populist politician Pim Fortuyn, who called for Dutch borders to be closed to Muslim immigrants. The period in which the extreme-right became a political factor of importance in the Netherlands. The years in which one man dominated the political debate: Geert Wilders, who sees Islamization as a "creeping tyranny" and whose break-away Party of Freedom in now the third biggest party in the country.

Now, having moved to Sweden as Director of the Stockholm Institute for Public Speaking, I am merely a witness. A witness to history repeating itself. Different country, but the same slogans. Different faces, but the same rhetoric. Different people but the same message.

Unfortunately I also see the same Pavlovian-reflexes in society as we have had in the Netherlands. Shunning the extreme-right, blocking them from participating in debates and even a proposal to change parliamentary procedures to exclude them from important parliamentary commissions.

This contribution is my modest attempt to help Sweden; help to prevent it from becoming like the Netherlands: a polarized society. A country in the grip of fear. A fear to speak up, a fear to change and a fear to lose an identity that didn’t exist to begin with.

The difficult coalition talks in the Netherlands are just a symptom of the deep wounds in society. For Sweden it is not too late. Not if you can learn from our mistakes.

1. Take the Sweden Democrats and the electorate seriously

It is too easy to ignore the extreme-right or to dismiss them as ignorant. Recognize that almost 6 percent of the voters have cast their votes in their favor. Dismissing the Sweden Democrats would be dismissing voters that have real and serious complaints.

Not all extreme-right voters have extreme-right sympathies. Ignoring their protest and not taking them seriously will only strengthen their conviction that the traditional parties have no answer and are not willing to listen. Ignoring their voice will only benefit the one party that claims to operate outside the system on their behalf.

2. Challenge, charge and conquer

Now that the Sweden Democrats are in parliament you must challenge them from all sides. Challenge their beliefs, challenges their ideas and most of all challenge them to produce solutions. Populists throughout Europe know how to formulate the problems, but they rarely have solutions.

Challenge them to come up with viable, sustainable and long-term solutions that do justice to both your national agenda and the international framework. The people will soon recognize that there is no real substance to their ideology.

You have to charge. This means being on the offensive. Encourage an open debate, set the agenda and deal with it. Do not give the extreme-right the possibility to dominate the public debate. Be one step ahead of them, listen to your voters and most of all, listen to theirs!

This does not mean adapting your political ideology, but it does mean it is up to you to make things happen. It is up to you to make a change and it is up to you to convince people that the Sweden Democrats is not an alternative.

Conquer. There can be no mercy.

It will take a lot of time and energy but every belief must be challenged, every argument countered and every debate must be won. Not through the arrogance of self-righteousness, but through the knowledge that you are fighting a just cause.

3. Honor Democracy

The entry into parliament of the Sweden Democrats was the result of a fair and open election. Honour this principle by allowing them to play the role that the election has put upon them. This means you cannot change the rules of the game, just because there is a party you do not like.

Story continues below…

Sacrificing that fundamental democratic principle would mean that those forces attacking democracy have won before the fight has even begun. To quote one of the great thinkers in history: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it".

The three rules formulated above are not a recipe for success. Time will tell how we will all deal with the challenge of upcoming right-wing populism. It is a journey we must go on for the years to come. A journey that all of us living in Sweden are on together.

But one thing I am sure of: we cannot allow the Sweden Democrats to play the victim role. By adhering to the principles of democracy and a transparent debate I am convinced that the real Sweden is resilient enough to withstand this attack on its fundamental values.

Ruben Brunsveld is Director of the Stockholm Institute for Public Speaking

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Your comments about this article

21:39 September 23, 2010 by RememberAisha
1- Good advise, but way to hard to do for ignorant politicians who only look good on paper but are too dumb face to face.

2- Hard to argue with real facts that the SD possess.

3- I do agree with one of your points, give the SD a chance since they won fairly. Would you not be a victim if you were playing a game of "ball" and the rules kept changing by you opponent?
21:51 September 23, 2010 by miss79
congrats..i hope u swedes are happy with this election, from socialism rules to nazi rules
22:43 September 23, 2010 by fredbloch
Freedom of speech must be maintained at all costs. As Voltaire supposedly said "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." I find it odd that the most liberal members of a society, who originally fought for freedom of speech, would now flip-flop and try to curtail freedom of speech just because it suddenly does not suit them. I noticed a similarly disturbing logic expressed by Nancy Gibbs in Time magazine (27 September 2010) who was hinting at restricting freedom of speech when the speech did not align with her world views.
08:26 September 24, 2010 by Rey Stockholm
Well Balanced piece with good advice, sad to see another low intellect response posted above
09:20 September 24, 2010 by Bork
Good suggestions. Mainly, they need to look at the root of the Sweden Democrats sudden popularity. Has there been a sudden, unexplained increase in Nazis and racists? This is what the parties and many people wish to think. Or, could it be the rapid, seemingly uncontrolled intake of refugees and EU immigrants from poorer countries, regardless of whether work is available for them, regardless of the fact they will be supported by the tax money paid by working Swedish residents, regardless of the effect those growing jobless, disconnected residents are going to have on the daily life of people?
10:39 September 24, 2010 by Andersson
"The people will soon recognize that there is no real substance to their ideology"... well said author...and that can be the only solution.
13:07 September 24, 2010 by BERTRAM
Bravo, Ruben. Weak democracies lead to chaos and who is glad...

Religion should stay in the private circle for once.
13:10 September 24, 2010 by kajsa
Reinfeldt had "vowed" according to The Local that the Sweden Democats will be ignored and their influence in the parliament will me minimized.

This can only mean that he is serious that he does not want to work with the Sweden Democrats. The voices of those who voted SD in the parliament will be ignored. How about that for democracy is Sweden.
14:37 September 24, 2010 by donaswe
The failure of Social Democrats is as like as the failure of the Berlin wall! It ends an era of ridiculous welfarism.
16:01 September 24, 2010 by McChatter
Mr. Brunsveld is completely right. The only solution is to enter into debate with the SD. No violence .

The Dutch refused to recognise the Far Right parties. Now Wilders has over 20% of the votes. He is merely saying in public what many Dutch people say in private. I ought to know because I lived in Holland for 35 years and went to many birthday parties. The Belgians had a "cordon sanitair". It didn't work either. However, recently De Winter in Belgium and Le Pen in France have lost poularity. I don't know why. Don't forget eastern Germany either.

Yes, the Swedish society has become polarised. It probably started with Alliance campaign in 2006 and didn't improve when the Social Democrats formed their own block. There was no longer a multiple choice and many have reacted by casting a protest vote.

And contributors, please stop calling everyone with extreme-right views a nazi. National Socialism was and is a racist movement but not only that. I am not defending nazism, merely pointing out that it had wider policies.
16:13 September 24, 2010 by Jannik
"The people will soon recognize that there is no real substance to their ideology."

Im not sure about that. SDs take on immigration is based on realism.

Its the multiculturalists in all the established parties who have problems defending their ideology intellectually. Not least backing it up with facts.

Multiculturalism is all around Europe being exposed as a fraud. We are not on our way to living in a happy rainbow utopia, we are unfortunately headed for disaster and balkanization.

Alas the multicultural emperor is exposed in all his embarresing nudity.
18:15 September 24, 2010 by Audrian
The right wing, pro-corporation elite had been clamering for big changes and the changs are taking place. The ruling elite will be more bold and more than it was for the last many years. Racism will be one of the tools for divide and rule. The hot issue of racism willl prvent woking people to understand economic issues and fight for better working conditions.

Competitive market of neo-conservativism works for the rich only.
19:23 September 24, 2010 by Mike #1986
Intelligent advice but I believe it may backfire and only increase there popularity. I prefer the more aggressive approach remove and delete the problem like most country's do which is so neatly kept under the table.

The power of politics can be used corruptively if used for the right purpose and in this case with 94 % of the state against such a group such as SD action and power must be issued.
20:15 September 24, 2010 by calebian22
In the Värnamo Nyheter on Monday, there was a piece discussing that the most new votes for the Sweden Democrats came from registered Moderates and Social Democrats. In 2006 they were mainstream, and in 2010 they are Nazis? I don't think so. Sweden has a problem.
23:31 September 24, 2010 by seagull
Having finally got around to reading the SD website, I can only commend them on (for the most part) a commendable set of policies. I can't see anything particularly outrageous.

I am an inmmagrant myself, but if I am honest, there are only a couple of points there I disagree with.

I haven't the experience in sweden to know them fully, but they do not "appear" to be as bad as the bandwagon would have me believe. I would love to be enlightened either way by reasonable posters.
09:04 September 25, 2010 by 5.7% today 100% tomorrow
People call the SD "racist" and "xenophobic" but the fact of the matter is that they are anti-Islam and with just cause. You never hear the SD mention any other group except for Muslims. In fact, you never hear Swedes mention any other group except for Muslims, in derrogatory terms. People need to ask themselves why this is? And why is it that the SD gets the most support in areas where the most Muslims live? SD is not an anti-immigrant party. They are against the Islamization of Sweden and people need to get this through their heads.
10:03 September 25, 2010 by BunnyOlesen
22:43 September 23, 2010 by fredbloch

Freedom of speech must be maintained at all costs. As Voltaire supposedly said "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." I find it odd that the most liberal members of a society, who originally fought for freedom of speech, would now flip-flop and try to curtail freedom of speech just because it suddenly does not suit them. I noticed a similarly disturbing logic expressed by Nancy Gibbs in Time magazine (27 September 2010) who was hinting at restricting freedom of speech when the speech did not align with her world views.

YOU SAID IT FRED !! Freedom of speech is the most basic fundamental right of mankind!!! Look at the countries that don't have it !! Communist China, North korea, muslim countries - and NOW THE LIBERAL LEFT WHO CALLS THEMSELVES LOVERS OF FREEDOM FOR ALL, DEMAND THAT THE CONSERVATIVE PEOPLE (whom they prefer to call all nazi's and fascists) KEEP THEIR OPINIONS TO THEMSELVES, TO THE POINT WHERE SEVERAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES HAVE ACTUALLY MADE LAWS AGAINST "INSULTING" PEOPLE - OF course the laws don't protect christians or indigenous peoples, ONLY everybody else !!! THE LOONEY LEFT who calls people with different views fascists and nazi's need to take a look in the mirror - THEY are the only ones i see trying to curtail freedom of speech and FORCE their views upon the rest !! The Swedish Democrats had a political commercial that the TV STATIONS REFUSED TO AIR !!! we are SICK OF MUSLIMS AND their aggression and violence and hatred of westerners and christians !!
10:21 September 25, 2010 by Mike #1986
5.7% today 100% tomorrow

Not true mate look back 10 years or more and SD were against Kosova Albaniens and the Irakian flow of immigrants it just so happens to be now the massive flow of Muslims which so obviously stand out in the crowd !!!!

Which country or race will they pick on in the next election ?
12:32 September 25, 2010 by 5.7% today 100% tomorrow
Which religion do you think that most Kosovo-Albanians and Iraqis are?
13:46 September 25, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
There is no gainsaying that all the advice given is to the good.

Birds of the same feather: This list of Far Right populist parties which are represented in European parliaments are as follows (courtesy of TT, as appeared in Stockholm Metro on 22.10.2010):

Switzerland – Schweiziska folkpartiet - 28.9%

Norway - Fremskrittspartiet - 22.9%

Austria - FPO - 17.5%

Hungary - Jobbik - 16.7%

Holland - Frihetspartiet - 15.5 %

Denmark - Danskfolkpartiet - 13.9%

Austria - BZÖ - 10.7%

Bulgaria - Ataka - 9.4 %

Italy - Lega Nord - 8.3 %

Belgium - Vlaams Belang - 7.8%

Sweden - Sverige Demokrater 5.7%

Greece - LAOS - 5.6%

Slovakia - National Party - 5.1 %

France - National Front - 4.3 %

Finland - Sannfinlandarna - 4.1 %

In the wake of 911 and then the financial crisis which has hit some countries harder than others, it seems as if every country in Europe has its own unique combination of peculiarities that have made it possible for what's known as “far right populism” to rise, even in Sweden .And to be flourishing in other European Parliaments, because the foreigner / immigrant has been the convenient scapegoat that the mainstream parties have been reluctant to identify as scapegoat, since the mainstream political parties are also busy hustling the immigrant vote. If all the parties were equally xenophobic, the difference between the left and the right would be further narrowed or even obliterated and that would be the end of politics and the rise of the Swedish Nazi National Party, to which the liberal or not so liberal citizens of the left, right and centre would all subscribe under Mr. Heil Hitler to fix everything for the Great Aryan Country.

The deportation of the Roma People from France looks like a litmus tests case of deporting those whose life-style seems to be a symbol of the forces of resistance which say no, to integration. Could the same happen here to those who do not want to assimilate or be assimilated?

Immigrants basically want to earn good money: that's the second reason why they're here anyway.

In June, this was a commentary on the Geert Wilders phenomena and the xenophobic wind of change blowing over an increasingly Islamophobic and anti-Semitic Europe:


Sweden is very different from Holland which to begin with had colonies and former Dutch-speaking colonial subjects many of whom are Muslim immigrated in large numbers, to Holland where at least they do not suffer from the problem of having a ”language handicap.” In 1986, there were thirteen mosques in the city of The Hague and this was whilst Holland, along with Sweden and Canada enjoyed the reputation of being the countries that took best care of their immigrants. That being the case, these countries have been favourite destinations for refugees and would-be immigrants from all the economically malnourished and politically& militarily implosive corners of the globe.

Even though it is believed by some that Sweden is under populated and a country of unlimited space, big enough to accommodate a few million more immigrants, there is also an awareness that the conservation of Swedish culture as we know it today could be under threat, once immigration goes beyond the saturation point. AS an exercise in what happens when you take away diversity of the palate: take away all the non-Swedish restaurants, cafés and little eat houses in Stockholm and what we'd have left would be a less exotic landscape of pure Swedish Cuisine.

The Sweden Democrats are still small@5.7% and you can be sure that they will not be resting on the oars. If anything Åkesson and his party are ambitious - and the next time round will be taking party in the party leaders debates and presenting their ideas directly to the Swedish people, with the intention of growing from strength to strength. The issues that they air will have to be addressed. Drastically, or less drastically. The issues cannot be ignored and – there is that fine balance of votes that you don't want to lose – even though sad to say, only 36% of immigrants who were eligible to vote for whoever they want, actually exercised their democratic right, but preferred not to vote.

You may wish them all well.
14:19 September 25, 2010 by Mike #1986
Correct but my point meaning Arabs and I'm not hear to support neither but I don't believe SD is only anti Muslim I believe there straight out a Racist bunch of rednecks who don't really give a 2 cent about you if your not Swedish.
14:33 September 25, 2010 by Marc the Texan
Unfortunately the Dutch murder their right wing politicians. And last I checked, Dutch cities were no longer Dutch. Is it any wonder the country lives in fear? Look what you have wrought.
15:32 September 25, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Mike #1986,

That being the case it should be interesting to take a closer look into the connection between Islamization as an overwhelming culture factor or force and the “indigenous Swedish culture” which anti-Islamists say it is poised to swamp/ destroy – forever change!

Take away a few Italian pizzerias and a few Kebab parlours and halal meat markets with roots deep in the Baghdad of history (culinary cultural factors) and what we still have is an increase in rabid anti-Semitism which is a part of Arab nationalism in the wake of Pan- Arab Nationalism which increased after the second world war with one Gamal Abdel. Nasser as its godfather. It's a potent formula and it's scientifically demonstrable comrades, that the rise of Islamism whether in Europe or the Middle East, goes hand in glove with an increase in anti- Semitism, and that wherever Muslims live, wherever it rears its ugly head is in direct proportion to the trials and tribulations of the Jews in Israel-controlled territory in contrast with the perennial vicissitudes of the Arabs living in the same territory…..


What is interesting to note here, is that what happens elsewhere affects us all. We don't want King Bob (Robert Mugabe) to start talking about “racist Sweden” in his next UN General Assembly speechifying from the floor – and yet we would like to fix things here, no matter what is happening elsewhere.


Am I clear?


How do we strike a delicate balance between the large numbers of Muslims who are more than 400,000 and here to stay and for example the small number of Jews in Moder Svea (less than 25,000 no matter how you count)? No, I admit that the two groups are not on a religious collision course and may have many Christian and atheist friends in between, even if there's “no neutral ground.” – here in our Sweden.

I also admit that there's an emotional current called Islam which links and unites Muslims and - for example in Malmö the headquarters of the Swedish axis you find a precarious existence of Jewish lives again in fear and flight , from you know whom.

These are grounds for genuine concern.

There is a majority of Swedish people, so is there a middle ground?

Can we weld the various diversities into a harmonious national whole, a United Sweden? United with a purpose.

As my Gambian friend said to the Dutch immigration official: “I'm Swedish: Here, it says so in my passport”

09:54 September 26, 2010 by wenddiver
@Bunnyoleson- Congratulations on the most intelligent post I have ever read in the Local. The Left tries to act like they are Sweden, instead of just one or two parties in Sweden.. They act like because they say Sweden is Islamic and import foriegn Muslims to push their agenda that the native Swedes who denounce them are some kind 0f deviants or rascists. They push their agenda at the price of Swedish Freedom of Speech and Freedom in general.

Stop giving the country away.
17:15 September 26, 2010 by Roy E
Could it be that Swedes are beginning to realize that the inevitable outcome end of successful multiculturalism , cultural relativism, and moral relativism efforts is the lowest common denominator? One would hope so.

It's good to see Swedes take pride in their identity and take a stand to start defending it. The Left's idea that one must subordinate their own culture and values in order to accommodate other cultures and values systems that are oftentimes diametrically opposed - in their own land is absurd and outrageous, for what the Left is asking is that people commit cultural and societal suicide. Why should the Swedish people volunteer to render themselves a 'once upon a time' footnote in the history books?

The Left cannot answer this, so the resort to the same old, tired name calling, vilification, and smear campaign tactics, but their increased volume cannot drown out the emerging facts.
18:45 September 26, 2010 by Sam1
I agree with many of your ideas and I think the Swedish goverment should adopt many of your ideas, But one problem you have is that you do not point your finger about what you have a problem with, you point your finger on all cultures and religions even christians and others non muslims who have black hair, and that is the cause of your inpoppularity umong others non Swedens, that Swedishness thing is making every one even finnish and Other Europians not agree with you, and makes you sound nazi.

If you say you have problem with ISLAM and ISLAMIC IMMIGRANT say it..DO something about it, Stop it, remove extremisim from Sweden, But dont attack all other cultures!!! I have nothing to do with Savage cultures but I m still staired at like Im one of those!!! and this stereotype should stop!!! Even the new generation muslims are different from their parents they are not extremist.

to sanction muslims in one place is a big mistake like Sodertälja or Vivalla or others*!****!!!
22:18 September 26, 2010 by superturbo
@Sam1, there are hardly any muslims in Södertälje. Most immigrants there are christian iraqis and not muslims...
00:05 September 27, 2010 by seagull
The sooner we get rid of the idiocy of religion the better. Everyone in the world is equal at birth. Parents passing ancient ludicrous dogma onto their children is what is causing all this hatred. There is no creatorr and jesus, mohamed, etc were just people.

Religion is the single biggest evil that man has ever created, and the proof of that is there to be read in the history books, and the history being written every day.

Life is beautiful without the need for all this sh.t. The colour of someones skin is totally irrelevant, but their ideaoligy IS relevant We should all be striving for equality, freedom of expression, and the ability to live our own lives as we wish within these simple boundaries ie treat people as equals, don't hurt them and try to make the best of it as you can. Nobody should be afraid to follow that path, and anyone threatening that should be dealt with...anyone, whether it be extreme right or left wing loonies, or extreme religious loonies should be dealt with...accordingly. There is no place for nazis, no place for mysoganistic or homophobic view, no place for abusers and cheats, just a place for people to get on with doing the best they can for themselves and those around them.

Please religious and political fanatics...can us ordinary folk please have the world back?
17:36 September 27, 2010 by Mike #1986

Bloody Brillant

and TRUE ..

maybe religion should be banned !!!

or the rules changed or immigrate to a religious state.
21:13 September 27, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Just watched Jeff Randall live on Sky News frothing with excitement about Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and all that. The programme was rounded off with a one to one discussion on immigration, with some immigration policy big shot or the other holding forth about policy. Apparently the influx of immigrants from EU countries such as Poland is more pronounced in the UK, than in Sweden. It seems that the immigration issue is in on the New Left Labour Agenda (the Union donated £28, 000 to Ed Miliband's cause and ideally their investment in and backing of his candidacy should produce the desired effect: Ed is to the left of his older brother David, and also to the left of Brown and Blair and this should be reflected in the New Left Labour policy and its implementation.

Next you will be asking me who are Mona Sahlin and Lars Holy to the left of? Carl Bildt of course but, needless to say, they are certainly not absolutely faithful to their founding father Carlos Marx.

Search Sky News: immigration




It looks like we (We Sweden and Great Britain) have some immigration problems in common but when Sverige Demokrater talk about it you want to shout them down with one word: racism.

As Malik al- Shabbazz said, “You can't have capitalism without racism.”

Mama Mia ! Mama Svea! If you are American and already full of fear, then this could confirm your worst nightmare – depending on whether you are for or against:

10:59 September 28, 2010 by Jarvilainennen
Sweden will have to deal with a lot of questions for sure. These questions cannot be left unanswered.

For example the islamisation of Europe -ÄPPP! Before this is being removed, please notice that in Germany the population is expected to be more than half non-german in near future.

This is real, not fantasy.

I do not see this so much as a threat but our concept of religion needs to grow alongside with this reality. We need to asess our feelings: "Is this what we wanted? how to move on?"

The migrants will need to come foward too, their voice is important.

Certain things need to be spoken aloud.
02:43 September 29, 2010 by jazzIIIlove
What if the counterpart of Voltaire may supress Voltaire's freedom of speech?
11:51 September 29, 2010 by stenhuggaren
16:50 September 29, 2010 by ww77ww
Good points in theory, but a general bias and note of condescention against those who question unlimited and insane levels of immigration to areas that logically need no more. I wonder which "values" Brunsveld believes are being attacked...the "value" of demographic and cultural suicide that seems to be a new European goal?
22:40 September 29, 2010 by amelie_l
@McChatter about France, where I come from, Le Pen and The National Front have lost popularity when the main right party, UMP, with their leader Nicolas Sarkozy, has started to adopt their arguments about immigration. We can reasonably suppose that it helped them a lot to win the last elections. But, as they always did, there is a huge difference between what they promised and what they actually do, if we put apart the decisions made about the burqa and the roms. So we can expect The National Front become popular again, or any other party that would try to carry on their ideas about immigration and security.

The other reason why The National Front doesn't grow more is that their leader is very old and has some remarks that feel completely out of date and make people doubt about his competence to lead the country nowadays, as well as some ideas of the party that are still quite sexist and homophobic, even if they have improved a bit on those subjects in the last years.

The last reason is that the problems that occur in France are no longer due to immigration, because they are caused by people of the second or third generation of immigrants from Africa, particularly from Maghreb. They are French citizens and can not be "send back" to a country where they did never live. The immigration policy I France has already been restricted, but too late.

The actions that the gouvernement should take now are either too expensive or too unpopular. France is becoming a poor country with a huge debt, mostly because it cannot change a very expensive public service that would strike for any reason and paralyse the country. So the government does almost nothing and things just get worse.

@stenhuggaren can you stop sending the same link in all articles of The Local that are about SD? I'm sure you could find words that can sound rasist or homophobic from many other politicians, not only SD, if you check all over their personal history.
11:35 September 30, 2010 by KungsholmenGuy
As mentionned in this and other post-article comments, the Modeteratena should supply real data on immigration and its contributions to the economy as well as its draw on welfare costs to enlighten the public, and, where necessary, modify immigration practices, to take the wind out of the SD's sails before the next election.

I was suprised to read several years ago that Canada was missing its immigration targets some years, which was leading to inflation there - a fact that was not widely unknown within Canada at the time.

As for racial feelings, I am against the importing of criminals, not particular races. The door should be open to decent, peace loving, and hard working people. I would be unwilling to admit some guy into my country who will kill me if I draw a picture of his religious leader on a piece of paper, and I can honestly say that I would also be unwilling to admit a beautiful Norwegian super model if she told me that she would kill me if I drew an image of the Norwegian Royal Family on a piece of paper. The same is true if the guy told me he would stone a woman to death for adultery, or if the Norwegian super model told me she would stone me or any of my male friends to death for adultery.

After the cartoons scandal in Denmark a few years ago, Iran did one excellent thing, which is that they had a cartoon contest shortly after that to make jokes about the Holocaust. The holocaust is something we normally never joke about, but frankly, after the Denmark thing, we deserved it, simply because this is probably the most offensive thing to us that they could joke about. But the key point here is that I applaud of response of bad jokes in response to our bad jokes, rather than murder in response to bad jokes.

So part of immigration reform should (I think) include interviews with people for the particular purpose of denying admission to people whose views are so extreme that they would commit murder or serious crimes for things that are not considered serious infractions here. We should not import hatred, or serious criminals, but all others are welcome.
15:11 October 2, 2010 by Icarusty
It is quite clear that as a race (as in, human) we are incapable of accepting - even tolerating differences. The answer is to screw genetic diversity and make everyone the same. Merge the best of all our genes together so we are just one mass of milky brown mush, with lightish brown hair and multicoloured eyes. We will stretch or squash people so they are all the same height - let's say 5 10 - and force everyone to stick to the same diet so there will be no skinnies or fatties. Finally, we will make everyone wear the same clothes, have the same thought patterns (again, through Pavlovian training).

Maybe then the human race will not hate each other.
03:38 October 15, 2010 by manrush
Tsk tsk tsk.

You right-wing teabagger xenophobe slime are as clueless as ever.
14:39 October 23, 2010 by roaringchicken92
"Challenge them to come up with viable, sustainable and long-term solutions that do justice to both your national agenda and the international framework."

In other words, come up with solutions that won't necessarily be effective, but that we think are acceptably close to what we were thinking. Precisely the "arrogance of self-righteousness" that was stated to be avoided three paragraphs later in the article. Maybe, just maybe, the national agenda/international framework are wrong, and that's why "fringe wackos" are trying to do something about it.

Here in the US, we've let the far left dominate the debate for two years and let them implement their ideas. Seems that 70% of the country hates their ideas, but we let them have their day.
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File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

The Local Recipes
How to make no-knead sourdough bread like a Swede
No-knead sourdough bread. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Swedes love their sourdough bread. Food writer John Duxbury shares his favourite Swedish recipe for a no-knead loaf.

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Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 26th
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‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

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