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'Downplaying racist taunts is like spitting in victims' faces'

29 Aug 2012, 15:52

Published: 29 Aug 2012 15:52 GMT+02:00

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That parents living in Forserum in Nässjö municipality didn't dare let their kids go to school for fear of reprisals is a tragedy.

It's a serious situation with racist aspects. This is nothing new, but rather appears to have been going on for a long time.

Last year there were 160 Somalis there and many have moved away because of xenophobia.

What has happened in Forserum is horrible but unfortunately not entirely unexpected. Matters there have been smoldering for a long time and the situation is complicated.

Of course the thugs who have been reported to the police ultimately bear responsibility, but the issue is much more complicated than that. Moreover, the events are the result of a failure on the part of municipality.

Forserum is a small community of about 2,000 inhabitants. It has received 160 of a total of 320 to 360 refugees who have come to Nassjö municipality.

This in itself is a dilemma.

When political leaders fail to present a well-thought through action plan for integration, that is a failure in itself. It places extra demands on a plan for integration when a large group of newcomers end up in a small town.

The Swedish state bears the financial responsibility for newcomers for the first two years after their arrival. After that, municipalities take over responsibility.

This presents a potentially huge financial expenditure on the part of Nässjö if these people don't find jobs. Failing to build networks and platforms for new arrivals leads to social exclusion for those involved and a financial hit for the municipality.

This requires political leadership and expertise.

Now, apparently, the number of Somalis in Forserum is around 60. As it stands, the racists have won the upper-hand. They have managed to scare many away.

The question is how Nässjö's local political leaders will choose to act going forward.

Social Democrat Bo Zander and his friends in the local council's governing majority, which includes the Left, Centre, and Liberal parties, need to do a great deal to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.

In addition, the issue of integration needs to be higher on the political agenda.

Local council member Anders Karlsson of the Centre Party should use the right name when referring to the actions of these gangs – namely, racism. The use of euphemisms to try to downplay the situation using words is cowardly.

Perhaps Karlsson and his friends in the leadership of Nässjö don't want the municipality to be portrayed as a nest of racism.

But if the victims experience the situation as xenophobic, that's what it is.

Trying to explain it away is like once again spitting in the faces of our Somali friends. But this time by a blazer-wearing, well-groomed, big-shot local Centre Party politician.

Story continues below…

Unfortunately, Forserum, in Nässjö municipality, in the highlands of Småland in south central Sweden is not unique. The only thing unique is here there is a group of thugs who, through beatings, stone throwing, spitting and other methods, have been physically harassing Somalis.

Those who silently watch also carry a responsibility. But political leaders' responsibilities are greater. Social exclusion creates barriers, which in turn lead to tensions and xenophobia.

It is time to break this chain.

Etelka Huber is a local Green Party politician in Nässjö municipality and a member of the local council as well as a substitute member the municipality executive board.

This article was originally published in Swedish on the Newsmill opinion website.

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Your comments about this article

16:39 August 29, 2012 by JohnAndersson
Once again The Local calls someone from The Environmental Party a member from the "Green Party" - these are two different parties in Sweden!!
16:44 August 29, 2012 by acidcritic
Is there any swede, englisman, norman, japanese or american that will refuse to win the lottery? No ¡¡ Swede has become a lottery for most peoples in the Earth. Therefore, there is nothing to do. You swedes must support, wether you like it or not your fate
12:02 August 30, 2012 by Grokh
if you put 160 people from another country into a population of 50.000 no one notices .

but in a population of 2.000 everyone notices and sides are taken.

This is just a reflection of bad management of integration in sweden.

Also putting all immigrants into one corner is the worse thing you can do.I been having difficulty learning swedish fluently, and some people live here for 20 years in areas where its just people from their own country so what happens is they dont bother or care about adapting to a new country.

and in the end we have what happens in gotemburg with neighbourhoods where its immigrant only and the swedes are the ones harassed.

The idiocy comes from both sides and bad planing.

in the case of these somalis they shouldnt be put there for obvious reasons.
12:28 August 30, 2012 by Svensksmith
@acidcritic Actually a lottery supports itself and makes a profit through the voluntary contributions of those who buy a chance at winning the jackpot unlike the poor taxpayer who has no choice but to contribute with no return.

Interesting that you think that coming to Sweden and getting on the gravy train is like winning the lottery. Says a lot about your mentality.
17:07 August 30, 2012 by HungarianAmerican1975
Perhaps the problem is not with the municipalities' failure to integrate the refugees properly. Just maybe, the problem lies with Government not asking Swedes (or anyone else in Europe for that matter) if they even want any foreigners in their country. Nah, THAT can't be it, let's simply label it racist, and then it doesn't even merit a conversation anymore...
17:18 August 30, 2012 by acidcritic
For svenskmth. You don´t understood my reply. In many aspects, Sweden is aparadis, that´s to say, a lottery. Therefore, even for people who do not intend to go to Sweden to live on social welfare, but to work hard to make a living, Sweden is a paradise, just becouse he has some chance of finding a job. Take Spain in comparison. To get a meaninfull job there, you must be very, very luky. Now, Spain is in Europe. Think in the people from underdeveloped countries in Africa. For peole that has nothing, anythinh is a lottery.
18:30 August 30, 2012 by TG22
"Those who try to explain away the racism experienced by Somalis in Forserum in south central Sweden are simply adding insult to injury"

Absolutely, the same goes to those who try to "explain" the atrocities committed by Muslims terrorists...
18:37 August 30, 2012 by notaswed
acidcritic@ you dont over generalize as if Africa is bunch of poverty stricken planet and its immigrants to Sweden is synonymous to winning a lottery...If people come here for humanitarian reasons do you need to make a ridicule of it? Natural disasters and misunderstandings leading to war can arrise anywhere and that shouldnt provide grounds for thinking less of the victims.

On the other hand, migration today is global thing, its not only Africans that move from their country to another, there are countless number of Swedes moving to the US everyday, countless number of Europeans moving to settle in Australia and neither your or anybody else see or finds an issue with that, its the same perception you should have towards african, asian or any other migrant. The world is big and I reckon you need to explore more for yourself!
18:44 August 30, 2012 by Svensksmith
@acid If you are in Sweden to work hard and make a better life for yourself, God bless you. Good luck in your endeavors.
02:34 August 31, 2012 by jomamas
clearly multiculturalism does not work, so end the policy of mass immigration.
10:46 August 31, 2012 by tanimjubaer
If Sweden continues to import only people with low skill set and does not help them to improve their skills, these problems will only increase............

Nowadays, it is very easy for someone to misunderstood Swedish society, they can sense "Hidden Nationalism". The young Swedes can only see stupid foreigners and other colors and start believing in "Superior race" theory. Still most mature Swedes are devoid of this kind of fake ideas.let's see what happens in next 10-15 years....

Only time can tell
12:53 August 31, 2012 by acidcritic
Svenskamth and other. I don´t live in Sweden. I don´t intend to go to Sweden I don´t intend to move from my country. If that worries you, Be quiet. Once again I was misunderstod. The world has involuted in such away that poverty is growing at an accelerated rate. In a few years, most of humanhood will be very poor and, therefore ready to imigrate, given a chance to do that. On the other hand Global Climate Change is advancing . Becouse of those reasons, no country- including Sweden will be free of massive imigrations. Now is the turn of nordic countries to support migration pressures. Tomorrow all of you will be forced to migrate, climate change- a new Ice Age- will force you to do that. Therefore, you, and the people of the other developed countries- once again wether you like it or not- must come to terms with those facts, To resist them and discharge your fears hate and dispair on imigrants is fully irrational. In the end, human race is going to disapear, swedes included. We are killing ourselves.Is´nt it?
17:01 August 31, 2012 by calebian22
I love when morons get their science from movies with Dennis Quaid.
18:51 August 31, 2012 by Svensksmith
Better lay off the acid. It's affecting your brain.
22:37 August 31, 2012 by RobinHood
Note to Sweden. Next time you drop 160 refugees and immigrants into a community of 2 000 people, ask the locals how they feel about it first. If you listen to, and respect their views, things might go much better next time.
00:26 September 1, 2012 by Eyeswideopen
Sweden started out with nobility to take in refugees, expecting the number to be a trickle. This turned into a torrent and eventually..., who knows. Instead of dumping people in small communities, Sweden would do better to join forces with other countries to stop pumping aid to the corrupt Somali government which has been officially reported again of gross misappropriation, and instead ensure that Somalis don't want to leave their country by using aid to reward efforts at real democracy, provide investment grants to rebuild their agriculture and pastoral industries, the mainstays of the country and also rid the place of terrorists so that peace can reign and natural entrepreneurs can rebuild commerce, create jobs etc. A tall order, but what is the alternative scenario for Sweden, Scandinavia and the rest of Europe?
09:59 September 1, 2012 by Camlon
I know nothing about that community. If there is open racism it should be dealt with.

However, have they ever thought that maybe Somalis are leaving because they don't want to live in a town with 2000 people and not due to racism? Immigrants want to live in Stockholm, Gothenborg or Malmø. The only reason they went to that town is because the government forced them to.

Talking about Malmø. When is Swedish politicians going to care about racism against Jews in Malmø.
17:23 September 1, 2012 by basenbeats
This is again a sign of nazi ideals in this lowly, pathetic community. why on earth are you going to blame poor refugees that escaped from a war torn country? what have they done to you? pathetic swedes
00:00 September 2, 2012 by Köz
I was in one swedish city as a Masters student for 2 years finally its over and I am back home.

I observed so many racists spitting on the ground when I was passing through.Thanks for the Masters Sweden but if I would know Sweden is full of racist people I would never step on their land.

I should add that I met very nice friendly Swedes too but the article is about racism in Sweden so I exactly know how it is and I thought I should write a comment.

I am glad its over for me. I wish good luck to foreign people living in Sweden.
22:38 September 2, 2012 by haladeen
acidcritic, you are way beyond being paranoic, you are talking nonsense.

Sweden, good luck integrating somalis and islam! Multiculture must be wonderful, eh?
23:58 September 3, 2012 by kaeru
integration does not work, its just a failed policy created by the failure that is mass immigration
07:26 September 4, 2012 by Gamla Hälsingebock
There is nothing wrong with racism.

Everybody at some time or another is a racist...I say bravo!

It's the way humans are!

If the situation was reversed...the current third world being on top...would they not like European refugees flooding into their small cities in droves?

You bet they wouldn't!
12:43 September 4, 2012 by G Kin
@Gamla Hälsingerbock

You sound like sour grapes!!! Very sour grapes ....
12:53 September 4, 2012 by rise
The only way of stopping the mass immigration would probably be to start putting refugees in the same luxurious quarters as our decision-making politicians are living in. That would force the politicians to start facing the reality and hopefully stop being only hypocrites.
22:46 September 4, 2012 by prince T
@gamlejävlahälsinge Is a nazist and should be shipped to grrece, yugoslavia, ukraine or russian. Over there racism is okay. You do not get arrested for racist attact except CNN is there.

Racist behaviour back fires. I agree with@rise that the somalians should be moved to the luxury area.
10:46 September 5, 2012 by Kemi
Etelka Huber, why don't you try living in a neighborhood where all your immediate neighbors are somalians and put your children in school or daycare where the majority can't speak, read or write in Swedish for a couple of years then come back and talk. We'll listen with much more respect for you then.

Otherwise don't tell your fellow citizens that something not good enough for you is what they should gladly accept. That, is like spitting in their faces.
08:37 September 6, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

I do not believe this story to be true. I have read the history

of Sweden a couple of times and I can assure that it is a big lie that

1.- Sweden collaborated with the Nazis, before, during and after the WWI

2.- Sweden allowed trains filled with about two million Nazi soldiers to cross over its territory to finish with its neighbour Norway.

3.- Jewish graves are frequently vandalized in cities like Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg.

4.- A big artist with the name of Lars Vilks insulted Islamic religion

by portraying Mahoma as a dog.

5.- Stockholm is a commune where in some of its cities you can see more and more women dressed with the so called hijab type of dress.

6.- You see more and more coloured people in Sweden's capital.

7.- Sweden's multiculturalism and inmigration policies have been a flop.

8.- Corruption is growing amongst Swedish authorities, State companies and politicians.

9.- A political party, Democrats of Sweden, is of no importance to the future of the country. That its leader, a man with the name of Jimmy Åkesson, should not be taken into account.

10.-There is a pack of racists hiding inside the Swedish government.
11:39 September 6, 2012 by motti
I fail to understand the lack of information on Local regarding the demonstration by 1200 people in Stockholm city centre who had the courage to support Israel.

I read this encouraging story in the Israeli press,as a counter against the like of the nazi Malmoe mayor and the agitators who accuse Israel of everything. C'mon Local, show some good good news.
14:02 September 10, 2012 by entry
@ 12:53 September 4, 2012 by rise

"The only way of stopping the mass immigration would probably be to start putting refugees in the same luxurious quarters as our decision-making politicians are living in. That would force the politicians to start facing the reality and hopefully stop being only hypocrites."

That is a breath of fresh air rise. I think the same should be done with criminals on parole and pedophiles.
11:16 September 11, 2012 by Scambaiter
I see that as usual this story has attracted a mob of bigots, islamophobes, racists and utter morons, most of whom have never been near Sweden in their lives.

I live in Sweden, in a "multi-cultural" working-class suburb (still predominantly 'native" Swedish) and I like it!. Most of us like it.

Bet none of the riff raff and troublemakers on this forum can say the same thing, so why don't you MYOB?
17:16 September 14, 2012 by jimmyjames
You never hear about these things happening in Japan. Thats because the Japanese, a very cultured, tier one, educated, industrial country will tell you in a micro-milli-second that Japan has for thousands of years and will continue to be for Japanese and Japanes only. Are they hearless and without charity, no. The Japanese send billions od dollars in food aid, in advanced medical aid, industrial aid, cash money and everything imaginable to ALL COUNTRIES IN NEED. However, under no circumstances do they allow immigrants to enter and settle in their country. My Japanes friends are honestly perplexed by European countries seeming insistance on "cutting its own throat". The concept of multi-culturism is alien to them, they do not understand why you would purposely destroy your own culture and history to accomodate another. To use the terms "racist" and "bigot" just because a person favors their own people over another is again incomphrehensable to them. Would you favor a complete stranger over a member of your own family ?? A person who would do that is just plain stupid. People need help,help them DO NOT BRING THEM HOME AND PUT THEM IN YOUR BED.
05:17 October 13, 2012 by TheWatchman
Bringing a 3rd world country into a 1st world country doesn't work, at all. Why does in no Western nation, the government actually ask its own citizens whether to accept foreigners?

Japan is a great country which maintains its own culture. In 100 years, there will be no Swedish culture. There will be Japanese however.
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