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'To hell with traditional Swedish behaviour'

30 Nov 2012, 11:24

Published: 30 Nov 2012 11:24 GMT+01:00

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A few weeks ago I wrote about tripping over on the pavement, and how even with bleeding knees I didn't get help from anyone, in fact not even getting a single glance in my direction – which I felt people did on purpose.

Now it’s happened again, but to someone utterly undeserving of such treatment.

An older gentlemen on the train to Uppsala wanted to buy a ticket but didn’t have a credit card. He asked the other passengers if anyone could pay for him and said he'd give them the equivalent sum in cash instead.

Nobody helped him. Nobody even looked at him.

You know that feeling when people just keep on walking, pretending nothing has happened?

Or when people’s first reaction to someone asking for help is suspicion. And how we ourselves have stopped asking for help simply because that fear of suspicion holds us back.

Or when people only care about their own time and their own lives?

I ended up paying for the old man’s ticket. It turned out we were heading in the same direction and we chatted for a while.

He told me how people don’t see him as human. He got upset.

I told him I was about to give two lectures that day in two different cities to about 600 teenagers.

I promised to tell them to see their fellow humans as fellow humans, explaining that holding talks is what I do best.

The old man’s face lit up; he looked happy.

Fuck Sweden, I thought to myself.

Fuck traditional Swedish behaviour, to be more precise.

What’s my conclusion here? That my country disappoints me.

Everyone’s gone through this – not only as a witness but as an active participant, when you notice that you act this way yourself.

We see people bickering in public and we just walk past. We see people hurt themselves and we just walk past.

We see someone who is sad and we just walk past.

We see a person without a home and we just walk past.

We see someone who simply needs help for whatever reason and for some reason we – just – walk – past.

When was the last time we acted like fellow human beings in Sweden?

We’ve become incredibly good at disengaging our responsibility to other people. We’ve disavowed that responsibility. Everyone is on their own, everyone keeps away from others.

Swedish culture has made passivity the norm.

We trust that society’s structures will carry the weight of that responsibility and that unburdens us.

The worst thing for me is seeing how people are fascinated by the few who actually do step in and help.

That Swedes are shocked when people help each other shocks me more than Swedes in general never helping.

That shock tells me that something isn't right. We have been indoctrinated to disengage.

We’ve become so good at disengaging that even those of us who complain about Swedish behaviour don’t truly break out of the pattern ourselves.

We call ourselves the Twitterati, talking heads, and star reporters à la Swedish House Media.

Therein lies the comedy (read tragedy). We judge people who behave badly but we don’t take the opportunity to think about our own behaviour.

We don’t judge our own passivity.

Or the passivity of our friends.

When someone we perceive to be on our side says something offensive we just let it pass. We pretend nothing happened. Or we make excuses for them.

And even though we might spread Martin Luther King Jr. quotes on our Facebook page with righteous pride, we find it hard to live up to his words: “The greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people”.

Swedes like to react when big bad things happen. But not when they happen in everyday life.

The problem is that a society is built up by the small things that happen in everyday life.

Story continues below…

When we engage we’ll give money to distant villages in developing countries; we might sponsor a child; send an SMS contribution when charity galas take place following large-scale calamities.

We do not engage in everyday life and we do not care about each other.

Similar problems underline racism and discrimination. We don’t see it because we have good lives.

It's easy to distance yourself from a reality that you cannot experience in the same way that the victim of racism and discrimination does.

We don’t even get close because we live safe and secure lives that were given to us for free. Take note of the word free. The life that most Swedes have been given was given to them mostly for free.

The only people who rattle our cage are the Sweden Democrats.

It’s time to change the norm. We’ve discussed the need to be good Samaritans, but this isn’t the topic today. It’s about waking about and treating each other like human beings.

Honestly. What the hell are we doing, Sweden? Why do we even deserve to live?

I’m throwing down the gauntlet to you, you who are reading this right now: How do you act towards your fellow humans, if you’re totally honest?

Are you one of the people who just walks on by? And, if you’re totally honest, why?

Milad Mohammadi is a 23-year-old columnist for the Nyheter24.se news website, a public speaker, and a youth worker at Fryshuset in Stockholm.

This column was originally published in Swedish on Nyheter24.se. Translation by The Local.

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Your comments about this article

13:51 November 30, 2012 by djmarko
many valid questions, no surprises as to no answers, minding ones business is ok but in a public place when an individual clearly needs help and its not given, thats really bad, we do not know when we might need another person intervention
14:20 November 30, 2012 by EmployedProfessional
AMEN to that!

I've tried so hard not to fall into this crappy pattern that I'm surely ridiculed for being open,alive in the winter and caring about my co-workers,friends and neighbours when they need some this as simple as lending my ear.Those would be the jealous ones,to be sure.

Thanks for the wake-up call Milad,I will monitor my actions a little more closely for at least the rest of the day...
15:05 November 30, 2012 by Eagle63
Good points. When looking for a country to emigrate to (from overcrowded, congested Netherlands) we selected Canada (Alberta) instead of Sweden.

Canada, the True North Strong and Free; where strangers greet each other in the streets, something hardly ever seen in Sweden...
16:38 November 30, 2012 by Sheila Craig
A young Muslim girl was sobbing uncontrollably outside my local librarythe other day I thought it was a cry for help. Instinctively stopped and talked to her and maybe a dozen people walked on by, curious but not enough to offer help. Very odd I'm English by the way.

I say Hej to everyone I meet in my neighbourhood. Strangely enough the young always reply and smile,. Keep working on it.
17:15 November 30, 2012 by skatty
Actually, this is what has enforced me to think about Sweden for a long time.

As an example, many times in different countries, it has happened for me to stand on cross roads or bus stations with my head in a map to figure out my position, and many times many people came from and helped without even being questioned by me. Some just came from and asked if I am lost, or need help! Most of the times, I shocked, or felt very suspicious to see somebody try to help without being questioned by me, never happened for me in Sweden!

In the point of view that I have lived in Sweden for very long time (luckily, I am not a Swede); somehow, I have received Swedish behaviors and way of looking to other people; so, I don't help if nobody ask me for help, not even if I see somebody needs help, and feel suspicious if somebody wants to help me when I am not asking for help!

A Swede does not want to be bothered. The rationality of a Swede is that I am paying tax, and paying lot of tax for everything should be fixed by the system. I am going out and demonstrate for human right, but don't like to have neighbors from a developing country (especially Africans!).

The Swede sits on top of the planet near the North Pole, keep telling the world what is wrong and right, how everybody should keep the peace, how human should measure the humanity by Swedish standards, how people in the world should vanish the poverty and help each others; when it itself has one the highest rate of arm dealing and weapon production, highest level of discrimination and unemployment between its own immigrants, open racism, segregation, underclass immigrants doomed to poverty for life time.
18:29 November 30, 2012 by sweedy82
Slight generalisation, no?
20:14 November 30, 2012 by mullengracia
Well, I am sorry to hear about this. I am from Barcelona and read this news because I have family in Sweden. I have been with my family visiting in Stockholm and I loved the city and specially the well-mannered behaviour of Swedes, something I am not accostumed to. I have this notion that Sweden is a great country to live in because of your social and political structures, which provide protection and a bright future for all generations.

As for people, I only know my family, and they are great. Sure they are not like Spanish people, so lively, but they are certainly very warm, honest and good-hearted people, which, believe you me, it is really hard to find.

We love Sweden, but I suppose, like any other countries, it has got flaws, we have them too, you just have to check the news.
20:49 November 30, 2012 by cogito
It is good to see young people questioning the big myth about Solidarity Sweden. This young man is the good face of multi-culturalism.
20:52 November 30, 2012 by Enjoyourlife
And gradually i am now behaving cruel and inhuman. Hope I will not take this attitude with me when I finally return home. When I visited Paris, the atmosphere was so different. Thank God we have a lot of associations here from my country. We party all the time and help those in need. life is so sweet but too short to waste on people who have chosen not to be happy.
21:32 November 30, 2012 by giri
what fellow humans?

Swedish system is based on deception. Do you honestly think Sweden grants asylum to "selected" group of countries because they are so hurt by the war affected suffering people. NO! they want a second class- citizens for second class jobs! Why Sweden have not adapted a skilled migration scheme as other developed countries? Why Swedes are silent when Universities like Uppsala and Stockholm run sweatshops of PHD students?

Get real! face the facts!
23:41 November 30, 2012 by Storsjöodjuret
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
23:53 November 30, 2012 by clearandpresenttruth
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
00:00 December 1, 2012 by Storsjöodjuret
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
02:30 December 1, 2012 by SecondGen
Well, I live in a big city (Chicago, USA to be exact). Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has subways, elevated electric trains (the EL), bus and regular diesel passenger trains too.

On CTA trains we are constantly bombarded by people asking you to give them money because the lord saved them from crack, crank or some other drug or just give them money to feed their 14 kids. I never give money but I bought one a hotdog rather than give him money because they'll just spend it on drugs (the guy didn't seem happy when I said I'll buy you a hotdog at that stand either).

You try to avoid looking at the crazy people because once you make eye contact, they are all over you (that's how I ended up buying the hot dog, he followed me off the train and had become like Velcro).

If you take out your wallet and someone sees something they like they grab it and run, or they see your iPhone and the go "apple picking" (which is what they call it when stealing apple hardware - we've had people killed on the EL in iPhone robberies)

If you're in a big city, your best bet is to keep your belongings out of view.
07:10 December 1, 2012 by shabana
I disagree based on my experience: On my first visit to the bank after landing in sweden , i faced a snow storm in kalmar and as i held holding onto a private fence, a middle aged couple stopped their car and asked me where i wanted to go and if i knew the way and they asked me to get into the car. They dropped me to the bank though it was in the opposite direction to which they were driving.

Another touching episode was my friends from school, Fredrick and Anne louis took me to a shopping mall for winter wear(which i had none) and found the best for me even trying the shoes out while holding my feet. All this when I had just known them for a few hours.

will always love sweden and its people. Maybe they prefer to help people in need and not those who can help temselves
11:08 December 1, 2012 by grymagnusson
a case of: be the change you want to see in the world.

we have it in our power to do something about this - lend a hand, a smile, exchange a few words, offer a lift, hold open a door.

don't give up and we can change the more officious, stand offish facade that prevails. there is warmth underneath it just needs a little encouragement to come out.
13:31 December 1, 2012 by godnatt
Trying not to puke in my mouth after reading this...

An "activist" against discrimination making awful far reaching blanket generalizations about an entire nation of people.

This is so thick with hypocrisy and double standards it almost seems like a joke.

What generalizations can we make about you based on background Mr. "Muhammadi"?
16:18 December 1, 2012 by skumdum
Milad Muhammadi is obviously a racist because this is "hets mot folkgrupp"
18:13 December 1, 2012 by Lagomlive
Om svenskarna är obekväma besvara en hälsning vid inträdet en hiss eller ett rum, inte konstigt folk ignorerar de flesta komprometterande omständigheter.

The Swedes do not bother to answer a greeting upon entering an elevator or a room. It should not be surprising that react well in more compromising situations.
08:20 December 2, 2012 by BeatrizM
I cannot add any more questions to this. I was fortunate to work in a few MNCs and one of the companies was Swedish. My experience with that company during my short tenure had a huge impact on me and I had always thought that each and every act of theirs was a genuine one. It was a world without the advanced Information Technology!

It was only when I wrote a small book that I came to know of their 'other side'. My book was a key to unlock the generosity and humane side of that nation. Yes, it was not only that all my hopes were washed away by my tears but more crucial was that all the whiteness was washed away from their exterior walls and I realized how wrong I was in understanding these so called kind and generous people from a country known for their kindness, respect, justice and 'teddy bears' worldwide. I must thank Google because of which I am/was able to get all information at the click of a button.

I wish that Swedish company read this email of mine and if they believe in values and principles let them acknowledge my letters and emails sent to them including this one.

Thanks a lot for publishing this article.

Beatrice Mendes
15:25 December 2, 2012 by Migga
The writer is a joke. He sees one old man fall and based on that he goes on to generalize about 9 million people. He bashes Sweden, Swedes and their values based on that one thing. Sure he might have a point that more people should act and not leave it up to the state, but to bash an entire country is just a joke. And it is hardly something swedish or something that only happens in Sweden. In every major city where people from all over live togheter will make it harder for one another to identify or feel sympathy for eachother.
19:20 December 2, 2012 by indianinvaxjo
Yes i agree swedes mind 'THEIR' own business, but this article is far too generalised. I know personally swedes who helped me when i was in need without my asking.
20:52 December 2, 2012 by cogito
An elderly lady neighbor told me about tripping and falling in central Stockholm. She could not get up, just sat in the gutter wondering what to do.

Everyone walked by, no offers to help. Finally someone stopped, asked her if she would like a taxi or an ambulance. It was a Turkish immigrant.

@indianivvaljo: No, Swedes don't mind their own business. They are possibly the world's greatest busybodies. It's all done behind those twitching curtains and checking out the websites where they can snoop into the neighbors' finances....''
21:01 December 2, 2012 by Eric1
The writer of this opinion piece need to examine his biases, possible racism and distortions of Swedish society. Try living in a Muslim country and experience the violence and racism against Caucasians. While I'm not a Swede, I have experienced compassion of several Swedes while traveling (many years ago) and running out of money. I did repay them.

Haters come in all colors, religions, political beliefs, nationalities.
21:10 December 2, 2012 by Iraniboy
It reads "We trust that society's structures will carry the weight of that responsibility and that unburdens us."

And this has worked in Sweden better than any other country! In other countries, you have never fixed the structure hoping that a helpful man happen to pass by?! That is too unreliable and that would only work if you are not subject to prejudice!

Then I can comment on the examples:

- Being helped without asking is not acceptable in Sweden. They find it intrusive! So it is not strange that they don't offer it either!

- There are a zillion different ways of money fraud so it is not strange people cannot trust that cash for credit offer.

- A man bleeding on the street can get a free transportation and the required medication in the hospital. So what's the fuss?! People help in other countries since these services are not free there!
22:41 December 2, 2012 by Eric1
By the comments, it doesn't look like the readers are drinking the kool aide.
04:28 December 3, 2012 by fareasttiger
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:30 December 3, 2012 by clearandpresenttruth
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:23 December 3, 2012 by geogradient
Thank you Milad for your comments, we need to remove our fears to help each other, is not Swedish behaviour, is human behavior taken place not only in Sweden, but observed in Sweden as well.

Check the link below for a video, showing how our daily actions can make a big difference in any society we live in.
12:39 December 3, 2012 by RobinHood
Oh my! The moderator has been kept busy by this one.

I'm sure all of Sweden is sorry about Mr Mohammadi's negative opinions of Swedish culture.

Of course all cultures have positive and negative aspects. A diatribe focusing purely on the negative traits of the Swedes is just a rant - and not far from a racist rant at that. Anyone who lives in Sweden (or anywhere else) can write such bluster; I can write one for you now if you want the Local.

People who live here (except for poor Mr Mohammadi) know that Sweden is a fantastic country, and that Swedes are a fantastic people who, aside from a few peccadilloes, one accurately highlighted here by Mr Mohammadi, are extremely generous and tolerant; particularly to those of Mr Mohammadi's background. They deserve better than this.

Perhaps the Local's busy moderator might remember that racism is a two way street, that many people find it unacceptable going either way, and take a minute to consider if this should really have been printed at all.
13:04 December 3, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Complaining how Sweden doesn't take care of others? Yet why is the authors family here? Talk about biting the hand that feeds.
13:40 December 3, 2012 by Kevin Harris
The Swedes are just one culture living in Sweden. There are several others - particularly in the major cities.

What if I were to write a critique of one of those cultures? The Romani, or immigrants from Africa for example. What if I headed it "To Hell With Traditional Romani Behaviour"? What would I be? And what if the Local were to print it, what would it be?

This piece is divisive and unhelpful at a time when the Sweden Democrats are gaining such support. Take it down immediately.
13:47 December 3, 2012 by jimbo83
I am from Scotland, but spend around four or five weeks per year in Sweden. I am always a little surprised by the lack of general interaction between people - on buses, standing in line in shops etc. At home people tend to chat to each other in these situations - granted it's all pointless small talk but still...!

I was a taken aback a few weeks ago when, on a train from Helsingborg to Malmo, sitting near the bathroom, I observed two small children join the end of a short queue. The younger child (around four years old) was visibly in dire need of using the facilities; his discomofrt was obvious and yet not one adult in that queue offered to let the child use the bathroom before them. It seemed strange! Maybe not? Is it just me?

Swedes do have a great many postive attributes and I enjoy spening time there but they can be an odd bunch! ;-)
14:18 December 3, 2012 by fareasttiger
I know exactly why they're here, the welfare state! Where else you don't have to go to work and still live like a king? Still have 3 wives and 20 children?
14:55 December 3, 2012 by rramirez
This is a very unconvincing article. From reading it, I think the author was looking for an excuse to write an angry article and this one incident served that purpose. Most of what is written here includes unsubstantiated and specific accusations directed at an entire population. Its not thought through, its just a list of theoretical gripes - pretty lazy stuff. Sweden is not perfect and Swedes can be idiosyncratic but overall this is a pretty amazing society and culture. It is important that we listen to people like Mr Mohammadi, and once we have listened to them and understand their agenda it is important that we ignore them.
15:37 December 3, 2012 by alexsandr
hoppar inte till slutsatser! svenskar inte en dalig nation. de ar bara inte beredda att ga pa kontakt. atminstone respekterade ryska skandinaver. och hur gor du tid i moskva sparvagn- fem personen fran kaukasus till kommentatar akande betala biljettpriset. drog sina knivar och hogg sex personer.
16:25 December 3, 2012 by Sense and logic
Much safer and friendly in Sweden than where he originates from, he can always return.
16:40 December 3, 2012 by stockholm-commuter
Having lived for 5 years in Stockholm I can only say that I always was helped when needed. I recall that oon a nice winter day I got stuck with two wheels in the deep snow on a road curb inbetween Arlanda and Uplands Väsby. Every single car (really every of around 20 cars) stopped to ask if I needed help. Although I had organized help still a few stepped out and wanted to help so that I would get out of the cold. Having lived and worked in India, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Malaysia and visited many other countires I can say that Swedes are generally very good people to live and work with. In any case the most important thing anywhere is: smile at the world and it smiles back at you - send it to hell and it will meet you there!
17:31 December 3, 2012 by alexsandr
hoppar inte till slutsatser! svevskar inte en dalig nation. de ar bara inte beredda att ga pa kontakt. atminstone respekterade ryska skandinaver. och hur gor du tid i moskva sparvagn- fem personen fran kaukasus till kommentar akande betala biljettpriset. drog sina knivar och hogg sex personer. val hur ar det for ett exempel.
18:54 December 3, 2012 by abb8
I couldn't agree more with the author. The problem is the hypocritical nature of Swedish culture - they certainly do not live up to the moral pedestal they put themselves on.
20:32 December 3, 2012 by godnatt
The unconscionable irony is that legions of people of Mr. Muhammedi's cultural background have come crawling to Sweden to escape the barbarity, cruelty and backwardness of their own culture to beg for santuary from the kind and generous Swedes...

Truly nauseating stuff.
20:48 December 3, 2012 by HolySmoke
I was just wondering, the author wrote : "F*ck Sweden". I have the feeling that if I would write " f*ck an [put the name of a religion]" or f*ck a [put the name of a country]" I would have been censored by "The Local". Curiously if one curse Sweden, the US or France then it is acceptable.
21:20 December 3, 2012 by napoleon
With all my respects Milad. Do you know what is under a ponytail ? ! an ashole !

Further more this kind of principles that you have wiil make life miserable. Be possitive my friend.
21:50 December 3, 2012 by djmarko
Cant people accept constructive criticism?? telling him to go back from where he originates is so juvenile, it might actually prove he has a point!! i dont neccessarily agree with all his points but i have observed one one 2 things he mentioned, at the same time he should have given a balanced view, maybe mentioning something out of the norm, one cant lump everyone in the same basket, if i see any human that clearly needs help, the English in me will always ask if they need assistance!!
22:36 December 3, 2012 by kanjo
Oh my, each country has good people and bad people. I have met Swedes who are helpful and those who are not. I must point out that the Swedes who helped me are those who are religious and those who have traveled abroad at some point. One nice young lady found me stuck with a map in my hand and helped me without me even asking for the help. So I guess, we should just encourage more to do the same and yes compared to other countries Swedes tend to keep a distance and they also know that. this does not mean they are bad, but in itself it is not good.
22:41 December 3, 2012 by Agnes B
I am trying to send a comment but it doesn't come through. Can I send it via my email. What's your email address.
22:49 December 3, 2012 by dizzymoe33
I live in a country that has over 300 million people there so I can't help everyone. But I do what I can to help my neighbors/friends/family and the local community. You have to trust your instincts when wanting to help someone though otherwise you can end up in a very dangerous situation. But if someone has fallen and I am standing there I would offer assistance. I couldn't just walk on by like nothing is happening.
03:54 December 4, 2012 by fareasttiger
I now firmly believe that most swedes don't like their own people, that's why they will not rest until the have destoyed themselves completely. How else can anyone explain this madness? Common sense is not so common, and that is very true in every sense. My prediction, that the SD will get 20% in 2014, and I can not say that im sad. The enemy of my....?
13:21 December 4, 2012 by Sadiqmalik
I am not swedish national but i have been here for last 2 and half year.. I have experienced alot of cases where people just walk away.. I personally never do that.. I try to help everyone no matter what..

But i think its something about the system too Swedish system made it like just care about yourself and leave the rest because the system is responsible.. i think alot of people really want to treat human fellows as human fellows but something stop them doing that and that is SYSTEM... I have couple of examples.. i have helped a drunk guy and stayed with him for more than three hours in cold until the help came ( I am happy about that) now the case where people give up... I tried to help an old lady in buss as she were standing when all adults were sitting i asked the lady to take my seat but she rudely refused to take the seat and replied "Jag behöver inte".. then couple of days ago one old man was bleeding from his nose i tried to give him some papers to clean up the blood but he refused to take my paper and took his own paper that was a way dirty but somehow i kept looking at him if he needs any further help and then his gloves fell down and took it and handed him when he is done cleaning his nose but then he had no choice to take the gloves from me...

there are many other cases i tried to help specially old people but seems like they feel ashame to take the help..

so i think its wrong to blame all the people yeah but the system who made us so selfish to depend only on system than HUMANS...
14:26 December 4, 2012 by Irenegarnit
i am immigrant also in SWEDEN and i absolutely DISAGREE!! i just think that swedes are very helpful and kind . i love swedes society, this morning i just get offered by stranger while i was walking in -19 degree cold weather, she offered me to go in and she drive me to buss station. i think ITS NOT FAIR JUST TO JUDGE SWEDES BY JUST AN EVENT THAT HAPPENED TO YOU. never ever justify person just because it happens once to u.
16:02 December 4, 2012 by Pakistani_Student
so true, agree with everything the writer mentioned. Sweden is a hollow society with no human values at all, they think everything a human being in a society needs is given by the government infrastructure, and its not that hard to find out how the swedes developed this idea and is so deeply inculcated into every swede out there. But yeah those swedes who have gone abroad and saw the world a bit tend to behave differently and have much more pleasant interaction in their daily lives. Its just comes down to that fact, just like the cold weather of sweden, the swedes have also become cold and i do not think this is going to change any time soon...
16:18 December 4, 2012 by delfinita
Oh my...

Anyone with a little travelling behind them has witnessed this kind of reaction in EVERY biggish city in the world. I have.

I also have witnessed the opposite.

I think this would be fine to be directed to people in general, so we think about our own behaviour, but directing it to just one nation when we can see this happen every day, everywhere we go... just gives me the chills.

I was crying a lot on a restaurant precisely last week, and i had a very nice swedish woman sitting next to me hand me a package of kleenex. She smiled and just gave them to me. I gave them back once i calmed down and thanked her for her kindness. I am also pregnant and nobody moves a finger when i come in the bus and its full and i need a place to sit. It annoys me. But so what. This doesnt represent the whole of Sweden .

I am sick and tired of coming to the Local and reading about how bad Sweden is. If it is, then freaking leave, the world is big and we dont need more moaners here. I understand it is difficult for many, it is for me, but it was also when i lived in other places, including my own hometown. I really dont find it any different than typical behaviour in certain places.

Refering to Swedes as "not having human values at all" is downright disrespectful to the land you are living in. If you want to live among humans, then go elsewhere. I am happy living among the humans here, thank you very much. Its so sad, most of the people complaining about it know very little about swedes or have made NO EFFORT to integrate. I see this every day. Integrating in a new society takes a lot of time and effort from YOU, not from THEM. They are here and have their lives, why would they bother on YOU? You are the foreigner, make the effort. It does pay off, every inmiogrant i have talked to that has managed to integrate agrees.

So whaveter....
17:34 December 4, 2012 by Migga
@ delfinita

You are completely right. This happens everywhere and is definetly not something uniquely swedish. I would be suspicious towards anyone who bash an entire country and it`s population based on something so one sided.
18:30 December 4, 2012 by giri
hmm...shooting the messenger eh??
18:53 December 4, 2012 by AfroSwede
When ever am smoking cigarettes on the street alot of Suedes comes to me and asking if i have an extra instead of asking their fellow Suedes.
20:40 December 4, 2012 by wxman
So the author thinks there are aspects of Swedish culture need to be changed? I'm certain no culture is perfect, and certainly there may be room for improvement in Sweden. However, we know the Swedish culture is far more civilized than the 7th Century culture the author emmigrated from.
03:47 December 5, 2012 by fareasttiger
Relax my patriotic swedish friends, I know you are angry and frustrated, but there is time for everything if you know what I mean...remember that you always have a friend, a mighty friend.
11:42 December 5, 2012 by Pol_nqn
It's funny how the author can easily write the F word and I get my comment rejected for *obscenity* for writing that same word.

Whatever, I´m not swedish and last sunday i got to experience something it doesn't happen in most places: people coming out in the snow form their cozy apartments, to help me dig up my car from under the snow. Perfect strangers. All swedes.

Yeah, they were very selfish (?)
18:45 December 5, 2012 by rebelart.se
03:42 December 6, 2012 by banuazizi
My experience: I always offer help to people but since I've come to Sweden I usually feel unsure if the person would "want" my help. This started when during the first year of my stay I offered a Swedish female acquaintance help with her moving to another town. I was interrogated/questioned for 5 minutes as to why I was offering to help. As if in Sweden you need to justify why you want to help someone! That kind of put me off and I offered less help.

When I travel by train, I always offer women help with their luggage to board the train: Behöver du hjälp / Får jag hjälpa dig (as they are trying to lift their suitcase up the stairs) ? the answer is always a quick and sound NEJ, followed by a pause and a change of mind to JA. I think Swedes are programmed to say NO to help because they think someone offering help wants something in return because they themselves normally don't help anyone. Why should they ? The government should help....

Having said that, I was offered help finding where I was on the map in stockholm by complete stranger without me asking for help and also once had a car follow me for 100 m and honking at me (I was on my bicycle) until he got out at an intersection and pointed out that my 100 kr was almost out of my back pocket !

The writer doesn't mean there are NOBODY out there helping, just that there OUGHT to be more people proactively looking out for each other. When I help someone, I re-live the moment and the feeling of helpfulness many times afterwards, so remember that next time you have the opportunity to help someone.
14:40 December 6, 2012 by Rimbaud
I completely disagree with the columnist who has written this article. I am Italian living in Sweden and in general I believe that Swedes are nice persons who has helped me several times whenever I need their help. Neibour, colleagues, people that I have stopped on the street..... has always been nice with me. Honestly the same would have happened also in Italy and any other bigger town in Europe. I think that the guy who wrote this article should really be a bit more respectful of this country who is giving so much to all foreign that for a reason or another have moved here, If you do not feel comfortable you can always choose to live somewhere else......but I am not so sure you will found more human being.....
15:41 December 6, 2012 by fmb
I'm tired of outlandish moralizing about Sweden. So tired
16:02 December 6, 2012 by EP
I once saw an attractive Swedish bird struggling with carrying her groceries to her car. I offered to help, instead she lashed out at me telling me that she as a woman was strong enough to do it herself. Fine, but don't complain about men no longer being chivalrous ... we'd like to be, but you don't allow us.
18:06 December 6, 2012 by Hisingen
[quote:- F*** Sweden, I thought to myself.

F*** traditional Swedish behaviour, to be more precise. Unquote]I think that many Swedes would say F*** you young man . But then as you are a journalist (columnist) people do not expect much common sense, but the usual vague generalities and snide comments emanating from such a pen.

What is surprising is that the Moderators are so busy censoring the texts here for profanity, yet allow you to write as you do. My advice, for what it is worth, is for you to either accept that you have been able to bring your family to this country, or take yourself to some other country that will meet your requirements, whatever they may be. Wide-sweeping generalities such as yours - well, they show just how far you will go to 'win friends and influence people'.
18:24 December 6, 2012 by Svealander
The Local is publishing profanity-laced "journalism" now? Good grief. I don't know the nature of the comments that were deleted, but I find it ironic a moderator was busy in this comment section and yet the expletive-happy article sits there. Additionally, some of the experiences this guy describes reminds me of my own experiences in New York, go figure. Perhaps if the author travelled around a bit more he would see the all the negatives he's come across aren't solely Swedish, just a thought.
23:29 December 6, 2012 by Swedish Cat
This is not Sweden as I know it...it is Stockholm.
11:33 December 7, 2012 by Ariaraman
To my experience, this is not only in Sweden, but all over the world (severity changes certainly from location to location) is moving to that direction. This is the humanity that is in danger, and it needs the action from every single human to change the momentum and then eventually change the direction of the movement.
14:53 December 7, 2012 by witsltd
In how many countries has the author lived to make comparison?

What makes the author the right person to call something traditional Swedish?

This article is just bla bla of a loser unhappy with being in Sweden and trying to find something to explain his misery. Anyone who has travelled accross the world has faced situations that perfectly fit so called "traditional Swedish behaviour" according to the author.
19:53 December 7, 2012 by irridium
My experience with Swedes is that they are some of the most generous and honest people I've met. Things are more aggressive in all big cities but let's not get carried away with the generalizations. I've lived in 10 countries and traveled to dozens more, Sweden is the only place I want my children to be raised. No one has to live here, it is a choice. If your not happy, move on... I am sure you won't be missed.
20:45 December 7, 2012 by fareasttiger
I'm a foreigner, but i would vote for the SD in a heart beat, it's all about....the enemy of my enemy is....?
00:39 December 8, 2012 by theobserver
No doubt that there are good and helpful people in Sweden.

However, the reality is that there is a large percentage of Swedes who behave as if they live on a different planet. They avoid contact with any human being, they don't speak, they are just as characters in an Ingmar Bergman film. As one of the commenters above wrote, they are Swedes who have not being abroad and who, despite leaving in a global village era, have chosen to ignore what is going on in the rest of the world. They live as if it was only them who existed on the planet. And, surely, they won't offer any help. Sometimes, these people stare at you persistently (yes, they are curious), but as soon as they realize you spotted them they turn away. And when you say "hello" they start walking faster. Such a behavior I have never encountered in my life, and I have lived in 8 different countries.

Certainly, Sweden is not like a major European country when it comes to the percentage of the population who live as if they come from Mars. Such a behavior one would expect from villagers in an isolated village in the Amazon. But we are in Sweden, part of Europe! This, of all things, is the most surprising thing. Having traveled in almost every corner of Europe, and having certainly met weirdos, I can definitely say that the percentage of people who are afraid of human contact live in Sweden.

Someone told me that not long ago supermarkets in Sweden had only one kind of pasta, one kind of rice, one kind of tomato sauce; and that Swedes were only allowed to buy alcohol only one day a week; and that there was only one pharmacy, the state one. An explanation of the weird Swedish behavior could be that they were used to this life. (This is surprising because, even in Soviet Union, they knew there was a different way. But Swedes didn't. They believed, and still believe, that their country is the best.) This kind of restrictions would certainly make them uniquely different from any foreigner, anyone from any European country. Perhaps, then, keeping to themselves was a sort of protection for the kind of restrictions they were subject to (restrictions which, in comparison with any other free country [barring Saudi Arabia and Iran] still, to a large extent, exist in Sweden).

Swedes like technology. They should use technology, especially the Internet, judiciously: to learn how by exchanging smiles and hellos and by realizing the kind of shortages they have in their country are not acceptable. Swedes should learn how to raise their voice when needed. To become friendly and to become angry. Living in apathy is not, really, something that humans do, if one accepts the majority rule: that the rest of the world is more human than the large percentage of Swedes who have chosen to live like machines.
15:51 December 8, 2012 by RadioFloyd
Interesting...perhaps such instances are few and far between and don't occur often enough where people in public actually have to care or bother with what's going on around them...In most cases, given there are enough people around (which is always in NYC), people give a hand or help when someone is injured or in danger..what gets tuned out for the most part is the odd and eccentric behaviors you see. There's a difference between someone who needs help in the moment and someone who just needs help mentally.
16:05 December 8, 2012 by Morden
heres a hot tip for you Milad Mohammadi adapt or leave.

if we would criticize your traditions you would call us racist and intolerant.
19:59 December 8, 2012 by Migga

Your rant is laughable. But let`s pretend for the fun of it that what you are saying is true, what`s your point? What if some Swedes have decided to live like that, are they less human because of it? Are they worth less? Are they inferior? Are they not as good? What`s your point?
20:04 December 8, 2012 by Grendelsbane
Well, sometimes people are coming to Sweden as beggar, posing as refugees. And as soon as the get their PUT, the go back to the country where they allegdly is in mortal danger, to visit relatives, or to marry their underaga children to close relatives three times as old. And when refugees are demonstrating against the regime that they have fled from, the same number takes to the streets to demonstrate against the protesters and in favour of the dictatorship in their native countries.

Swedes may be inpolite or shy sometimes, but on the orther side, they do not kill their own children for marrying 'the wrong' man. And Swedes do not try to kill everybody that opposes their politcs, customs or faith. If a Swede express his dismay by suicide bombers killing civilians and women and children, or by the newsreels of men executed without a trail and dragged after motorcykless by cheering men - then our dear guests accuse us for blaiming and stigmatizing every person of the same faith. But they do no confront their conpatriots when they are accusing Sweden for not providing them with easy and well-payed jobs.

So maybe we can call it quits? We are inpolite, and our guests can go on living their life in our modern western democracy following the 1400 year old customs of a people living as shepherds in a patriarchal and theocratic clan society? We know very well by now, that it is we who must adapt to every stranger that knocks on our door.
08:25 December 9, 2012 by theobserver
Migga: I'm sorry you have difficulties in understanding simple English.
10:04 December 9, 2012 by klubbnika
He is entitled to his own opinionm but what a horrible offensive language. Brush you language, buddy, before you go out lecturing other people how to behave.
10:20 December 9, 2012 by Migga
@ theobserver

Don`t be sorry, answer my question instead.
11:53 December 9, 2012 by fareasttiger
Well enjoy abusing your hosts while it's last welfare collectors...because accross europe all signs are pointing back to the europe of 1930's or the least the balkans of 1990's!!! Have any idea what i'm talking about anyone? Sure you do...
12:08 December 9, 2012 by matonbass
i to am curious about this strange Swedish Stare. i challenge the staring person directly and usually threaten them with violence if they don't stop. they always do because as we all know Swedes are afraid of actual confrontation unless first intoxicated. Swedes are a pushover when it comes to street combat especially in broad daylight. they get so embarrassed ! they must learn that it's rude to stare and dangerous as well.
19:30 December 9, 2012 by Smartone
Good and bad people live in every corner of the world, people should not be judged on the basis of gender, color, race and ethic background, rather they should be judged how they behave and play their role in the society.

As far as those people complaining about the Swedes who didn't help people in their hard times, I personally experienced it.

In Stockholm, last year on new year Eve - A Swedish guy was too drunk and was fell down (might be fainted as he there wasn't any movement seen at all in his body) on tunnelbana( Metro Station) in snow of freezing cold on the platform outdoor, hundreds of passengers were getting ON and OFF from the metro but nobody dare to help him or informed the station staff at the ticket counter.

I did go to the staff at the ticket counter and informed them to take care of that guy and I am not Swedish.

Therefore, I would say, Swedish people(except those who are already helpful) should learn to help because their help can save someone's life!
19:49 December 9, 2012 by strixy
100% true. This is why I've left Scandinavia.

Scandinavians like to think they are well-developed but money isn't everything. The cost of financial security is conformity and lack of independence. It is astonishing how many people are happy to pay such price without even considering pros and cons.

I'd rather be worse off but free than locked up in a golden cage.
02:42 December 10, 2012 by fareasttiger
I find this to be extremely ironic, that majority of swedes would waste no time attacking their own like the SD or anyone that opposes to the sweden's immigration policy, but they always remain mute to these kind of trashes that attacking them and their culture and soon will lay waste to their country. I wonder what the swedes are eating that makes their brains turn into tofu? Ask the chinese if you know what tofu-brain means!
08:00 December 10, 2012 by SilveryRow
Vast generalization, and I can add to it by saying this is a symptom exhibited by most western countries these days, not just Sweden. Yet there are also good people in every country who will help, and do, just because this columnist happened to see a few negative events (and it sounds like he was predisposed to see them), the people of Sweden should not be so indiscriminantly tarred.

A waste of article space, in my opinion.

I am an English person living in Sweden.
13:04 December 10, 2012 by Migga
I would like to know what Milad Mohammi and all you others who agree with him think about the swedish mans behaviour who jumped in a river and rescued a woman in China? Should that behaviour go to hell?

14:36 December 10, 2012 by Agnes B
The columnist is just a young person who is justifiably frustrated at what he perceives to be the indifference of our fellow citizens. I find it very odd that many people cannot take criticism of society in this country and that the columnist's ethnical background becomes an issue, as if it were an argument per se. God forbid if a person who is not an ethnic Swede (or an American or a Brit) dares make a critique that challenges our perceptions. That person must be prepared to hear some really nasty remarks, tolerate people telling him to go back to the country where his parents came from and to stop biting the hand that feeds him and, worse, to stop caring for his country because the country of his parents persecutes freedom of speech, religion and so on. Can you seriously hear yourselves people? You attack someone's right to a different opinion, yet you condemn this practice when others do it! If this is not double standards and hypocrisy, I don't know what is.

Learn to put arguments forwardm the right to an opinion (a.k.a. freedom of speech) belongs to everyone, not just ethnic Swedes. And that Sweden is a charitable nation, nobody disputes that. This is not what Malid criticizes; on the contrary, Malid's Sweden is one that sits on a really high pedestal, that's why he finds it so hard to accept the indifference and cynicism of the people he encounters in his everyday life. And to all of you who have come here clutching a map in your hand and looking lost, do not confuse the friendliness of the Swedish people towards foreign visitors with what Malid is saying. There is no friendlier people to tourists on this earth other than the Swedes. As for those of you who are willing to extend a helping hand to a stranger on the street, my guess is that this column was not written with you in mind.

Well, Malid, congratulations on voicing your opinion and don't let anyone tell you that you are not entitled to one because you were not born an ethnic Swede or that grateful, indebted people have no right to criticize things or aspire to a better society. Your critique is absolutely valid, even if it is more a Stockholm phenomenon than a national one. We all must definitely try and create a more humane and more tolerant society. People must stop thinking that helping out a fellow Swede is intrusive. And if 1 person may find it patronizing that you extend a helping hand, 9 people will find it a lovely gesture and probably do the same for somebody else one day. Hopefully this will eventually help change norms. Let's all hope then that good old Stockholm will learn from how people are in other parts of the country. Afterall many Stockholmers ARE from other parts of the country so they need not search long for inspiration!
16:49 December 10, 2012 by Migga
@ Agnes B

He might have a point but his argument isn`t valid. His opinion is based on a few single events and has no factual worth. When he then takes it a step further and calls this behaviour swedish it becomes laughable. He shouldn`t be ridiculed because of his looks or background but because of his generalization of Swedes behaviour.
17:08 December 10, 2012 by fareasttiger
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:35 December 10, 2012 by olga118
What I see in Sweden is the following: Children who shove past the elderly to get past them in the store. Groups of gymnasium students who congregate on the sidewalk and refuse to move even when an elderly person with a walker has to go into the street to get by. I have seen this so many times and it irritates the hell out of me every time I see it. Those are things children learn, or don't learn from their parents. If the huge majority of parents are not teaching their children courtesy and respect to others then that is a societal issue.
18:11 December 10, 2012 by Hisingen
19:49 December 9, 2012 by strixy

100% true. This is why I've left Scandinavia.

Well done, and the more who think like you should do like you.

Then Sweden would be a happier place for the rest of us, Swedes included.
21:26 December 10, 2012 by Enikkor
The author's effectiveness of thought was reduced by uses of the word F(country) F (culture) etc. It was disrespectful and

should rightfully cause indignation to any Swede!. The irony is it appears the author is Muslim(I hope I'm right)

and is is amazing how they say things against other people and even their own. Granted, Swedes has a lot of learn yet, and I hope the younger are always better than the older folks.
15:34 December 12, 2012 by zat_xela
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:44 December 19, 2012 by Dutch Beauty
Mr Mohammadi talks about Swedes. Everybody who lives in Sweden is a Swede, right? So is he talking about 9,5 million people? Is he pertaining to a specific group of Swedes?
19:44 February 28, 2013 by snale
theobserver wrote: "Someone told me that not long ago supermarkets in Sweden had only one kind of pasta, one kind of rice, one kind of tomato sauce; and that Swedes were only allowed to buy alcohol only one day a week; and that there was only one pharmacy, the state one."

- You are slightly misinformed, for like 40 years ago when I was kid everyone ate mostly potatoes, then it was no need for hundreds sorts of rice and spaghetti and tomatoesauces then. And we can not buy alcohol in Sundays but all other days we can buy alcohol (though all days in week we can at restaurants and pubs of course), and now we have several pharmacies but they does not work better than our old state pharmacy.
12:49 March 1, 2013 by B.olesen
wah, wah, wah. Baby need a bottle to go with that whine?
17:48 March 4, 2013 by Nvd
He f****** up what he wanted to say by using the work "f***".
16:15 March 21, 2013 by janeway
What a lot of bull! If you judge the behaviour of all Swedes on what a bunch of Stockholmers do and don't, you're very far off. I've seen plenty of people act fast when someone needs help and I do it myself when needed. That's day-to-day actions. Giving to charity increases every year. The Government aid to developing countries are the largest in the world, per capita.

I've helped drunk people get help on a cold Winter night, made sure an elderly woman were taken to hospital when she fell on an icy sidewalk, drove two small children to safety for free, one night around 3 am and was scolded for it by their lousy parents. I'm not looking for gold stars, only telling you that not everyone is as bad as in your two examples. There are many good samaritans out there, but most don't go around announcing it. I just wanted to give a few examples that have happened to me and there are thousands of stories from other people who've done the same. "Dra inte alla över en kam".
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