Don’t forget about the ‘good’ internet hatred

As Sweden continues to discuss internet hatred, Paulina Neuding, editor of centre-right Swedish magazine Neo, argues that the left openly subjects opinion-makers who disagree with them to similarly hateful comments.

Don't forget about the 'good' internet hatred

There’s no doubt that internet hatred and threats against people who actively take part in public discourse are a growing problem. But when Sveriges Television’s (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag granskning examined the topic last week, the perspective was almost entirely restricted to women who were attacked for their leftist views.

Internet hatred, I can tell you, also affects women who are not on the left. We have that in common, but there is a striking difference: Hatred directed at us from the left often finds its way into the established media.

Some examples: Last summer, Sara Skyttedal, vice chairwoman of the Young Christian Democrats, wrote a critical piece about the Pride Festival in which she argued that the festival was fixated on sex and exhibitionism, and in so doing did homosexuals a disservice.

She was subsequently met with aggressive, unwarranted attacks from established journalists and pundits.

The one who probably went the farthest was musician and liberal commentator Alexander Bard who wrote: “WHO ASKED YOU FOR YOUR FASCIST OPINION? We are NOT HERE TO PLEASE YOU! Fuck off, BITCH!”

Nor do these phenomena only affect women.

Last summer, the left-wing cartoonists at Galago Magazine joked that Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) editorial writer Per Gudmundson should be shot. When SvD filed a report with the Justice Chancellor (Justitiekanslern, JK), Gudmundson was mocked for being easily offended.

Simon Fors, a local Left Party politician who sits on the municipal and county councils in Pajala and Norrbotten in northern Sweden, tweeted: “Don’t all people with a brain advocate that Gudmundson be executed?”

Additionally, the site Vita kränkta män (‘Wronged white men’) regularly exposes and mocks men whom its administrator considers not to be sufficiently equality-minded or left-leaning. This site and its author are celebrated in the traditional media for being amusing and progressive.

Conservative columnist and blogger Alice Teodorescu has received death threats for her views on integration and equality – partly because she’s not a feminist. Among other things, people have written that you should “load your rifle” when you see her and accused her of writing that “foments class hatred”.

Another SvD columnist, Johanne Hildebrandt, has been threatened with rape and murder. She has also said that the hateful internet trolls targeting her become more active every time Åsa Linderborg or Jan Guillou accuse her in the Aftonbladet newspaper of being a warmonger.

“The hatred from the left is the worst,” she said when we met up this week.

“They think they are morally superior, that they can spout off anything they want.”

Pundits that would scream bloody murder if Skyttedal, Teodorescu, Hildebrandt, or I were paid less than men, or were subjected to repressive tactics in the boardroom, do not hesitate to write that we are disgusting, idiots, and fascists.

And this isn’t behaviour exclusive to the internet trolls.

When Aftonbladet’s opinion pages devoted two articles to finding similarities between me and Anders Behring Breivik – to underpin their thesis that we were both child killers – I had the same concern as Hildebrandt did: that such a comparison would spawn many more and more aggressive attacks from the haters.

We expected comments like those who agree with the Left Party’s Simon Fors when he wrote that “Moderates deserve nothing but bullets”.

That’s what hatred from the left looks like. The refined, “good” hatred that affects men and women because we are not sufficiently pacifist, queer, feminist, or simply because we aren’t on the left.

Paulina Neuding

Editor-in-Chief, Neo


This article was originally published in Swedish in the (SvD) newspaper Svenska Dagbladet

English translation by The Local.

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Who is Sweden’s next Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Sweden is still waiting for their next Zlatan, writes AFP's Hugues Honore. Will they ever find him?

Who is Sweden's next Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
The Swedish footballers at the Estádio do Marítimo ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Portugal. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Swedes have a reputation as level-headed and patient, and it's just as well: they'll have to wait a while for a new “Zlatan” to suit up on the national football squad.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden's all-time high scorer with 62 goals, put an end to his 116-cap international career in June 2016.

Since then, the team has had no star player of top international calibre to fill Ibrahimovic's shoes.

Some young hopefuls have however shown promise, like Emil Forsberg and Alexander Isak.

Commentators have repeated the phrase so often it's almost comical. “The next Zlatan. Or the new Zlatan, Zlatan junior, Zlatan of the North (…) It's a journalistic genre that's existed for almost 15 years,” Swedish Radio sports commentator Johannes Finnlaugsson once joked.

That was back in 2014, when no one came close to Ibrahimovic's star power on the Swedish squad.

Many young talents have been compared to him over the years, but none have lived up to expectations upon arriving in the big league.

But 17-year-old wunderkind Alexander Isak hopes he'll be different.

The AIK forward was sold to Borussia Dortmund in January for a reported ten million euros ($10.7 million), just two weeks after becoming Sweden's youngest-ever international goalscorer.

But despite that, Isak was not selected for Sweden's 4-0 win against Belarus on Saturday, nor for the friendly against Portugal on Tuesday in Funchal in the Azores.

Instead, coach Janne Andersson called on Anderlecht's Isaac Kiese Thelin to replace striker John Guidetti. Thelin scored.

“I want to play on the national team, and to do that I have to make a good impression,” Isak told football channel Fotbollskanalen in January.

But for now, he's setting his sights on the Euro Championships for the under-21s, where he's still a novice having made the team just once.

“I'm really keen. Obviously. This tournament would be my first, because I missed the under-17 one in 2016 and I'm a little bitter about that. So my goal is to be in Poland this summer,” he said.

Swedish TV4 commentator Olof Lundh says he's following Isak's progress with Dortmund, where he's only played for a few minutes in the German Cup. “It's clear he's making an impression so it could go quickly,” he told AFP.

But for now, other, older players are trying to make up for the gaping hole left by Ibrahimovic's absence.

Wearing Ibra's old number 10 is 25-year-old offensive midfielder Emil Forsberg, who plays for another Bundesliga club, RB Leipzig. He scored twice in Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Belarus.

“Together with Victor Nilsson Lindelöf, he's part of a new generation of players who have taken important roles in Janne Andersson's new team. They can become even better,” Lundh told AFP.

Lindelöf, a 22-year-old defender, will feel at home against European champions Portugal on Tuesday – he has played for Benfica since 2012.

Last week he was preparing the game against Belarus when he learned that he had been elected to the Portuguese All-Star team by his peers.

Article by AFP's Hugues Honore