I was speaking to a friend of mine on Facebook. She lives in Sweden and was saddened and alarmed by this.
The Eurofascist “Sweden Democrat” Party made some gains in Sunday’s elections riding a wave of anti-immigration sentiment.
AP’s Karl Ritter reports:
The Sweden Democrats, a small nationalist party, entered Parliament for the first time, winning 20 seats to hold the balance of power between the 172 seats captured by the four-party center-right bloc and the 154 seats won by the three-party leftist opposition, according to preliminary returns.
Sweden has a long-standing reputation of tolerance, and had resisted an anti-immigrant movement that swept through Europe in the 1990s.
I’ve traveled to Sweden once in the late 1980s, and remember being delighted by the openness and warmth of the people.
Recently, Sweden’s European neighbors have witnessed the rantings of politicians like Dutch anti-Muslim Geert Wilders (who attended that protests against the Manhattan Islamic center) who seems in line with the goals of Jimmie Akesson of the Sweden Democrats.
This mirrors the current climate in the U.S., where immigrants’ and Muslims share status as boogeymen du jour.
At the heart of at least the immigration issue are real problems the deserve discussion, but how do you discuss things with people who run TV ads like this:
A TV campaign advertisement by the Sweden Democrats showed an elderly Swedish woman trying to reach an emergency brake labeled “Immigration” before a mob of burqa-clad women pushing strollers could get to another brake with a sign saying “Pensions.”
Daniel Poohl, who is the editor of Expo, an anti-racist magazine in Sweden, indicates that racism and fear of foreigners have always been a problem there:
“Racism and xenophobia constitute a serious problem for society,” he said. “Combined with dissatisfaction and frustration, it has now gotten a voice in parliament.”
The article is accompanied by photos of the massive protests throughout Sweden against the Sweden Democrats election to Parliament, but it’s clear that the world is becoming a scarier and sadder place.
Update: Based on a reader’s reply, I corrected the above the reflect that Geert Wilders is, in fact Dutch (which I should have known). The reader also commented that the post presents a caricature image of the Sweden Democrats, which I admit may be true to the extent that I know only what I am able to gleen through the filter of media accounts. If this is so, I apologize. I still feel that nativist movements are sad. There are real problems with immigration, but hyperbole on both sides doesn’t help. To the extent I have been a part of that – I am sorry, and I will try to do better in the future.
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