Monday, September 20, 2010

The Swedish Election and Racism

Two weeks ago, I passed through military checkpoints that separate Palestinians from Jews and other Palestinians, to  go and vote in the Swedish general  election at the Swedish Consulate in Jerusalem.

I did so because it is my duty as a citizen of a democratic country and because it is a way of making my voice heard.

But mostly, I went and voted because I was afraid that the extreme-right, anti-immigrant party, the Sweden Democrats, would win too many seats in the Riksdag if I didn't vote.

At the same time, I didn't really believe that the Sweden Democrats would pass the 4 % threshold and get actual seats in the Riksdag.

I mean, come on. We've been criticizing the Danish, the French, the Austrian, the Australians... all other countries who have voted for anti-immigrant, racist parties in large numbers in recent years. And anyway, the Sweden Democrats always loom in the background in our general elections as a potential threat to our open-minded society, but they never really reach 4 % of the Swedish votes. Why would they this year?

Well, this morning, sitting in a taxi on my way to a meeting in Tel Aviv, my taxi driver was listening to the news in Hebrew and suddenly I hear "Fredrik Reinfeldt" and something like "parliament" and other words I have no idea what they meant.

I asked for a translation, and the taxi driver said that the four ruling parties had gotten 172 seats in the Riksdag, the opposition parties 157. And the Sweden Democrats had won 20 seats.

20 seats.

That means that 5.7 % of the citizens of my home country voted for racists to partake in the governance of our country.

Living under occupation of, if not the most, then one of the most institutional racist countries in the world, this makes me wonder.

What makes people think that we will somehow build better societies by separating people based on where they were born? Or where their parents were born? Or what they choose as their religion? Or what their parents or grand parents once chose as their religion?

Who wakes up a happier person knowing that there are families with less rights and less privileges than you? Who feels more at peace with themselves with concrete walls, electric fences--legal, social, or physical as in the case of Israel--separating themselves from their neighbors?

Seriously, Sweden. Do you know what road you have turned onto?

It is one thing when people are racist, but something very different when racism becomes legitimate through a political mandate.

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Moryn said...

usch de e så tragiskt så jag gråter..

Pappan said...

I really did search SD for racism. Leftist investigating journalist Jan Guillou did too.

Nohwere to be seen. Sorry but it's simply not there.

SD wants to adjust immigration to the norm of Sweden's neighboring countries. SD wants to TRIPPLE the funds for helping refugees where the help is efficient, and that is obviously NOT in expensive Sweden. SD wants to reinvent national soverignity and thus the conditions for democracy. And make sure no Sharia laws will be passed. And increase Social Security. What is right wing about that? What is WRONG with that?