Monday, July 08, 2002

Blame Denmark.

Or rather, blame the so-called "Danish People's Party." And while you're at it you can also blame Sweden's biggest national newspaper, Dagens Nyheter (all links in Swedish - sorry!).

The big stink here is that the anti-immigrant Danish party placed a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of Dagens Nyheter. I think it was rather a shock for many Swedes to open the paper and see party chair Pia Sjaersgaard's big blond head next to a Danish flag and a Swedish flag. "We thank the Swedish people for their support..." the text read, more or less, with the implication being that although Swedish politicians have spoken out strongly against the Danish People's Party, the party has the support of the Swedish people.

So it seems that an awful lot of Swedes are mad at the paper for running the ad, and insulted at the implications made in the ad. Politicians of various stripes are worried that it will stir up racial animosity; other politicians are calling for much wider public debate on the issue of immigrants. Interestingly, the Sunday paper also included an opinion piece quoting a recent survey of the Swedish Integration Department which showed that 70 percent of Swedes favor a multicultural society with immigrants.

So I didn't know what to say to the guy from Barcelona in my Swedish class who asked me if Sweden really had as good race relations as it seemed from his week and a half here.

Does 70 percent equal good? What about the other 30 percent?

What's a responsible Swede to think, or do?

Blame Denmark!

The Swedish phrase for the day is det går inte. It means it doesn't work.

- by Francis S.

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