In February 2012* I and my wife sat down and made our flight plan. In September 2014** we revised our plan and this past week*** we decided to have things in order just in case.
Xenophobia has been brewing in Europe for quite some time now, but despite intense efforts to educate people, the resistance is loosing turf. Fast. In the 2014 election, 20-25% of the Swedish voters thought it was a good idea to have a racist party running the country. A party that just 15 years ago consisted of skinheads. They’re still there, but they’ve grown their hair, put on a suit and learnt some smooth talk. What many people don’t get though is that it’s still the same people. It’s still the same ideas from the skinheads days. They still can’t spell, they’re still unemployed and they’re still beating people up with iron rods. They’re smooth talking thugs. They’re saying sending all immigrants/refugees “back to where they came from” will solve all the problems in our society but don’t recognise all the research showing that our country wouldn’t survive without “immigrants”. They say all Muslims are terrorists, beat their wife’s and kill their daughters. And most people agree without hesitation. Every time there’s a violent attack made, it’s declared a Muslim filicide five minutes later, “because we all know how they are, right”? The “flood wave” of Eastern European beggars is an eyesore, so they must be in organised crime. It couldn’t just be that they are so poor and desperate that they come here to make a better life for themselves? The riots in Malmö is just vicious outbursts of immigrants natural disrespect for authorities and not a desperate protest by marginalised young people stuck in mouldy, flee infested buildings with no hope to get a job because your name sound “foreign”. The xenophobic party is praying on a fear of the unknown that is spreading across our country and they have managed to normalise a concept of “we” versus “them”.
Even people I thought I could count on are spreading propaganda texts and racist comments. And I loose a good friend every week. The ones who are left now are, not surprisingly, immigrants, second generation swedes, married to an immigrant, Muslim or gay.
So why do I, a 17th+ generation swede feel fear for myself and my family’s safety when it’s the “immigrants” who are targeted? Because it’s xenophobia were talking about, a fear of everything that is different from yourself. It may be strongest when it comes to race and religion, but it’s not excluding sexuality, gender or intelligence. It’s white, middle aged male supremacy at its worst. They’re targeting immigrants and Muslims in public because they can take political points by “addressing the problems no other political party will”, but behind closed doors they’re speaking disparaging about women, gays and people with ow IQ”. Surely we have laws to ensure equality in our county, but they are easily changed. Russia proved that. Given the power, xenophobic parties will create discriminating policies and force them on the people until they believe it’s right. It has happened many times before and it will happen again. I’m just afraid that it will happen in my backyard during my lifetime and I can promise you one thing – I won’t survive that. I and my wife are way to outspoken for a xenophobic society where you criminalise deviant opinions and it makes us a target. I’d rather flee and stay alive.
The people I’ve mentioned our flight plan to are appalled that someone like me (read like them) feel so insecure in their own country that they feel the need to plan an escape at all. It’s like they suddenly realise the impact this type of politics has on “ordinary” people, people they know. A part of me wants to use this as a way to educate people of the consequences of their voting and propaganda spreading since I know it’s a great eye opener for many people, but the other part of me knows that if we actually need to use our escape plan, the fewer that knows the better. I just hope we can get away in time if we ever need to.
* In February 2012 Russia’s “anti gay-laws” was passed, showing how fast and easily hard earned progress can be defeated.
** In September 2014 the Swedish election revealed that 25% of my neighbours voted for a xenophobic party who don’t think that I or my friends have a right to exist.
*** Every new Gallup poll shows that the support for the xenophobic party is increasing and all media is slowly internalising their rhetoric. The things they say and the propaganda they’re spreading is slowly becoming a common known “fact”.