Fear of flight

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”.

16 thoughts on “Fear of flight

  1. Something similar happened in Finland too, I’m sad and ashamed to say. Except that it seems that our government (in which the “immigration and EU critical” party is the second biggest) is more focused on cutting spending. They’ve cut or planned to cut funding from development cooperation, education (basic and higher), social security and many other things. They hurt everyone, especially some immigrants and those with low income. Kind of indirect discrimination.

    There’s also the latest scandal from the party I mentioned above, when one of it’s MPs posted a nationalistic Facebook update calling multiculturality a nightmare. It doesn’t help that this particular MP has contacts in a neo-nazi group. Worse, his party leader has been very vague in his comments concerning this.

    Luckily, so far there hasn’t been any outright discriminatory policies introduced. I hope that continues and government responsibility and ability to cooperate with the other two parties in the government keeps this racist attracting party in check. The citizens as well, those that didn’t vote for them and oppose their views. The demonstrations we’ve had here give me hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is good to hear someone openly speaking and writing about this issue.
    When times get tough, find the weakest most helpless group in society, and blame your problems on them.

    Here is the USA, the “immigration problem” is on the forefront of politics. I hear the ignorant rhetoric coming from reasonable people who should know better. When I call people out on their words, they will sometimes appear to give in to facts. But I can often see that they are already convinced that there is this wave of brown people who are taking their jobs, robbing their home, and hooking their kids on drugs.

    As Hitler fades into history, for how long will the world remember the lesson of the ultimate pit of xenophobia and hate?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I wouldn’t go as far as calling Hitlers Germany during WWII the ultimate xenophobic society, there’s been worse both before and after, but it sure is the most famous one in our generation.

      A wonderful quote for those who think “they” steal “our” jobs: “If someone without contacts, money or the ability to speak the language steals your job, maybe you’re shit.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Is South Africa, we have one of the most accommodating “live and let live” constitutions in the world, but in practice Xenophobia, racism, gay bashing and -murders are rife. This fear of the unknown seem to be worldwide. Quo vadis, Fredrik? Sadly, Antarctica seems to be the best place at the moment.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Lesboi says:

    Wow, what you wrote here sounds so much like what’s going on in the US too. I have this idea that Sweden and Finland are open minded and somewhat immune to the craziness but if you’re making an escape plan I really feel like I’m in deep trouble. What is happening in our world? I feel like another holocaust is on the horizon. People are getting crazy about religion and race like I’ve never seen before and it’s all because they’re being fed a bunch of lies over and over again and they’re terrified. If you hear the lie enough it starts to become your truth. Resist Fredrick and good luck with your escape should you need it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An alternative is to join with others who feel like you do and be public about your views. I am connected with Quakers, the War Resistors League, and Catholic Workers – all of whom object to military or punitive “solutions” to these problems. They are also welcoming of queer and transgender activists. It cuts down on the isolation and makes me feel less marginalized.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a good idea! It’s just hard to find them at the moment. Sweden haven’t had war in over 200 years, we are relatively open to immigration and we have a strong tradition of equality so there haven’t been any real reason for groups to profile themselves regarding this until recently. The concept of “we” and “them” in this explicit way is fairly new even though we swedes of cause have our share of biases and fear of the unknown. It’s just so overwrought today in a way I’ve never experienced before.

      Like

  6. It’s more or less the same in my country too, Fredrik. I can only assume this is fast becoming a true pandemic. With actually nowhere to go if you happen to be different. Maybe we should all join up and go start a colony somewhere in space? (Well, that just wishful thinking here, but I have to admit I often wonder about that possibility.)

    Liked by 2 people

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