It has been over a month since my last post, for one reason only; my freedom of speech was compromised. My words were twisted and spread like fire to cause harm and distress to others, without intention. A simple thoughtless act from selfish people who find it impossible to see beyond their own pain and insecurities.
Remind you of anyone? No? I shall go on.
The world is a different place than it was fifty years ago, nobody can argue with that and no one can reverse the process. That’s just the way it is. For good or bad, we are where we are and we have created the environment in which we live and breathe every day. If it is polluted, it is because we made it so, if there is unemployment it is because we have bourne more children than we have created jobs. If there is a shortage of the fuel we need to survive, it is because we have been excessive and not thought about the impact our current actions will have on the future. Our current reality is as a direct consequence of what has happened before, in our lifetime, and our fathers before us.
What about immigration? I have sat on both fences for my whole life. In London my best friends have come from many backgrounds and cultures and I enjoyed the variety and ‘spice of life’ it offered me every day. I myself am the product of a Swedish woman and a Greek man, and have enjoyed both cultures with massive enthusiasm. However when in Sweden, I took great pleasure in feeling part of the ‘perfect race’. Here nobody talks too loud, looks too different, follows the rules and enjoys a freedom I yearned for as a child growing up in a big city. Here I was safe to play in the woods, by the sea, up a tree, down a mountain. As long as I didn’t say the wrong thing or appear too ‘naughty’, I had the freedom to play and create my own entertainment. The freedom to roam was addictive to me as a child.
Whereas in London I had the freedom to be me without being referred to as ‘the English girl’. I had the freedom to create the rules and be a little wild and crazy without being judged, as long as it was within the realms of the law of course.
Two different worlds, never the two shall meet. Or so I thought. Now Sweden is a different place, and even for me it has been hard to see the changes over the years. The streets are certainly dirtier, there is more graffiti and a whole host of other problems that occur when very different cultures come together and try to share work and life. For many years I was guilty of thinking it was nothing but a problem for my family and friends who seem to be suffering the pain but too polite to talk about it. They were the ones who had to see their daughters date Muslim boyfriends and struggle to live with the polar opposite traditions and practices. They saw the bad side.
However, a new generation emerges; people from mixed backgrounds are entering puberty, searching for their identity, and trying to find their place in the world where they can feel accepted and live fulfilled lives. Most employers will now agree that this generation have enriched their offering and connected sweden to the rest of the world, especially in Malmo, also partly because of the new Oresund bridge.
This generation still experience the challenges of racism and prejudism and have a difficult time in trying to find their place in the world. They are full of hope and desire, a mix of the best and the worst of different cultures, and usually, are proud of that and want to offer the benefits it brings to their communities and cities and resident businesses.
From speaking to Swedish employers all over sweden, I am almost surprised by what I hear. These ‘perfect’ blonde attractive swedes are talking to me about how excited they are about business in Sweden now and how much people that have emmigrated to Sweden are a valuable resource and highly respected. It could be just talk of course. More research required. So I spoke to neighbours, other parents, teachers, and anyone I could, and the theme is the same; there are severe challenges, but there is a generic appreciation for people who have a varied background in business especially those that have a good work ethic.
“These people seem to have the freedom to roam and the freedom to be who they want to be.”
I’m not about to go into the details around the Swedish government and who is right and who is wrong. Im not a politician, and I’m too busy being a mum, wife, and business woman to worry about it.
What I will say is, I think most of us would agree that if Trump came to rule Sweden and kicked out all the Polish, Syrians, and every other culture other than the ‘truly swedish’ people, where would that leave the country? In a big royal mess. Businesss would be forced to close their doors to their customers. Airlines would struggle as international business operations would suffer. The economy would suffer, and the people would be disconnected from the rest of the world. Is there such a thing anymore as ‘truly swedish’ or any other nationality in the world?
If that’s what we want then why have we worked so hard to create international trade, build runways and airports, build bridges across water and trains that can travel at super speeds across countries? If we want to be free to wander the world then can we persecute people for enjoying a place so much that they want to stay and build a new life there?
I say, we start accepting the world we have created, and start enjoying the benefits it brings. Just because it’s scary doesn’t make it bad.