To The Demonstrators Outside Malmö City Hall,
Thanks for the inspiration!
I´d like to share my story from yesterday with you.
I spend a lot of time researching countries where democracy is nothing but a foreign word. Places where the thought of demonstrating your disapproval for a new law would mean a possible death or at least imprisonment. So yesterday I passed the local government building here in Malmö, Stadshuset, together with my family. We were on our way back from a liberating few hours on a climbing wall, when my eldest daughter saw a bunch of people spread on their backs, on the stairs leading up to the entrance of the government building, Malmö City Hall, so we stopped. A young and shy guy came over to us and handed me a flier against a new upcoming law from the Swedish government about new restrictions as regards to immigration. I had briefly noticed media reports on this, but as busy as usual, I dug into research about other countries, who are fighting for democracy. Or at least freedom of speech and movement. What I read on that piece of paper was scary. More isolationist moves from a by the day gullible government. Even Sweden is turning way more hostile and by gullible I mean that politicians just easily buy the scaremongering rethoric by so called terrorist experts in media. People who have an agenda of fear and lack the ability to put things into proper context.
“So” , I asked the guy, “Are you getting any response from the local politicians?”
“We tried to get in and hand over our thoughts as a petition” , he started shyly: “But the police stopped us and kicked us out, so we never got a chance to hand over our petition.”
“What do you mean kicked out? Not by force?” I asked quite surprised.
“Yes, by force, they did not want us there and said that nobody from the local government wanted to receive us or take our non aggressive petition.”
Sure, I wasn´t there when they tried to hand over the petition, but I looked at the three policemen standing in front of the entrance in surprise. They were muscular, big and looked not very happy. It surely looked like they didn´t want to communicate with the demonstrators. One of the members of this demonstration tried her way in whilst i was there, but was forcily stopped in a way to aggressive way. The policeman looked irritated, fed up and tired. Like he had enough of these alternative looking people. All young, no middle aged white men there, believe me. I thought about the extra ordinary well behaved policemen and women working the train between Denmark and Sweden, mainly women, who do their job with grace and a smile and I have never ever seen anybody react badly to that. Why don´t the police force send in these police who are trained how to talk to people and how to deal with dissent? Because looking at the demonstrators, they all looked thin and very easy to deal with. They just wanted to leave their petition and keep democracy alive. Why send three young and muscular policemen? I remember talking to Vaughan Smith at the Frontline Club in London when he told me about the difference between the English and American soldeirs at the first Iraqi war, was that the English had learned their lesson in Northern Ireland and at all road blocks they had taken their helmets off, in comparison to the Americans who had all offensive gear on. It made a big difference. They had less attacks on them.
I wouldn´t even have noticed this little manifestation, if my daughter hadn´t pointed it out to me. So who were the demonstrators who caused this enormous fear among the local government? They were all young and I guess somebody from the bush like me, would call them alternative in a positive way. I asked the young man and he said they had no specific political affiliation, just believed in open borders for everyone and didn´t like this new law who limited the right to asylum and which they believe would tear families apart. And, in the mode of the Occupy movement, they stated that they refused to respect these laws. Now I know a lot of middle aged white men will get upset, because they believe in the law. They have been taught in that way. But, obviously there are laws which are not good, so why wouldn´t one have the right to have an opinion about that?
For me, these young people are upholding democracy and one thing is for sure, the notion of fear is growing in Sweden in a bad way. Having been in many countries, it is becoming like the worst parts of the UK and the US in this feeling. And very much, blame the Muslims for everything. Fearmongering everywhere. I don´t like it. And like the young people manifesting their right to have an opinion, so do I. Thanks for inspiring me and temporarily waking me up!
Signed another white middle aged man