The amazing diversity of a city called Malmö...
Earlier today, quite unexpectedly, I heard an on-air promo for the BBC World Service on an "Open Eyes" segment airing on Jan. 19th, dealing with racial tensions (and illegal immigration?) in M...
No, not perpetual ethnic and crime hothouse Miami, but Malmö, only an ethnically diverse city with one of the most well-educated populaces in the world. Hmm-m-m...
(And, as it happens, it's home to some friends of your faithful blogger, some of whom were alluded to in my post about Crown Princess Victoria's wedding, who drove to Stockholm and got-up early to find good places to watch the ceremonies.)
Malmö is sort of like the more interesting and charming parts of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis I've been to, where you meet nice, friendly, well-educated and well-rounded people, and see why they really love it there and want to raise their families there.
Their idea of happiness is NOT a high-rise condo near the water in an area that's beset with gridlocked traffic and out-of-control city and county governments that specialize in raising taxes and lip service.
They have very different criteria for a nice Quality-of-Life, and proximity to Nordstrom's or The Cheesecake Factory is NOT one of them. It really makes you think!
And like those three American cities that I'm pretty familiar with, which have very good colleges there, Malmö has been busy successfully re-inventing itself as a home to education, technology and innovation.
City's official hemsida: http://www.malmo.se/
Malmö Visitor & Tourist homepage, in English: http://www.malmotown.com/en
And whether you tend to believe Wikipedia in general or not, according to the current Wikipedia entry on Malmö, which seems mostly accurate as I read it,
"Immigrant Muslims comprise a little over 25% of population and their share keeps on rising. It is predicted that Malmö would be more than 50% Muslim by 2020."As of now, I don't know what time the segment will air on the BBC on the 19th, but I will keep checking every so often and let you know here once I find out.
When I put my ear to the ground to listen for the sound of approaching hoof-beats -my Indian name is "Discerning voice that carries" -I sense (fear) another well-intentioned but ultimately politically biased and self-fulfilling report akin to so many over-the-top NPR segments I heard broadcast under Bush 43, that seemed designed to marginalize the legitimate concerns of real people with real problems, in this case, the residents of Malmö, in order to engage in agitprop under the guise of journalism.
The likely result?
Mockery of the town and a blown opportunity to understand a complicated issue that has finally
resulted in the Sweden Democrats, Sverigedemokrarna, i.e SD, finally getting into the
Riksdag, the Swedish parliament. http://sverigedemokraterna.se/
To me, this is an entirely predictable result, and not unlike the rise of the Tea Party and their activists in the U.S., as a vocal response to Obama's public policies, it was the proof that for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.
Some of those NPR stories I heard then were always sort of hard to pigeonhole and figure out just who they were trying to "educate."
"But next, a feminist leader in Ecuador talks about the Vagina Monologues finally coming to Quito."
Yeah, too many curious stories like that with not so thinly-veiled political bias made me realize that listening to NPR so much was just a poor use of my time, which is why I rarely listen to it now. http://www.npr.org/
Frankly, now it just sounds too much like White House and DCCC propaganda, once-removed.
As to the upcoming BBC program, there are many things I wonder about, mostly, to what extent it will have a fair-minded prologue accurately describing the situation that average Swedish citizens find themselves in -a box they can't get out of.
For instance, though it will change after this year, until now, non-European students who come to Sweden get their university education for FREE, paid for by Swedish citizens.
In Sweden, local governments, not the national govt. in the form of the Riksdag, pay the majority of the real costs associated with immigration and assimilation policy, legal and illegal, which are REQUIRED, not optional.
In that sense, local governments there have an 'unfunded mandate,' but there's nobody like
the Dept. of Homeland Security, ICE or DOJ with pots of grant money or stimulus funds
to help a town reconcile their budget costs.
YOU HAVE TO PAY.
As you might imagine, this has a profound effect on municipal budgets in ways that, well, certain large U.S. cities and newspaper editorial boards with pro-amnesty sensibilities, like the Miami Herald, can't possibly imagine or appreciate.
It's a simple fact that at some Swedish colleges, the Masters programs are more than 50% full of Asian students who DON'T pay, which means that Swedish taxpayers are not only paying for someone who is NOT from their own country, but who, possibly, are elbowing out their own son or daughter of their higher education.
THAT brings the issue home in a very tangible way.
University fees might weaken Swedish universities
Nope, with no money trees to shake in Washington, with high-paid lobbyists, the favored South Florida approach, local Swedish governments and citizens pay close to the full freight for an immigration policy they can't change.
Imagine you were them, how would THAT make you feel?
So when was the last time you read or heard about this in a mainstream media news story in the U.S.?
When the time comes during the course of the year for local Swedish governments to set their budget priorities and make them public, do elected officials vote to close a popular library because of the costs associated with immigration assimilation education programs, or do you cut certain Parks & Recreation programs for kids, or close the park a few days a week, so that you can pay for some program for Somali or Turkish emigres?
Around the time of the Swedish parliamentary elections in September, which saw the return to power of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the first center-right prime minister to lead the country for two periods in a row, this time, with a four-party Red-Green coalition, I came across
a fascinating budget story that really brought home to me the costs of their ridiculous immigration policy, though the truth is, I came across it while looking for something else.
This story concerned a northern Swedish town called Gävle, which is roughly about half the size of next-door Hollywood (FL), but like Hollywood, located on the water, in Gävle's case, on the Baltic Sea.
It's also one of the oldest towns in the entire country.
In a September 8th story that appeared in Gefle Dagblad, http://gd.se/ the local chairman there, Roger Hedlund, argues that the government grant of 40 million SEK only covers 22 percent of the costs of refugee protection.
Guess who pays the rest? Do the math!
Here's an excerpt from the story from September:
Sverigedemokraterna vill skrota orkestern Orkestern och flyktingar kostar för mycket enligt SD
Statsbidraget för flyktingmottagandet täcker bara 22 procent av kostnaderna, hävdar Sverigedemokraterna och hänvisar till Sveriges kommuner och landsting. SKL säger att siffran är mellan 70 och 90 procent.
Om Gävle kommun säger upp avtalet med Migrationsverket blir det 153 miljoner kronor över. Pengar som kan satsas på bland annat parboendegaranti och en skattesänkning med 55 öre. Siffrorna presenterades av Sverigedemokraterna i går, när de lade fram sitt lokala valmanifest och en skuggbudget för Gävle kommun.
Ordföranden i Gävle, Roger Hedlund, hävdar att statsbidraget på 40 miljoner kronor bara täcker 22 procent av kostnaderna för flyktingmottagandet.
Would people in South Florida, esp. the pro-amnesty crowd at the Miami Herald's editorial board and and local TV stations' management, and their decisions about what is and is not aired on local newscasts, look at immigration differently if 70-90% of the cost of services given to and provided by the U.S. to immigrants, illegal or otherwise, was borne NOT by the federal government, but by the individual state, county and city and the citizens who live HERE?
Not money coming out of some abstract wallet, not money being printed on some U.S. Treasury printing press, but directly out of their own individual wallet, purse and bank account, affecting their life and their family's?
At the local level, where they can see exactly what local and state govt. services are necessarily eliminated or cut back because of the costs involved in dealing with immigrants? Guess what, that's the reality of the average Swedish citizen.
They and their family have to make do without something because their money is being used for a purpose that they are opposed to, and yet when they complain about something being amiss in their representative democracy, and the costs of this, they are called, at a minimum, selfish and racist, and often quite worse by the condescending domestic and international news media, plus many of their fellow citizens.
Hmm-m-m... sound familiar?
Below, a very typical NPR view of what happened in the Swedish election, with zero context or understanding, but then they never understood Ross Perot's appeal, either, did they?
It sounds exactly like what we all heard and read constantly by the American news media about The Tea Party this year.
THAT kind of condescending and dismissive attitude, without any proper context, I suspect, is exactly what the BBC may well have in store for the city of Malmö and its citizens in less than a fortnight.
I wrote about September's Swedish national election here:
Sept. 16th, 2010 post:
SACC New York will be hosting Swedish Election Watch Party at Aquavit on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/sacc-new-york-will-be-hosting-swedish.html
Sept. 10th, 2010 post:
Sunday Multi-tasking: I'm watching the 2010 Swedish election returns LIVE on SVT -AND the Dolphins at Vikings ballgame!