Who is in charge in Sweden?

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 14:52 | Posted in Sweden | 24 Comments

I wrote yesterday about a suburban Stockholm subway station being closed on evenings since Christmas Eve because the police and private security guard firms say they are unable to restore law and order at the station. Passengers and the subway personnel have been terrorized by youth gangs firing fireworks rockets into trains and even at people. My post received much more response than I would have expected.

Some of the comment authors seem to have missed my point. I was not primarily addressing the well known fact that the suburb of Rinkeby is populated by a large number of immigrants and Swedes with a low socio economic status. My most relevant point was that if the government surrender and fail to address the obvious chaos out there the situation is likely to get worse very soon.

Now that the Rinkeby station has been closed in the evenings and a further closing is being considered I am not surprised to learn that the gangs have moved to the nearby station of Tensta to continue their terror over there. Now the officials are considering to close that station as well. There is no word that the government would even have been discussing the option of enforcing the law and bringing life in these suburbs back to normal.

As former politician Johan Ingerö writes in his blog, this is an enormous victory for the criminal gangs. They have the power to close the transport services for thousands of citizens and they are not being held accountable for their actions. Klas joins my evaluation that the Swedish government is just as little in charge at the moment as the Zimbabwean government is in control over that country’s economy.

Some of the comments added to my previous post unfortunately have a racist undertone. The color of the skin of these hooligans is not an issue here. However, as one comment author points out, it is questionable if the police and the government would have been as indifferent about the events if similar events had taken place in a residential area populated by wealthy white people.

There is no doubt that Sweden has made serious mistakes in the past in their efforts to cope with immigrants. One of the most obvious mistakes is the heavily segregated housing policy in Stockholm and other cities. However, at this acute situation addressing the past mistakes is not the first priority.

What urgently needs to be done is restoring law and order and the normal life in the affected areas. The government need to show who is in charge. Is it the government or the mob?



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  1. If the police would actually jail the gangs the station could still be open. I’m betting all they do is remove them from the station and say “Bad little boys, please don’t do it again”. This is because the criminals are probably not even old enough to be charged.
    The crimes also aren’t probably “bad enough” to jail them, maybe they remove the gangs and write a police report which nobody cares about.

    Or maybe the gangs just run into the tunnel or out of the station when the police comes.

  2. Or maybe the gangs tell the police to leave the station.

  3. I live here in Rinkeby and its beside this I can tell you that it does not happen more things then anywere else in Stockholm.

  4. RE: Manne

    Or put it this way – the rest of Sweden isn’t better than Rinkeby. Or, it is as bad in the rest of Sweden as in Rinkeby.

  5. The incompetence of the swedish police is well known.
    Although I would not exactly look forward to a spectacle where the flatfoots, many of them ordered to Stockholm from remote northern villages, are trying to restore order in the Rinkeby subway station with tear gas and rubber bullets, the option, i.e. closing down the subway station in the evening and giving in to the youth gangs is even worse!!!

  6. Manne: How come that only Rinkeby and Tensta had to close down ?

    I live nearby, albeit not IN Rinkeby/Tensta and there are more things going on there. I have also lived where I daily commuted on the blue subway line – and it has always been more “lively” than the others.

    However – still: Giving in and closing the station is not the way to handle this. Even if the “kids” are not old enough for jail – split them up and remove them from the scene – if no parents are available to care for them – put them in homes or “jail” until they are found – they clearly have lost control anyway.

    Unles something is done and we mark that this is NOT aceptable this will escalate !


  7. Anyone who denies the problems with immigration do not simply understand how bad things are. I myself lived a couple of decades in Tensta. Let me tell it very clear, this county is destroying it self with all this limitless immigration of people who contribute with nothing except problems. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a racist, I just honestly think we should not let more non contributing people into our country. We can not and should not think we can help all the worlds people.

  8. Bet the police is hamstrung by law or policy or simply precedent. Remember the uproar after one “youth” (not a Muslim one that time) was gun shot in Gothenburg during the time of the EU summit? In my book that little hooligan had it comin’; he was throwing stones larger than a fist at people and unless he had the IQ of a 4-year-old he must’ve known that that would seriously hurt people. I’d think twice and thrice if I were a policeman before using the necessary force that they rightly should to disperse these punks, knowing how the media will react afterwards regardless of the circumstances.

  9. Vi får väll hoppas att “ungdomsgängen” springer ut på spåren när ett tåg kommer så vi slipper den utgiften i framtiden.

    För ett frisk sverige i framtiden

  10. […] Who is in charge in Sweden? I wrote yesterday about a suburban Stockholm subway station being closed on evenings since Christmas Eve because the […] […]

  11. […] Hoy en mi panel de wordpress, me apareció un artículo de un blogger sueco,  que me llamó la atención porque está reflejando esta situación de “promoción del caos generalizado” que esta conspiranoica parece observar  ( https://larko.wordpress.com/2007/12/27/who-is-in-charge-in-sweden/ ). […]

  12. […] kuitenkin vielä suhteellisen hyvin hallinnassa. Paljon hullumpi on tilanne Ruotsissa, jossa yksi metroasema on suljettu ja Södertäljessä bussiliikenne iltaisin on jouduttu peruuttamaan, kun rikolliset terrorisoivat […]

  13. […] Nii kurtis Larko mõni aeg tagasi, et miskit peab olema väga mäda Rootsi riigis, kus üks metroojaam pannakse lihtsalt kinni, sest ei politsei ega turvad suuda seal laamendavaid jõmmij… […]

  14. Looks like you mean the heading seriously not just as a click-upping journalistic teaser. I don’t think that there is anything to do with Sweden having control over Rinkeby/Tensta etc. Don’t you think this is just the swedish type of control – a) not to deal with the problem when it is too difficult b) not to deal with a problem when it needs swift and radical change c) not to deal with a problem when there will be even a slightest undertone of racism.

    Actually I do not think that the swedish police are pussies. I know they are not. Nor their bosses. The head starts to rot in the local government and rots even more in nation-wide politics. Because the especially nationwide as most people outside Stockholm and Malmö really do not know what “discrimination by the ones who usually talk that they are discriminated” means. And it is a very swedish way of closing your eyes in front of something that is not happening immediately in your backyard.

    I am sorry, larko, but your repeated remarks that the race and/or national background is not relevant when talking about this situation in general are sort of out of context. Nor does it help to qualify someones desperate statements as racism.

    First, without any racial or ethnocultural prejudice, lets face it – there is a clear correlation between crime rates and ethnocultural background in the new-immigrant countries like Sweden, Finland, Norway to name a few. Also in Estonia. This is just a sort of racism to negate objective correlation between cultural/social background and crime, because this only feeds the would be racists. This is like that the easiest way to develop russophobia in Estonia – let the dirtiest Russian chauvinist tell Estonians they are facists and then ask who is a bigger russophobe – and Estonian would be russophobe or the russian who provokes it.

    Secondly, I saw only a few remarks on “racial” basis in the comments to your other post (to be honest, did not dig into the ones written in Swedish) and I did not really see andy fundamentalist racism there, just the sort of immediate reaction to the situation. And when we call this as racism, we start to hand-feed the institutionalized versions of it. There is a not very commonly understood border between making distinction and being a hypocrit. In Sweden this is also biased by the swedish national character that contains of a significant part of hypocracy.

    Yes, Sweden is in deep shit. They have been already for quite some time, but the synergy has taken to bake for some time. Finland, luckily, is not in that deep shit but the statistics is unfortunately there that crime rates are much higher amongst immigrants and recently naturalized persons, certain crimes like rapes have several times higer crime rates.

    Would be too long to continue, but would you mind looking, what can you find about the concept of post-multiculturalism that seems to a way to handle things both in the old (UK, France), new (Sweden) and controversial (Estonia) immigrant societies.

    At some point you might want to look at my blog post about these issues
    (sorry, in Estonian)

  15. Araterl, there is nothing in this post that would argue against your initial conclusions marked with a) b) and c). The absence of a specific statement does not necessarily imply that I would be of an opposite opinion.

    I never said that all or even most of the comments in my earlier post would have had a racist undertone. I said some of them did and some of them did indeed, including some of those written in Swedish. I am truly sorry for that because I do not seek to maintain a platform for racism, at the same time I am very much against censoring comments.

    It is funny that you decided to blame me for “repeated remarks” about the purps’ ethnic background baring in mind that my comments have specifically stated that those remarks are irrelevant as you quite correctly point out. Maybe you read my comments out of their context or failed to understand their context?

    I have not suggested that the Swedish police would be “pussies”. I believe they know how to control a mob and they have the means to do it. I criticized the government (local and national) for failing to adequately address the escalated situation in Rinkeby and later in Södertälje.

    You post “Postmultikulturaalne Eesti” is interesting in its own merit but it does not exactly address the issue at hand in this post.

  16. Now it is my time to be sorry. And tell that both of our comments plus some stuff that provoked them is a good illustration of how racism with or without quotation marks or as being silent in case of the obvious presence of it breeds racism.

    For me, mentioning it in this post and in a comment in the original Rinkeby post seemed enough to call it repeated. Truely what I wanted to point out was that trying to portray the situation as “racially/ethnically irrelevant” actually _is_ a sort of racism and so is the inability of the swedish authorities to react (adequately according to our personal standards?). May I say – you are correct, but you are not right, to put it this (the racism) way.

    I understand, you address the sort of incapacity of the Swedish authorities to control the situation. Option
    a) discriminatory “non-racism” has lead to this political handicap – blame the public who believes such politcal favouritism but politics is all the same everywhere;
    b) this is the sort of swedish way of being balanced that is native to both the politicians and the general public, they both suffer from it, but they both are disabled to act – tragedy of a nation?
    c) is there a c)?

    The reason I referred to post-multiculturalism is that part of the inability to react adeqately seems to be still dreaming in the realms of multiculturalism because the post- incarnation of it has not really reached Sweden. I have not sifted the swedish press about this issue, but I am not surprised if it were quite low-key on all the situation, partly because it is not the issue of Djursholmen and partly because a sort of “not re-locating the Bronze Soldier and trying to find another solutons at all stakes or just doing nothing” is part of the psyche of swedish national character. (hopefully it does not sound racist 😉 )

  17. Please bare in mind that both this and the previous post were written around Christmas and New Year when the situation in Rinkeby and Södertälje was acute and critical. As I concluded in this post, it was not the right time to address the mistakes of integration policy conducted during decades.

    However, that was exactly what the local government concentrated on rather than discussing how to restore normal life in the suburbs. The national government did basically nothing. An equivalent in Tallinn in April would have been a round table discussion about integration rather than restoring law and order in the city (although admitted that the problem was in a much larger scale and hugely more serious in Tallinn).

    Now that the situation has calmed down more in spite of the government than thanks to their efforts, no serious analysis has taken place and I do not believe it will even take place. Having lived in both high and low status suburbs in and around Stockholm I can assure that the everyday life is very different in Alby or Västra Flemingsberg and Saltsjöbaden or Midsommarkransen. There are totally opposite sets of rules for what sort of behavior is both unofficially and officially tolerated in each of those areas. The good people of Saltsjöbaden would not have been forced to walk home from next station if something similar had happened there.

    Your post about multi culturalism provides a good framework but it does not as such apply for the Swedish situation. The integration policy of Estonia can be criticized on several points but the basic difference with Sweden remains: Sweden was never occupied and the Swedish language and culture were never in danger because of an external occupation. Whatever Sweden did wrong was their own doing.

  18. You have to realise that in Swedish society and government there is a huge amount of hypocracy when it comes to immigration issues.
    Most qualified immigrants living in Sweden will never get middle class or high paid jobs. These are reserved for the native Swedes. The majority of the immigrants are forcefuly employed in never ending employment schemes which pay the existence minimum or other low status and low paid jobs. There are token jobs provided in State industry and authorities for a limited amount of immigrants, but these are very few.
    The state will never admit this of course as the double standards supply cheap labour without which the State could not function.
    Swedish night clubs refuse entry to coloured immigrants quite openly and even if filmed are very rarely prosecuted.
    There is segragation in Swedish residential areas which is there for all to see, but which is officialy denied. Owners of apartment blocks in desirable residential areas block people who do not have a Swedish name from hiring an apartment.
    I have lived here in Sweden since 1985. I am white and a native Englishman. Swedish hypocracy makes me feel ill.
    I shall be leaving this place soon thank God, but I have a BIG clanging mouth and will be telling what I have seen here first hand! I also have amassed documentary proof which I have been collecting for years.

  19. Roger, your description sounds familiar. I used to live in Sweden 1980-1983 and most of what you write about was there back then. I would have had a good chance to make a decent career but I could not stand the hypocrisy you mention. It is not just jobs and housing, a hypociritical approach is applied on all aspects of everyday life. Also, politicians and bureaucrats are far alienated from the reality of ordinary citizens, be they Swedish natives or immigrants.

  20. […] Who is in charge in Sweden? (mina), kuhu lisati viimati täna väga hea kommentaar. […]

  21. I know it goes now well beyond the Rynkeby affairs but it just leads to this…

    What Roger tells, rings the bell. At that time I thought it was all about my perception. Swedes are very calm, often emotionless and hypocritical (both are by seeming but they also truely are and it is accepted in the Swedish society). From one hand it is the polite correctness and from the other hand there is the factual outcome that immigrants are excluded from a variety of positions in the society.

    But hey, doesn’t every nation or culture have the right for some sort of self protection that is often not expressed in some official discriminatory regulations but just happens to be like it is? It takes tens if not hundreds of years to start to trust another culture and to treat them as a true equal. Isn’t that a natural reaction we can see in kindergardens, elementary schools and village societies – all that is different (short, tall, fat, thin etc) gets some distinctive treatment. It is just a natural reaction. Becoming agressive or unpolite is not good. But being excessively hypocritical about it, is neither.

    Take UK, (correct me Roger if I am wrong) the only reason why people of say indian origin have (or have they?) progressed on the status ladder is that besides the oh so end-of-20th-century non-discriminatory attitude there is a long history of immigrant population in the UK and 3rd-4th generation indians have really culturally assimilated, re-trained their ‘r’-s, leaving only the skin colour as a distinctive feature. How many late immigrants from islamic countries, Eastern Europe or Africa can you find on similar positions?

    In Estonia there is a similar situation. Formally and legally there is no ‘social discrimination’ and ‘discrimination on national basis’. Period. On factual basis, Russians have shorter life expectancy, lower income, higher unemployment, lower birth rate, higer suicide rate, higher crime rate etc that cannot be reduced to the cultural background only.

    Russians talk about Estonias using the exact same words as I told about the Swedes ‘calm’, ‘hypocritical’ or ‘arrogant’, ‘discriminating’. Looking from the inside and maybe considering the historical context one can say that this is the natural survival instinct. But this is not about the special situation of Estonians only (small population close to demographic collapse with negative long term natural increase in population and recent traumatic occupation experience).

    The natural behaviour to protect ones community, culture etc is there. Even if you overly stress or neutralize it, people just behave in a protective manner. Trying to forcefully suppress or compensate the natural behaviour leads to a) agressive, over-reactive nationalism or nazism/facism in extreme cases; b) hypocracy – either the Swedish, American or some other type; c) actually leads to discrimination of the natives or the majority by superseding the natural behaviour in the society.

    Again, the concept of post-multiculturalism is a good parallel – it acknowledges that such self-protection mechansims exist, that they are natural, but it does not allow to lean on that fact. Things just happen as they do. In a broad scale, stability is important and in some cultures actual integration happens and in some cultures it just plain doesn’t happen.

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