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A dark shadow coming from Sweden
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-12-14 10:21:19
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Sweden has made global headlines these last few days and that for two different reasons that haven’t got anything to do with the Swedish royal family. However these two things have made me really worrying not only because they are serious on their own but because of the global effect they have and because they apparently started from Sweden.

First has to do with the founder of the Wikileaks Julian Assange who is at the moment under British custody waiting for an extradition hearing for the rape cases in Sweden. I have wrote about it before and I suppose I’m not the only one who believes that if the man is guilty – after goes through the legal procedures and found guilty – he should face the law and the results of his actions. If he’s guilty. But as things have turn the last few months this ‘if’ has taken gigantic dimensions and it is not the Assange followers who did that but his accusers.

When you hear people screaming from the other side of the ocean, from the all-mighty US that he is a criminal, a terrorist who should be hunted and imprison for treason because he gave to the public documents that declare the criminal stupidity of the people who rule us and knowing what has happened in the past – with a little help from the Hollywood of course – you cannot stop thinking of all kind of conspiracy theories. The worst part is that if these women are right, if really Assange raped them, then instead of justice they are going to find themselves in a cyclone of rumours and theories that will do even more damage to them and their surroundings. Actually all this menace against Assange has create a martyr and the victims have turned into demons that are going to pay for that for the rest of their life.

But the whole case has nothing to do really with Assange’s personal life and crimes; actually it has absolutely nothing to do with Wikileaks themselves but it has to do with freedom of speech and freedom of information most of all it has to do with transparency and these documents that leaked through Wikileaks shown that we have serious issues with transparency. Actually they proved that transparency stops where the interests of the mighty and powerful start and what’s the difference then between the democratic west and China or North Korea. Perhaps the difference here is that they are doing it more …civilized! If you could ever put the words civilized and Guantanamo in the same sentence.

The second reason Sweden made headlines the last few days is the terrorist hit in the centre of Stockholm, the suicide bomber and the possibility to have hundreds of innocent victims in a city that has gone for Christmas shopping. And this hit was serious because it hit in the heart of one of the more tolerance countries globally. In Sweden for decades the world tolerance is not just an entry in a dictionary as it is in most of the countries or a theory and wishful thought as it is for too many others. In Sweden tolerance is a reality for decades. And this is something you can see in every aspect of the Swedish life wherever you go, from Stockholm to the Swedish Lapland.

I have talked before on how the Swedish government gave settler to the Greeks that escaped from the dictatorship in late sixties and South Americans from Argentina and Chile found settler in the Scandinavian country to be followed from Spaniards and Portuguese, Moroccans, Algerians, Afghans, Iranians and Iraqis not to forget Ugandans, South Africans even Congolese and Rhodesians. The Swedish state was always there and the Swedish people always welcomed the wounded and helped them. The Swedish democracy with its perfect welfare state has been the role model from every single democracy in this world for decades.

That’s where this not yet identified terrorism hit targeting Christmas shoppers that means hundreds of kids. Only the thought is terrifying. The suicide bomber has been identified but we all wait to see who’s hinting behind the hit. Now this hit has a series of side effects. First of all it shows that nobody is safe and nowhere is safe including the arctic Scandinavia.  Second the target, this time the target was the most innocent of the innocent, kids – the Christmas shoppers – a calculated act that would attract definitely reaction or better in this case uncontrollable revenge. Especially happening in a country with Sweden’s reputation and standards the specific season of the year would sentimentally touch everybody in the west.

After the WWII Europe has been hinting in its darkest closest the dark reality of racism and prejudice that unfortunately has been rising the last few years especially after the terrorist attacks. And Sweden is not an exception despite all the elements I mentioned above, actually most of Scandinavia has dark elements that have been hidden well for decades. These elements found a way lately to rise in many forms including parliamentary ways with parties that express the darkest side of those states and this hit now and this timing works for them, giving them the excuses to expand their rhetoric and action and I’m afraid however cynic I might sound this is the worst thing that started a few days ago with the suicide bomber in Stockholm.

Sweden hit the headlines but I’m afraid that something much darker has hit our hearts the last few days and the combination of the two is tragic for our future in a global democracy.

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