This is a locked position, but it can be solved if both parties try to see things from another perspective. The man in the picture has the upper hand and is in power position. Most likely he hates immigrants, is islamophobic, maybe a misogyn, maybe not. Then again he just may be an ordinary man, well-brought up with mostly good values, a nice man in most situations, but he has had his values influenced by the negative media picture of brutal muslims oppressing women, killing their daughters and people of other religions. He is angry and frustrated because he doesn’t want immigrants to take over the country, and moreover his son has recently been attacked by some immigrant boys. What he doesn’t know is that the woman infront of him is a nice woman. She has no intention of killing him or any other foul deed. This woman has fled a war zone, seen her brother and father being killed, and daughter being raped. She is frightened too. She has a family to feed and not much money. She also need someplace to stay. The woman though too has prejudiced notions in her mind. She doesn’t understand the Swedish society. The Swedes are from her perspective immoral, perverted, less valuable than her people and not good Muslims, something that this man is aware of and that makes him angry and resentful towards her. Nevertheless, now she needs help and the situation is locked.
The notions I describe above on both sides do exist. I have been in many situations and met so many people who express feelings and thoughts like these. In a situation like this we must meet half ways. Instead of seeing the other person as a potential threat, try to see the human infront of you. Try to see it from the opposite direction. How would you react if you had been the other? Nobody can change entirely and we are who we are. Most of us can adapt to new situations and learn new customs to some extent, but our national pride and our upbringing along with our experiences influence our values. We can’t relate to, like or take care of everyone.
Still we must learn to co-exist. In enclaves like Rosengard or similar suburbs you can’t expect the Swedish society to adapt entirely to the new groups, since the mix is a combination of high and low, and so many ethnic groups with different customs that it becomes virtually impossible. On the other hand we must accept that our country and our world in the days of globalization has a new face, and understand the value in ordinary, good people in a harsh situation who try to adapt and succeed. If the landowner above shows pity on the woman, accept her as a tenant, an intelligent and hardworking woman, he will gain her respect and prove himself a great man, but that respect must go both ways. She too must find a way to live and show respect for this man and the Swedish society. If they don’t try to understand each other the problems will increase. Understanding and mutual respect is so much better in situations like these.
I’m so proud of my Swedish history, of the customs we have, our beautiful countryside, the wildlife, lakes, our inventions etc. I feel pride when I see the Swedish flag, or when I listen to Swedish music. Still this new face of the Swedish nation is something that we have to accept and therefore we must solve the integration.
Anders Moberg, November 14th 2012