A United Malmoe/Ett Enat Malmö


Like so many places here on Earth the city of Malmoe has both its good aspects and its bad. Then again it depends who you ask what the good and bad things are. In a way I see the city I live in as a kind of micro-cosmos of the world as a whole. Malmoe is hard, cruel, divided, stubborn, violent, segregated and unjust. Malmoe is also comfortable, laid-back and nice, co-operating, peaceful, welcoming and beautiful. The different social problems with segregation, poverty, violence, death-shootings, racist-attacks, hate-crimes, honour-related violence and gang life which has given Malmoe a bad reputation to some extent, abroad too, has a positive opposite side in the beautiful aspects of this city’s life. The yang opposing yin. Malmoe has during the last 15-20 years been given a much more attractive surface in many places, modern illuminated bridges and objects, fountains, statues and sculptures, high-tech and modern architecture mixed with older classical buildings, cafés, more parks and green-areas as well as bicycle-paths. But there is also a new trend in recent years which I like in distinct opposition of this city’s bad-will. That is a much more distinct awareness  and a wish to do good. A work in more unison. Different ways to oppose hatred, oppose crime, oppose injustices, drug-deals, and instead work for good values: fairness, co-operation, affection, respect. I like that. We will always have a divided city and a divided world, but there can ALWAYS be improvements both on smaller and bigger scales. Today I intend to write about one such attempt which naturally must be put in perspective as one piece in the bigger jigzaw-puzzle of Malmoe life and human interaction.

Between August 1st and August 3d there were seminars, panel-debates, information tables, discussions and work-shops held at Sofielunds Folkets Hus. It was a co-operation between Malmoe University, Glokala Folkhögskolan/The Glocal Folk High School and some non-profit organizations. They were Skåne Stadsmission/Scania City Mission, Ge rasismen rött kort/Give racism a red card, Hassela Ungdomsrörelse/Hassela Youth Movement, Hela Malmö/All Malmoe, Välkommen!/Welcome!, Café Pan-Africa Malmö, Rörelsen Gatans Röst och Ansikte/The Movement the Voice and Face of the Street. Also Romskt Informations- och Kunskapscenter/Romany  Information and Knowledge Centre as well as Malmö mot Diskriminering/Malmoe Against Discrimination. The network “Ett enat Malmö”/A united Malmo was formed on initiative by the Institute for Social work at Malmoe University. The idea is to gather social-workers, scientists, other dedicated people and different organizations to build platforms for co-operation over the borders. You find information at http://www.ettenatmalmo.se. During those three days, August 1st to 3d, they had something called The Summer Academy. I went there to participate day two and three. I couldn’t participate in day one for various reasons, since I was otherwise engaged. During day one they had discussed: “For a united Malmoe”, “Swedish sports” – good and bad, challenges, inclusion. “Who are we and who are they?,” “Bridge-building between science and activism”, “Refugees without papers”, “Laws against discrimination” and the rap-school “Beat it”.  When I arrived for day two there were some different work-shops to choose from. I talked to some friends, acquaintences, former pupils and some new people. This Friday morning was warm and beautiful. When I had taken information leaflets and watched the list of the later workshops I sat down for the first part. A panel debate about “Hopelessness, hope, hip hop and different knowledges in the meetings.”.


The panel consisted of both a couple of scientists and some young people between 19 and 34 who had chosen or ended up on a non-academic path in life – at least as yet. The marvellous and enjoyable thing to see was the respectful way between all seven in the panel. But that was just the purpose, to show the various background, presenting part of each panel member’s background story, and then discuss attitudes, life choices and bridge-building in accordance with every individual’s choices, challenges and life stories. One thing that was said in criticism was that no politicians had come, despite invitations, to this Summer Academy. All the same the discussions were interesting. Johan Söderman who was a music scientist told us that he had a working-class background, but had chosen an academic path for his life, but also with a heart that was beating for those kids who were in trouble or had tough life situations. He also talked about the two slightly different concepts of “bildning” and “utbildning”.  “Utbildning” is the Swedish equivalent of “education”: What you learn in Schools on different levels. “Bildning” on the other hand could more be translated as “knowledge acquiring”.  It might be applied on many different things. How you learn to walk or ride a bike, how to play football or to dance, what you learn from the Internet, or from being and speaking with other people etc. Johan Söderman also pinpointed how important it is to learn in different ways and that both ways are equally good, depending on personality types, skills and wishes. A professor isn’t necessarily more intelligent and better than a baker or a ballet dancer. We all have a journey, a journey of different knowledge acquiring in our lifes, in Swedish “en bildningsresa”. Janet Jadanné to the far right in the picture above is a dance teacher. Her father is retired and her mother a cleaning-lady. Janet started dancing early on in life, first just for fun as a hobby, and later more seriously. She had got new assignments and had been dancing for a dance academy in the suburb of Rosengård for some years. Batoul, second to the right above, was born in Borås, but grew up in the suburb Kroksbäck here in Malmoe. She has led a rather normal youth life.  Some time ago she was persuaded to join the Hassela Youth Movement. When she got there she had loved it. It was like a big, warm family. Batoul also said that as a voluntary job she within that movement had been working as an extra help teacher at a lower-secondary school here in town. She had commited herself to the kids, kicked ball in the play-ground with them, helped them understand the school-work and become very appreciated, but she had sensed a sulkiness and jealousy from some teachers. All the same, Batoul loved what she was doing. Iman, 19 years old, had been working extra in a store when she too was persuaded to join Hassela Youth Movement. She has also loved the atmosphere there and said that she would like to continue with it. Filip Wallander is leader of a scientific reasearch platform at Malmoe University. He had a totally academic background, where both parents had been well-educated and it was not a question of if Filip would study at university, but when. Filip Wallander is into social studies and now head of Ett Enat Malmö. Daniel “Danny” Diaz, 34, had a tough upbringing, but the music saved him. Through rap and hip hop he could express himself, even if he was on the brink of falling through in his teen-age years. When he was working at school in Lund he met Johan Söderman, the music scientist and they became friends and have been so for more than a decade. Nicklas, 32, has a dedication for kids who go through tough times, and helping them to a spare time outside crime and other problems. He himself had a tough upbringing, but at the age of 22 Nicklas found his path combining basket-ball playing and hip hop.  Another word used for all these activities was “community” as one of the panel members said. One woman in the audience protested slightly though that she hadn’t asked people from other cultures to come here, and that she who had grown up here must be able to make some demands. She was met with  silence.


After the panel debate there were workshops. I decided to go to the one called “Combining theory and work practice: performing intersectional social work”. It was held by Johanna Saunders above, leader at Enter Mötesplats/Enter Moot, which is part of Malmoe City Mission’s work. She was talking about their work with young people of various backgrounds.  Since Malmoe is a city with social problems and huge gaps the City Mission try to help people in trouble.  We were about 15-20 people in the room listening to her, and Johanna Saunders was very good listening to, distinct and clear in her descriptions. She said that it’s vital to have knowledge, different activities, awareness about different society functions and give the girls and young women they help individual support and guidance. At Enter Mötesplats they have separate support-talks, ombudsman activities with contacts with authorities, schools etc. They also have network-meetings and aid to move on. Their working method/approach, is adapted after each girl they meet. Enter Mötesplats have regular girl-meetings and the girl’s right to influence the way forward and affect their own lives is vital. They are challenged to change. The articles 2, 3, 6, 12, 19, 26, 27, 31 and 4 in the UN’s Children’s Convention is the foundation for their work. The intersectional work is about analyzing, investigating and influence different forms of inequalities and power-structures. Also to think and reflect critically, actively work against discrimination from a Human Right’s perspective. The intersectional work  has the purpose to strengthen the target group’s emanicipation and empowerment. An abbreviation which was used here was KASAM/Känsla AV Sammanhang, which in English would be “Feeling Of Context”. Enter Mötesplats has four full time social workers and they co-operate with the Social Services, BUP/Child and Youth Psychiatry, KomVux, i.e. Municipal Adult School and Malmoe University.  After the seminar I exchanged a few words with Johanna and left the room pondering.



After the work-shop I had been to there was a break again. I went out in the sun for a while, talking to some of my friends and acquaintances. Then I had a coffee inside and talked to Gustavo Nazar and a couple of young adults about what we had learned.  The next seminar was held by professor Tapio Salonen from Malmoe University. He was talking about the cracks in the well-fare systems. He showed us different diagrams where he compared Sweden with other countries, the economic situation in Sweden during recent years and the last three to four decades. The economic situation in Sweden isn’t at all bad in comparison, but the gaps between those who have and those who haven’t any financial and social security has widened greatly the last 5-10-20 years.  The child poverty is growing, even though it’s not as great as in many other countries. Tapio Salonen has his lectures for both students, non-profit organizations and wealthy industry-leaders alike. Some research-results about racism on the housing-market have deliberately also been covered-up, Salonen told us, because the results are awkward, even on government level. He showed us the social division in Malmoe, a division most of us already were well familiar with.  For me personally it’s important to be able to combine personal development, economic progress and relative ambition with awareness and a social conscience. A balance which isn’t easy to find. Professor Salonen was very laid-back and knowledgeable, and he was very dedicated, that was evident.



The next morning, Saturday, August 3d was a new fine day. Again many had gathered for the last day of this Summer Academy. It started at ten a.m. with new workshops. This time I chose to participate in one called “Maktanalytikerna”/The Power Analysts. It was led by Charlene Rosander, whom you see to the left in the photo above. She has these power-analyse-games with pupils at Pauli Upper-Secondary School.  One of her pupils from Pauli helped her in this work-shop. We were gathered in a ring and asked to present ourselves. Then we were given notes with a word containing a phenomenon related to social status, racism, power etc. Then we should explain our ideas about that word. Another game was to walk around the room to music and stop when Charlene called out a question, e.g: “What are the expected demands on a girl?” or “What are the expected demands on a boy?” etc.  We should then discuss that two or three together. We also were given a note each with a description of who we would be: e.g. “an unemployed 40-year old white woman” or “a white male tennis-player” or “a white male in a wheel-chair” or “an unemployed immigrant-woman”. Then we should take a step forward for each time we could do anything suggested for a specific situation. This was a training in empathy and power-reflection.


Irene Molina from Stockholm University had also been invited to talk about utopic societies and the world we live in. The word “Utopia” means “A place which doesn’t exist”. It was coined in 1516 by the British philosopher and theologian Thomas Moore who was working during the rule of Henry VIII, but later jailed and executed in 1535 when he refused to acknowledge the king as head of the new Anglican Church.  Irene Molina described what Moore had said about Utopia, but also explained that even if we live in a dystopic society, as we tend to do now partly, we need the utopic ideas to stay alive and develop.  She also talked about the power-structures in society, the assymetric pattern in it all and the segregation. The day was ended with some hip hop-talents. All in all it was interesting to listen in what was said, and the many thought-provocative topics. We do not have a perfect society, and we never will, and there will always be schisms between different wishes and interpretations of reality.  Depending on who we are, where we are, what situation we’re in, what ideologies we value and ambitions we have we never will agree totally. There will continue to be clashes between different idelogies, but given some effort and good-will many people of different “colours” might construct some bridges between us anyway, irrespective of age, gender, social, ethnic, political and religious background.

Anders Moberg, August 12th 2013

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