Observing Sweden – Immigration: Part 1

This will be a series, once a week I think, on Sundays, maybe. I am not Swedish, but a permanent resident in a small town of 50 thousand . . . was 50 thousand, more than that now. My opinions are purely my own, as an observer who does not speak Swedish and with little understanding of the county’s politics. Yet, I am here, and in the middle of it, an off center immigrant myself.


I recently saw a politically correct comment on Facebook, re: immigration. Someone explaining an incorrect analysis for what is going on. “It’s not an invasion,” they said. This caught my interest. The ‘invasion’ word has crossed my mind at times. I was inspired to look it up.

“Invasion: A military offensive in which large parts of combatants of one geopolitical entity aggressively enter territory controlled by another geopolitical entity, generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a territory, forcing the partition of a country.”

So, immigration’s not aggressive. Maybe passive aggressive – something more powerful than aggression–Surrender. “Please, just take me in. Give me a place to live, a job, a life. Don’t let me drown!” There’s no defense. You can’t say no. We can fight wars, kill millions, but we can’t say no to this. The picture of the dead child on a beach, this lifeless poster boy who captured hearts of millions. Of the thousands of photos of immigrants, this is the one we will remember. “We’ve got to do something!” Over two thousand have drowned at sea.

It’s not an invasion, but there are casualties, and soldiers, and barbed wire, and resistance. I think Europe has done very well, so far, but welcome mats are starting to be taken off the porch.

Change and social tensions.

I watched French politician, Jean-Marie La Pen being on ‘Hard Talk,’ last week. He is 87 now.

“Let’s face it, your an old man,” he was told, and then accused of too much ‘looking back’. He wanted France to remain French in personality, to be as it has been. Not hard to understand. Most people do not welcome big changes in their lives. We like to know what’s going on, and what is coming up, a dependable status quo.

But it’s not an invasion. Let’s call it in an infusion that will change things, now and in the years to come, far distant futures.

I was in Sri Lanka in the eighties, when the Tamil Tiger Liberation terrorists were killing people. They were Tamil Nadu, Hindus the English brought over from India to build the tea plantations. Years passed, and generations of Tamil children were born as the plantations were built. Then the English went home in 1948, and the Tamil, Hindus were stuck on an island of Ceylonese Buddhists, without passports or civil rights. India didn’t want them back. The Tamil Nadu region had more poverty than it could handle, and did not want more.

Papers were shuffled between India and Ceylon (by now Sri Lanka), for years. Agreements were signed, then broken. Four decades later a boat load of Tamils got chopped up with machetes on a ferry coming over from India. The Tamils retaliated by slaughtering a bunch of Buddhist Priests. The Tigers were born, with religion a driving force between on both sides. The Tigers were the first to blow up an airliner, a plane load of Germans on their way home. The plane was still on the runway, in the process of taking off.

It can’t happen here, of course. But it’s hard not to see similarities, and possibilities if things go sideways. This mass infusion’s happening so fast. Does anyone have time to look ahead for twenty five or thirty years?

Next Week: What’s Not News In Sweden


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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11 Responses to Observing Sweden – Immigration: Part 1

  1. ShimonZ says:

    changes happen whether we wish them or fight them. And the older we are the more difficult it is to adjust. The positive things we take for granted. The negative things are considered a disastrer… and of course, not everyone can agree on what is positive and what’s negative.

  2. Thanks for writing about this. I look forward to reading the others you will write on the matter.

  3. tubularsock says:

    Tubularsock too is going to be interested in your insights from one who is “on the ground”.
    The only invasion that happened is when the U.S. attacked Syria and has tried to destabilize it.

    From then on the mess is past off to Europe and what Tubularsock wonders is just how long will Europe be willing to clean the mess. The new vote from the EU on accepting Snowden is a step in the correct direction.

  4. Thoughtful and very worthwhile, Bruce, and good to bring up these issues
    of today and especially since you’re living in Europe that’s bearing the brunt of the

    Best to You


  5. It’s interesting to hear the U.S. news folks worry about the suffering immigrants desperate to reach Europe while ignoring women and children fleeing the cruelty in Central America who are trying to get into the U.S. One of our political parties will solve it all with a giant fence.
    Thanks for opening the discussion.

  6. jwindborne says:

    Coming late to this conversation. Just after the Paris invasion. We all want to think “It can’t happen here,” but it just happened there. I agree with Tubularsock that the US mucking around in the Middle East has upset a balance and now we are watching the pieces fall out. That balance may have been forged through years of oppression, but it was a balance nonetheless.

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