Swedish researchers agree integration has failed
On November 2, 2015, Alice Teodorescu, wrote for Göteborgs Posten a heartfelt article entitled “Det som nu inträffar är ett enormt svek” (What is now happening is a huge betrayal). Within her piece, Teodorescu discusses the apparent reasons for escalating crime in Sweden while other Nordic countries do not seem to share these same high crime rate numbers.
She quotes, Jerzy Sarnecki, Professor of Criminology at Stockholm University, who weighs in with his opinion in a recent SVT interview, “I rather think that we have a much weaker social situation here. What we now see is the result of a failure that extends for twenty years when these young guys grow up and now become the shooters,” (SVT 2/11).
“Our research shows that these problems are not imported but they occur here because of the alienation that society has not succeeded in breaking down.”
Teodorescu agrees, “Sweden is becoming an increasingly divided country, with parallel societies within a society.”
She writes with great sadness, “What is now happening is a huge betrayal, against those who have lived here for many generations, as well as against those who came here yesterday.”
“In area after area, the effects are obvious: the employment gap between foreign and native born, declining school performance, segregation in housing, welfare dependency, growing crime in already vulnerable neighbourhoods,”
Sarnecki, who has done considerable research on the topic of criminology, goes on to say that some neighbourhoods have been especially hard hit by shootings and violence. He states that this refers to a failure of integration policies and further states that “No one has made a proper analysis of the situation.”
“We have areas where education levels are low, unemployment is high, and school achievement is low. Our research shows that these problems are not imported but they occur here because of the alienation that society has not succeeded in breaking down.”
I don’t like to say I told ya so but … yeah.
A year and a half ago, I wrote an article entitled Sweden’s Learning Curve. It was picked up by several news publications and shared over social media many times with almost an epiphanic response from readers. Within the article, I spoke to the difficulties foreign born highly educated professionals have in obtaining work in Sweden. Not because they don’t speak Swedish or because they aren’t trying to find work, but often just because they aren’t Swedish. This boils down to a staggering environment of xenophobia on the part of hiring managers. Some of these managers, while acknowledging that they wish to embrace diversity, simply do not know how to do it. Others simply refuse.
The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) reports that Sweden has one of the greatest differences in employment levels between native born and foreign born – 63.5 percent of foreign-born people held down a job in 2014, compared to 77.7 percent of those who are native born.
Xenophobia = fear
Racism = hate
If Sweden – and this is extremely prevalent in Gothenburg – has fear of hiring educated, experienced foreign professionals from the US, Australia, or Canada … what exactly is going to happen to the 190,000 refugees coming into the country just this year? Yes, Sweden, give them sanctuary but will you allow them a job? Give them a monthly stipend, but will you allow them to prosper? Welcome them with open arms but then keep them hidden in separate neighbourhoods?
I have watched how Sweden can systematically strip away the dignity of immigrants by not allowing integration or career opportunities – the doctor from Syria who can no longer support his family, the Americans who come for love and still can not find employment after three years of searching, the Canadian who once managed a restaurant for ten years and now can’t even get a job washing dishes.
I believe one of the reasons Sweden tops the charts for entrepreneurship is because some foreign professionals, rather than turning to crime, have been forced to create their own businesses. It is simply the only way these people will be able to make a living. And yet, Sweden’s PR machine takes credit for being so very innovative.
“Drugs are the fuel of conflict, but the root of the problem is social injustice in society,” Torbjörn Forkby, social worker and researcher at Gothenburg University, explains to SVT. Forkby has conducted extensive research on the mechanisms of gang problems in Gothenburg suburbs.
According to Forkby it is correct to speak of a broken integration policies. “It is obvious that integration policy has failed,” he said.
Compared to neighbouring countries, researchers in Sweden find the situation is extreme. The figures SVT News developed shows that the number of gunshot victims and dead in all the three major Swedish cities far exceeds the numbers in Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki.
“The figures are very remarkable,” said Micael Björk, a sociologist at the University of Gothenburg, including research on policing and organised crime.
Many of the officers and scientists SVT News spoke with emphasise that it is, after all, a small part of all the people living in socially disadvantaged areas who choose the criminal path. But as Robert Karlsson, chief investigator at the police in Gothenburg, points out – many of the leaders of the criminal networks are “incredibly driven and talented individuals”.
“The society does not manage to take advantage of these talents – that they do not find ways to channel their energies in a positive way – is a huge social failure,” Robert Karlsson told SVT.
*NUMBER OF GUNSHOT VICTIMS IN THE NORDIC CITIES IN 2010 – FIRST HALF 2015TH
Helsinki, 10 (approximately)
*NUMBER KILLED IN SHOOTOUTS 2013 – SEPT 2015
*Footnote: As reported by SVT 11/2 – The figures from Stockholm, the Stockholm County
Source: County council care claims database and police
As shootings and murder among gangs increase, there has recently been over a dozen arson attacks against refugee accommodations, and most notably the fatal attack of a sword wielding masked man at the Kronan school in Trollhättan. But these crimes are not being committed by immigrants.
Reuters on November 2, reported that in Northern Sweden, a note attempted in Arabic – possibly written with an Internet translation service – was posted on the door of a refugee accommodation which read “This is the last warning. Leave our town. You cannot survive the winter. If you do not leave this place you will die. Remember, there are no police here. We can do what we want to you.”
Ihab Nasser, who came to Sweden earlier this year from Eritrea, told Reuters, “We are terrified. We take turns to sleep and there’s always someone keeping guard.”
Writer/photographer Lisa Mikulski. Available for print or online publications and business in the Nordic region, Europe, and the U.S. Editorial, features, marketing copy, and public relations.