I decided to try making a weekly vodcast with Swedish news from the past week. Here’s the first edition, though hopefully there will be more to follow.
Tonight they showed a feature on children being victimised by staff at one of Sweden’s biggest orphanages – Barnhemmet Oasen. For the next month it can be found on the TV 4 webpage with English subtitles: http://www.tv4play.se/program/kalla-fakta?video_id=2296617
I’ve personally touched a bit on this orphanage in my own international reporting and had planned to make a major expose, talking to parents of children who had been placed there etc, but never had the resources at my disposal to follow through with this. Almost a bit surprised that they cover it this extensively, and with English subtitles no less. Yet what was shown there was only the tip of the iceberg. Children who are placed at this orphanage and others like it can expect a hellish time, and rarely are they placed for good reasons.
Apparently in today’s Sweden, you have to watch your language even in private letters to public-owned companies. A 45-year-old man wrote derogatorily about immigrants in e-mail to his landlord after they’ve annoyed him on the yard outside his apartment. Then he lost both his job and was charged with agitation against ethnic group (“hets mot folkgrupp”), with the prosecutor calling for “a couple of months in prison” for him. Was the Soviet union ever this bad? http://www.dt.se/brottsplats/1.5604929-hotas-av-fangelse-for-hets-mot-folkgrupp
Mono, or glandular fever as it’s known outside of America, is very rarely lethal. That is, assuming you’re not a client of the Swedish foster care system, which Donia Hassan, born in 1997, had been for the last five years – against the will of both herself and her mother.
A scourge that’s long plagued traffic in European cities may now be coming to an end, judging by the findings in a research study financed by The National Board of Health and Welfare. Though attempts at reaching Nollvisionen – the goal of not having a single traffic accident on Swedish roads – have been somewhat successful, people still meet tragic deaths in car crashes. Social planners have long been baffled over the problem, and the reason why Vision Zero hasn’t been achieved has eluded traffic analysts for some time. Yet now a genetic anomaly has been discovered that may explain why even drivers who have passed Sweden’s rigorous driving exams still end up crashing cars.
The culprit bio marker is something called the X chromosome. According to M.D. Pär Räkmacka, people carrying just one copy of the chromosome are at no risk of becoming a part of this scourge. Yet when an individual carries two copies of this X chromosome, an anomaly may develop that’s for now been given the name the “Gynaikon Syndrome.”
– We’re hopeful that this finding may lead to us finally achieving the goal we’ve fought hard and long for, Dr. Räkmacka says – a society with not a single person dead from traffic accidents. When asked about how serious a risk factor this Gynaikon Syndrome is in traffic accidents, Räkmacka still cautions some moderation in applying these findings willfully. “Even though people suffering from this syndrome are at a highly elevated risk of crashing their cars, people should still not be at high risk in modern cars due to the advances in vehicle safety. As long as they’ve got their seat belts on, passengers in cars driven by people with the Gynaikon Syndrome should still make it home alive assuming they’re not too cursed with bad luck.”
One of Sweden’s political parties – the Sweden Democrats (SD) – has taken these findings to heart, however. In a parliamentary bill filed by party leader Jimmie Åkesson and signed by 18 SD MP’s, a call is made for legislation barring “people with one X chromosome too many” from operating automotive vehicles.
– I remember a time when people with this syndrome didn’t drive cars at all, and back then it was a joy traveling our roads. Alas, that time is long since gone due to the emergence of drivers with this X chromosome anomaly. But with our bill, we hope that we can once again make the roads safe for family travel and pleasant to drive on. If the bill passes the vote in Riksdagen, we can have it in force by 1 January 2013.
He faces opposition from former Left Party chairwoman Gudrun Schyman, however, who’s suffering from the Gynaikon Syndrome. “Barring people with two X chromosomes from driving cars would be outright discrimination, it’s like we’re in Saudi Arabia,” Schyman says. “Though I don’t believe their bill will pass, I’ve still launched a petition against it. At the time of writing, Schyman’s petition stands at 233 signatures, which doesn’t inspire much confidence. And critics point out that Schyman herself has a history of traffic accidents; she’s driven her Trabant into ditches on two different occasions, and another time she suffered engine engine failure on one of Stockholm’s most heavily trafficked roads, an incident that made national news.
It’s a given that politicians at one time or another end up exploiting your research for their own ends, Dr. Räkmacka says. Yet in whatever way these findings are implemented, I’m confident they will be of tremendous value to society.
This Thursday, the ECHR delivered the verdict in a hate speech case that was appealed to it five years ago, back on 4 January 2007. In December of 2004, seven young men were distributing leaflets about homosexuality at high school Staffanskolan in the small Swedish town of Söderhamn. The message on these leaflets was critical of the way homosexuality was presented in Swedish education and called for a debate on the topic. To quote the portion of leaflet later charged to be hate speech: (My translation) Continue reading →
On 28 November, the Swedish committee, since its inception during the summer of 2009 under the leadership of county governor Eva Eriksson, delivered its final report – SOU 2011:75 (SOU = Official Reports of the Swedish Government). This 1100-page document calls for the government to among other things:
Back in the 1990’s, Americans finally had enough of child molesters preying on their children, and incidents such as the rape-murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka sparked a popular movement that resulted in laws being passed which required convicted sex offenders to register with the authorities and make their whereabouts known. Today Mikael Skillt and his “Stop the pedophiles” network are looking to implement the same sort of laws in Sweden too, yet find the justice system is putting obstacles in their way. What will follow here is an interview with the spokesperson for this movement – but first a bit of history.
Back on 20 April, 42-year-old Dan Park had spent the afternoon putting up highly provocative wanted posters of a black man named Jallow Momodou, depicting him as a slave gone missing. To quote the poster: “Our negro slave has run away!! If you know where he is or if you’ve seen him please call.” In the process, Park had been pursued by a citizen who had seen what he was doing and who called the police on him. Shortly thereafter, they arrested him red-handed putting up posters. This Thursday he was subsequently indicted for hate speech under the Swedish HMF law (agitation against ethnic group) as well as two other crimes, facing a possible two years in prison.
The year so far has witnessed numerous scandals involving partying and drug abuse on the part of the Sweden Democrats (SD), a political party with only a year-long history in the Swedish parliament – Riksdagen – after finally having made it past the 4% block during the 2010 elections. This Monday it was revealed that 23-year-old William Petzäll, the most notorious of the party’s drug fiends, had been involuntarily committed to a care facility last week under the Care of Alcoholics, Drug Abusers and Abusers of Volatile Solvents Act – the LVM law in Swedish.