Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer takes a look across the border at his next-door neighbor to assess the progress of cultural enrichment in Sweden.
The European joyride
A brief report from Sweden
by The Observer
The tiny little village of Hedekas in Munkedal Municipality, Västra Götaland County, Sweden is one of those little picturesque places that city slickers caught up in the modern day rat race dream about escaping to. It’s the kind of village you’ll see beckoning to you from screen savers on computer monitors in cramped little office cubicles all over the world. It’s one of those spots where time just seems to stand still and the inhabitants couldn’t care less. It’s the kind of place where everybody knows everybody, where you don’t have to lock your doors at night because you know your neighbors would never in a million years think about breaking into your house to steal your property, or heaven forbid, wish to cause you any harm.
There are thousands of villages just like Hedekas all over the Western world. You’ll find them scattered across the countryside in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Norway, Sweden and anyplace else where Western civilization is still the dominating force. The people who reside in these places might speak with different accents, have different mother tongues, slightly different customs and traditions, but they all share some common morals and values, and they would instantly be able to recognize the similarities if they were visiting an analogous village in a different country or county. If asked, the majority would probably also tell you that they like things just the way they are.
But unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your political point of view), the Kadour family, newly arrived “refugees” from Syria, see it differently. After spending less than a week in Hedekas, they have had enough and made the life-changing decision to return to Germany, the country they said goodbye to when they decided to try their luck in Sweden. Mulham Kadour, the head of the family, has a hard time disguising his disappointment while being interviewed by a local reporter from JP.se, which has stayed in touch with the family since they first stepped off the Stena Line passenger ferry in Gothenburg less than a week ago.
The family is back in Gothenburg, standing outside the central train station with all their belongings packed in big duffel and shopping bags, waiting for the next train that will take them back to Germany, when the interview takes place. Mulham tells the journalist that he became frustrated by the size of Hedekas, by the tiny population and the massive forest that surrounds the village and just seems to go on forever. “Where are all the people?” he sighs, admitting that others had warned him that they might end up living way out in the sticks if they moved to Sweden. When the journalist hints that the family could end up in the middle of nowhere even in Germany, Mulham just shrugs his shoulders and replies that a small village in Germany is probably going to be bigger than a small village in Sweden.
It is quite clear after reading the article that the family had their hearts set on being housed in a big city in Sweden and not a one-horse town in the deep dark Swedish forest, miles away from anywhere else.
Some people might find the ingratitude and pettiness of the family shocking and hard to understand, and at first glance, this seems to be warranted. But when considering the fact that the Kadour family are not refugees, but rather economic migrants of the opportunistic kind, things start to make more sense. Because the Kadours did not arrive in Sweden fleeing war and persecution; quite the opposite. They came from Germany, one of the safest countries in the world, in the search of greener pastures. The father, Mulham Kadour, says “he didn’t come to Sweden just to get a residence permit and food on a plate, but to get a fresh start and to create a future for himself and his family.”
It should be obvious to anyone that such a person, an economic migrant ,is going to be an extremely discerning and fussy customer after travelling through half a dozen safe countries to reach his final destination, and hailing from a region where gratitude is considered a negative character trait rather than a healthy one. Here we have a classic example of a person who has taken a huge risk, put his own life and that of his family in the hands of cynical human smugglers who don’t care whether you live or die as long as they get their money. He has spent large sums with the expectation of reaching a generous welfare state in Europe where, so he’s been told, the politicians will say “How high?” whenever he says “Jump”. In all likelihood he has been swallowing the fairy tales that the human smugglers have been feeding him. Why would anyone expect such a person to settle for a tiny little village in the middle of nowhere far away from his compatriots and populated by people who in his culture are despised and viewed as inferior in every sense of the word, not to mention the fact that he has in all likelihood been inculcated with the knowledge that his own culture will eventually supplant and dominate the Western one?