I choose to publish this well-written farewell letter to Sweden. The writer has recently posted the text on her Facebook, and I want to spread her words more widely because they are nuanced, well-balanced, sad, but absolutely not hateful, that is, what one usually accuses people of being when they criticize the failing Swedish system. Indeed, many people feel a similar sadness in their hearts today, in 2019, when the situation in Sweden in many ways is becoming unbearable. “We have bought an apartment in Budapest”. So begins the post, written by Mercedes Wahlby. It sums up what many who live in Sweden today feel. I have previously published an interview with a couple who have now moved to Marbella, but believe that more of these emigrant voices are needed. Maybe they can make politicians wake up.
One can always hope.
It is not with a light heart and not without great anguish that we have made this decision. We have been discussing leaving Sweden for at least five years, back and forth. The husband who is ethnic Swedish has been the most motivating. Over the years I have tried to come up with millions of excuses to delay the decision. I have always hoped that it would eventually clear up in Sweden. But year after year I have seen that everything is only getting worse and worse, and I have little hope that this negative development can be reversed. I think it is too late, and it is possible it will not happen during my lifetime.
I can no longer live under this immense mental stress, insecurity, murder, shooting, executions, explosions, rapes and gang rapes, robberies, home burglaries, beatings, car fires, school fires, serious criminals who, after a relatively short prison stay, may again be released to move freely among us, an increasingly dismantled welfare system, lack of health care staff, teachers, elderly housing, lack of elderly care, an increasing number of poor pensioners, municipalities in principle bankrupt or in bankruptcy, all these no-go zones called something else, lack of police resources where it may take 1.5-2 hours for them to arrive at the scene of ongoing crimes if they arrive at all, the lying politicians regardless of political color and the accomplished so-called PC media, the demonization of people who think differently, the shrinking freedom of expression, the increasingly diminishing democracy, and last, but not least, the ongoing and widespread Islamization of the country. If I had wanted to live in this kind of country I would have had 53 other different countries to choose from!
I can no longer bear to hear or read daily that this is the new Sweden, and that I must learn to accept the situation. I can no longer bear to hear the police giving advice with a gradually growing list of new recommendations: lock the car doors while driving, do not go out alone in the evenings and nights, do not jog alone in the woods, do not stay in dark alleys or streets, do not wear expensive watches or gold jewellery, do not wear specific types of clothing, do not ride certain taxis or public transport alone in the evening or at nighttime, do not respond to advances, and do not look certain men in the eye so that they do not interpret it as an invitation, etc. In other words, stay within the four walls of your home! I feel like I live in a prison, that I can’t breathe freely, that I have to constantly think about and be observant of my surroundings and look over my shoulder.
I am originally a long-time French-Swedish citizen, and have been living in Sweden since 1972. I consider myself well-integrated and assimilated. My husband has said many times in connection with our discussions about, among other things, emigration, that I am more Swedish than he is. Probably he is right, because I loved the old Sweden and consider it my motherland. Sweden has given me far more than France has ever done. For the first time in my then young life, Sweden gave me happiness. I have also found two wonderful loves. I had the opportunity to get an education at an early age. I have worked hard and made a career, and have done well for myself all these years. I retired at age 67, but continued to take up assignments until the age of 69. I have repaid all my debts, including the student debts, paid high taxes and contributed more to the social contract than I have used.
For me, Sweden is more than just a country with wonderful and magnificent scenery, such as the high mountains where I stayed for three weeks in 1992, the pale red cottages with white trimmings, midsummer’s evening where you dance around the maypole and sing “the little frogs”. For me, Sweden is also the Swedish culture that our politicians, among others, deny. Sweden is the Vikings, their Asatro [pagan religion], their ravages even in my old homeland France, and more specifically Normandy, where I have my roots. Sweden is its great kings such as Wasa, Karl XII, Gustav VI Adolf, its authors as A. Strindberg, S. Lagerlöf, W. Moberg, A. Lindgren, its artists as A. Zorn, B. Liljefors. Sweden is A. Nobel, the many Swedish inventions where the list is long. Sweden is Skansen with the old cottages from bygone times where you can feel the wings of history, their crafts with, for example, glassblowing, landscape embroidery, wool and linen spinning, knotting and much more.
I have in recent years investigated an escape to a new country. For several years, France has been discounted as an alternative, nor are Spain, Italy, England, Belgium and the Netherlands attractive countries other than linguistically. Denmark has long been an opportunity, but it has its own problems, although not as serious as here in Sweden, and partly there are other reasons. Outside the EU, it is too late for us. We’re too old. There remain the Visegrad countries, and the more I hear and read negatively about these countries, the more interested I have been to investigate the content of the allegations myself. We visited Poland last year, and this year it was Hungary.
I was in Budapest for 35 days and it felt right. Among other things, I felt safe. Every day I went by bus and subway even late at night and at night. No problem. I would never dare to do that in Stockholm. I have seen a people who are friendly and helpful, who are proud of their country, their origins and their flag. In front of the Parliament there is, for example, a flagpole with the Hungarian flag, and while it is being hoisted it is honored by two soldiers.
I’m not naive. I don’t think everything in Hungary is perfect. For example, I have seen that there is poverty, that there are elderly people who are begging in streets and squares, probably because their pension is not enough. I have seen that there are addicts, and I have heard that there are problems with a certain kind of people very like those who are outside our grocery stores. I also understand that Hungary, which is under strong external pressure — not to say extortion — from the EU, will one day be forced to do what the EU wants, but then hopefully I will not be alive.
Language is a problem, but I will do my very best to learn it. I’ve already started. And I will not be a burden to my new country because I can support myself.
Old Sweden no longer exists and I cannot live in the new. I will take the old Sweden with me in my heart and never ever forget it. For the rest of my life, I will bear this sorrow and longing for my country, but also anger towards our politicians who have allowed and planned this and betrayed their people to the utmost. Soon I will return to Budapest for a real estate closing, and then I expect to have settled everything in the middle of Sweden within one year and be permanently resident in Hungary.