In the wake of the frightening results of the Swedish election – 13% voted for the populist party Sverigedemokraterna, a double increase since the last election – I have many things to say, but what I want to do today is to share with you a small list. I like lists.
This one contains a description of a few different persons in Sweden. What do these people have in common? Make a guess while you’re reading.
- Person 1: Iranian woman. Has a weird sense of humor, always makes you laugh, can cook you amazing dishes that takes hours to prepare.
- Person 2: Swedish-Greek woman. A person who listens to you more than she talks about herself. Brings small gifts whenever you see her, anything from a bottle of wine to a pair of earrings from one of her travels all around the world.
- Person 3: Syrian woman. Always makes the gatherings light and bubbly, always makes you feel good about yourself.
- Person 4: Swedish-Finnish woman. Hosts you in her house when you need somewhere to stay, despite having three small unruly kids, without asking for anything in return.
- Person 5: Swedish man. A wonderful person who’ll do anything for you and helps you out whenever you need him, but also tells you if he thinks you’re completely down the wrong lane.
So what is it that these people have in common? They’re all close friends to me. Without them my life would be quite empty. And the other common factor: they all have legal residence status in Sweden, just like I do. A residence permit or citizenship is not something that can suddenly seize to exist, no matter what your hair colour or religion happens to be. And you who voted for Sverigedemokraterna, guess what? Your racist policies won’t break up friendships, or lovers, or parents from their children. People from different colours and ethnicities have always mixed with each other and will continue to do so. We’re all here to stay.