A comment on recent incidents at refugee centers in Sweden

28 01 2016

It saddens me to hear about these events in Sweden. I believe those crimes should be punishable by law, and yes, being a refugee or a “traumatized” person doesn’t give you the right to violate the law.
Just like any other human society, I expect that there will always be a certain percentage of criminals or violent people. And as long as they are treated fairly according to the law, their existence doesn’t surprise me. A crime is a crime, whether it was committed by a “refugee” or a “Swede”, so please don’t blame it on the wrong reasons.

And that’s why I want to talk about this, because I’m reading a lot of controversial comments on news articles blaming multiculturalism, society, or the government, and I just want to put my opinion out there because this subject concerns me as a Syrian living in Sweden.

I do understand why people get angry and frustrated, because yes, basically the taxpayers are the hosts -and supporters- of those refugees, and it definitely hurts to be treated badly by someone you just helped rescue.
What I can’t understand however is blaming multiculturalism, and I can relate to this from personal experience. Had we adopted this kind of ideology in Syria we wouldn’t have gone as far as fighting each other, regardless of how dire the circumstances were. We gradually lost our cultural variety (due to multiple reasons that I won’t go into) and thus our tolerance and understanding toward each other, and I would argue that this was one of the reasons we got into a civil war.

I believe there are lessons to be learned from a multicultural society, one of them is learning to respect and treat people as humans rather than skin color, gender, religion, or country of origin. I’m using the word “learning” here because this is a very long process that will never be achieved at 100%, and although the concept sounds too ideal, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting for.
We used to brag a lot about how culturally diverse our society was, but we failed to support it. It was a slippery slope, as we slowly start distrusting your co-workers, neighbors, or even friends or family, and now we reached a point where we can’t even tolerate a difference in opinion, much less anything else! So where would you draw the line here? You start with present-time refugees, then move on to 1st generation Swedes? 2nd generation? 3rd? And then what?

And hence this is my plea for Sweden, don’t abandon what you have slowly built all these years. I believe “The People’s Home” is a concept well worth nurturing, especially at this advanced stage. To lose diversity (cultural or otherwise) I believe would be a social regression that might create much bigger problems in the future. And again, I’m only saying this because I have experienced living in a mono-cultured society, and I can tell you it’s much worse than you might think.