“I feel betrayed by my country”: The Swedes who think their Scandinavian utopia is being ruined by refugees
Progressive, happy Sweden has long been a haven for refugees, accepting Jews, Eastern Europeans and Bosnians from Europe’s 20th century conflicts and hundreds of thousands more people from the current migrant crisis. Last year, while other EU states debated sending Syrians back to Turkey, Sweden single-handedly took in over 160,000 people. But not all Swedes are happy with their reputation as a humanitarian superpower.
A angry minority of far-right Swedes have lashed out against the government’s open-door policy. At least 64 active or planned refugee centers and housing facilities (map) were set on fire from June 2015 to April 2016, according to The Local Sweden, which combined police data with reports from newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. In some cases, buildings were set ablaze just one day after authorities announced they would be used to house refugees.
To understand what’s going on with their usually peaceful neighbors, Danish photographers Jonas Fogh and Sofia Busk spoke with members and supporters of Sweden’s anti-immigration groups, including the Swedish Democrats, Nordic Youth and Nordic Resistance Movement. Interviewed from June to Nov. 2015, these are the Swedes who would willingly destroy Sweden’s tolerant, utopian reputation:
“Sweden will stop being Swedish.”
Kikki Toivola, 22, is a single mother.(Jonas Fogh and Sofia Busk)
“In ten years, Sweden won’t exist anymore—not if the refugees keep coming. Then Sweden will stop being Swedish. The children will no longer be allowed to dress up as gingerbread men at the Lucia Parade because they are brown and people will find that racist,” says Kikki Toivola, 22.
“The refugees come to Sweden, and we accept them with open arms. We give them money, a roof over their heads, food and clothing. We give them all of what they don’t have. We arrange housing for them, and then they don’t want to live there—I don’t get it. They get everything served on a silver platter. I’m a single mother, and I don’t have as many resources as they do. They get paradise here, yet they aren’t thankful.”
In 2015 alone, arsonists burned this refugee center outside the eastern town of Munkedal, twice.(Jonas Fogh and Sofia Busk)
“You can’t say anything without
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