Youngsters in Istanbul demonstrate and youths in Stockholm suburbs are burning cars in protest, just like in Paris in 2005 and London in 2011.
Swedish Jason Diakité – known as rap artist Timbuktu, and Sweden’s Jonas Khemiri, the author of "One Eye Red" , written in what Norwegians call "kebabnorsk" – are invited to Oslo’s Litteraturhuset to put the racism debate on the agenda in Norway.
“Kebabnorsk” is "Rinkebysvensk" in Swedish, which the Swedes have named after Stockholm’s Rinkeby immigrant-populated suburb.
Timbuktu’s song "Message", himself the son of a human rights lawyer, has made headlines in Sweden. The lyrics are directed to the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who he believes should have visited the suburbs as the riots started.
"We need leaders. Leaders who aren’t afraid to meet people, leaders who care about the population." he writes on his website. Timbuktu sings that Sweden has gone downhill since the murder on Olof Palme.
Swedish author Jonas Hassen Khemiri also created headlines when he wrote an open letter to the Swedish Minister of Justice earlier this year, elegantly challenging Swedish everyday racism. (Parts of his letter can be read below).
The Scandinavian country’s paper Expressen has focused on other countries' view of Sweden:
National Public Radio (NPR, US): "Sweden is one of the richest, most stable and well-kept countries in the world. That would explain how 9.5 million inhabitants can be shocked by what’s happening."
Le Monde (France): "Swedes are convinced that their social model is good and are shocked by the riots that have shaken Stockholm."
Deutsche Welle (Germany): "Participants is the riots have set 30 cars on fire and burned down a school and preschool in the poor suburbs of Stockholm. Three nights of unrest in one of Europe’s richest capitals have blighted Sweden's reputation for social justice."
Timbuktu with band ‘Damn!’ and Khemiri will appear at Litteraturhuset on 8th June to talk about Scandinavia, racism and politics.
Mr Khemiri's letter (translated) - letter in full here (external site, in Swedish):
To be six years and landing at the airport, in our common homeland. We walk towards the customs, with a father who has sweaty palms, who clears his throat, who corrects his hair and improves the polish on his shoes rubbing it against the backside of his knees. Twice he checks that the Swedish passport is in the right inside pocket. All pink colored people are passing by. But our dad is stopped. And we think: Maybe it was a coincidence. Being ten years old and seeing the same scene repeated. Maybe it was his accent. Being twelve and see the same scene. Maybe it was his cavernous bag with the broken zipper. Being fourteen, sixteen, eighteen.
Being seven and go to school and get an introduction to the community of a father who was already terrified that his exclusion would be inherited by his children. He says:
"When we look like we do, we must always be a thousand times better than all the others to not be denied."
"Because everybody is racist'."
"Are you racist?"
"Everyone except me."
"For that is exactly how racism works. It is never a part of our debt, our history, our DNA. It's always someone else, never here, in me, in us."
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