On August 30th, Sweden hosted the first “women only” music festival in the world. Entry to Gothenburg was forbidden to men. It was a “safe zone” reserved for women, trans and “non-binary people”, as they call them.
The idea came to comedian Emma Knyckare a year ago, after the Bravalla festival ended with numerous complaints of sexual violence. And many of those cases involved refugees.
Now Sweden is preparing for the “most important elections in history” and the “women's solo concert” illustrates well the crisis of that “moral superpower”, as the New York Times calls it.
In recent years, Sweden has been proud of its humanitarian profile, being the country that has received more refugees per capita and spent more on them in relation to GDP than any other. For the first time since 1917, the Social Democratic Party, which has formed governments in 80 of the 101 years since the introduction of democracy, risks being undermined.
But the current crisis is not only political, with the rise of the Swedish Democrats. It is above all an identity crisis. “Sweden is joining the rest of Europe”, the former Prime Minister Carl Bildt said with melancholy.
In a country of ten million inhabitants, in 2017 there were 320 shootings and dozens of assaults with grenades (Molotov cocktails were also launched against synagogues and Jews now hide their symbols in the streets). As reported by the London Times, 36 percent of Swedish women admit they do not feel safe at night. Paulina Neuding, an internationally renowned Swedish journalist born of a Jewish family who emigrated from Communist Poland at the time of persecution there, said that Sweden is experiencing a “crisis of sexual violence”.
Crime increases in “areas of social exclusion”, which some call “no-go”. According to the police, there are 55 in Sweden. Until recently, this recent BBC headline would have been unthinkable: “Sweden's deep problem with hand grenades”.
The situation has drastically deteriorated in the last two years. Rinkeby, twenty minutes from the center of Stockholm, is one of the areas most affected by crime. The paramedics and firefighters ask for a police escort to operate there. The magistrate charged with defeating organized crime, Lise Tamm, has called Rinkeby a “war zone”.
Yet, in Sweden it is a very risky to establish a link between immigrants and crime, according to Tino Sanandaji, the Swedish economist of Iranian-Kurdish origin who wrote “Mass Challenge”, a bestseller on how the country failed to integrate newcomers. Many public libraries blacklisted the book.
“The attacks would have ended my career if I had been an ethnic white Swedish”, the economist said. Sanandaji's numbers are impressive: 58 percent of welfare payments go to immigrants; 45 percent of children with low school scores are immigrants; immigrants earn 40 percent less than the Swedes; most of the people accused of murder, rape and robbery are first or second generation immigrants and “Sweden has the greatest increase in the inequalities of any OECD country”.
Roland Huntford saw it right when in his book “The New Totalitarians” he described a Swedish dystopia in which personal liberties had been sacrificed to social democratic ideals.
Back in the Eighties, the German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger called the Swedish government something unprecedented and “unmatched in other free societies,” referring to the extraordinary levels of conformity and consensus. There now lies the dark secret of the crazy multiculturalism that killed that utopia..
And it is taboo to question the utopia which turned into a nightmare.