ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Finding Tolerance in the Cold North

Updated on May 1, 2015
Zakmoonbeam profile image

Michael is an English Ex Pat living the good life in Sweden. Self help and clean air can only be a good thing.

With growing class and religious divides in many countries, and continual clashes of ideologies, I had begun to find myself a little despondent with modern life.

Sometimes it seems like society is starting to consume itself, and with no sense of community together with greedier and more selfish people every generation, I wonder where it will all end.

I am a Brit, although by admitting I am British I feel that I am condoning foreign and domestic policies that I disagree with.So when I introduce myself, I prefer to say that I am an Englishman, which I hope gives me some kind of distance from the government and there views of what a United Kingdom should be achieving in the world.

Me and my Girl Living the Good Life in Sweden

Time to Up Sticks

So, after 34 years I decided to up sticks so to speak, and relocate to Sweden. Of course, as is the case with many European countries, on arrival I was greeted by not only the most spectacular landscapes I had ever seen, but also by a beautiful people with an amazing grasp of the English language. My Swedish was, to say the least, poor.

But, that was not the handicap I thought it was going to be. You see, the Swedes have this crazy idea that when a traveller, be it voluntary relocation as in my case, or asylum seekers arrive, they should learn the Swedish language, and also the culture of this great land. And to top it all off, they do this as a free courtesy. Damned cheek I say! Fancy expecting me to learn, and then not charge me for the privilege. Everyone in a capitalist society knows something costing nothing can only be awful and no use to anyone.

So joking aside it would appear that the current government at least on the surface have really got the best interests of immigrants at heart, but furthermore, they are playing the integration, not alienation game. Allow me to give you some brief examples.

Is There Intolerance in Your Community?

Do you feel your community is unbiased?

See results

Arriving In Sweden

1.I arrive in Sweden as an asylum seeker. I am given help with the language. I am given help in finding work. I am expected to learn about Swedish beliefs, customs and traditions, about food, drink and social occasions & celebrations. All this must I learn, but at no point am I told to change my beliefs, my customs or my traditions.

2.I arrive in Sweden as a person from within the European Union. I am given help with the language. I am given help in finding work. I am expected to learn about Swedish beliefs, customs and traditions, about food, drink and social occasions & celebrations. All this must I learn, but at no point am I told to change my beliefs, my customs or my traditions.

See the difference. Exactly. There isn't one. Its the same for everyone coming here. The course is called S.F.I. Svenska för invandare, or Swedish for immigrants in English. And in my opinion, is the best hope for anyone coming here to "fit in".

Breeding Tolerance

Imagine if you will a school class of adults. In this class are Iraqis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Eritreans, Chechens and Americans. People from Thailand, China, and of course many other parts of Europe.

They cover every colour, race, religious belief, and political ideology. And add to this that many do not share a common language, or have a completely different alphabet.

But slowly and surely, with help, support and education these strangers begin to form bonds & friendships. Over the months, a shared experience and an increasing ability to communicate brings them together. All of them. Now I am not saying the Swedes have everything perfect, no one could get everything right, and there is still a long way to go, but they are certainly on the right track.

In this author's humble opinion, and of course I am talking only from my own experiences here, there can be no better way of integrating into a society. Only here have we had frank discussions between Muslims & Catholics and Americans & Iraqis. The overwhelming opinion of these people that I found myself with, fighting a common enemy of a language that we did not fully understand, was that we were all completely and utterly ignorant of each others beliefs, hopes, dreams and desires of a new life.

The Hate Cycle

  • Ignorance breeds misunderstanding
  • Misunderstanding breeds intolerance
  • Misunderstanding breeds violence
  • Violence breeds ignorance, misunderstanding and intolerance

In Closing

The only way to break the cycle of violence is with dialogue, understanding and locking people in a room together until they figure out that the only reason they hated each other in the first place, was that they didn't, or didn't want to understand each other.

Revisiting this after having been in country for 6 years now, it isn't all rosy tinted glasses I will admit. For some reason there are groups, religious and geographically based, that simply will not try. Women are restricted by their husbands to learn the local language and children are taught old biases and hatred. Violence has erupted in the cities of Stockholm and Malmö.

Guess you can help some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time, especially if they don't want to be helped.

I am Interested...

to hear what you have to say, so feel free to leave a comment, rate me up or down, and share on whatever social network you choose to use!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)