Sweden can be proud today to have
shed its long standing reputation as ‘the most boring country in the
world’. The Nordic state finds itself in the grip of a terrifying crime
wave instead, which even ‘new Swedes’ describe as like “being back in
Grenade attacks in multicultural paradise Malmö are now so
commonplace the English-speaking media has all but stopped bothering to
report them. Compounding the apparent disinterest in the descent of
beautiful, historic Malmö into a third-world ghetto where native Swedes
are very nearly in the minority, is a striking dearth of facts about
what is actually going on there.
We know the grenade attacks are a
regular occurrence – there have been four this past week and at least
ten since April. They come in addition to the regular shootings,
stabbings, and arson attacks that are apparently so commonplace they
don’t make the English papers at all. A recent assessment by Malmö
police into the effectiveness of their own violence-reduction program
was that it had no effect, and that “the number of shootings and
bombings in Malmö have not declined despite the measures”. The force
today admitted it is severely under-staffed and unable to cope with the
volume of investigations under-way. One third of all officers on the
local force are now ‘on leave’, and no doubt the strain of the job in
‘Sweden’s Chicago’ is playing a part in that.
But there are scant
few assessments by the Malmö police over who is deliberately targeting
government buildings with hand grenades smuggled from the Balkans. The
Swedish press reports no arrests. The closest to publicly expressed
logic for the attacks is the suggestion that friends of three young men
who set off a series of bombs in the city on Christmas Eve are now
expressing their displeasure at the justice system, as all three were
Benefiting from their youth – one was just 15 at the
time of his arrest – the bombers have not been named, denying the public
another crucial piece of the puzzle. Yet speculating that Malmö’s
new-found crime problem may have anything to do with the sudden rush of
immigration is verboten. Don’t be fooled, for all its friendly press
the Swedish orthodoxy is one of the most suffocating, and strongly
upheld belief systems in the world. Until very recently, even
questioning the doctrine of mass immigration would lead to total social
Yet despite this, the tide is turning – slowly. A
number of shocking recent cases in Malmö and elsewhere go some way to
explain the sudden and silent rise of Sweden’s new right-wing. The
abduction and week-long gang rape ordeal of a young Swedish woman by a
gang of Afghan men – who couldn’t even speak Swedish – should be enough
to challenge the preconceptions of even the most dedicated
multiculturalist. If an overriding desire to care for persecuted
immigrant communities is your thing, perhaps the needless abuse and
persecution of Syrian Christians by Syrian Muslims after establishing
themselves in Sweden could trigger a re-assessment of your political
This months a group of two Syrian Christian immigrant
families were forced out of their Swedish asylum accommodation by Muslim
residents. They were told they were not allowed to wear Christian
symbols or even to use the communal areas when Muslims were present.
Instead of reporting the incident to the police, the Swedish
immigration authority decided to deal with what they acknowledged were
“fundamentalist Muslims” in-house, sending ministry officials to meet
with the Muslim families at the asylum center to explain to them the
fine points of Swedish law, hoping they would not transgress again.
growing number of Swedes are starting to reject this way of doing
things. Ashamed that ‘boring’ Sweden now has one of the highest rape
rates in Europe and a growing teenage gang-rape problem, ashamed that
they pay 60-per-cent income tax yet newcomers are showered with
freebies, they look for an alternative.
The Sweden Democrats
(Sverigedemokraterna, SD), the socially conservative anti-immigration
party who campaign on the slogan ‘Keep Sweden Swedish’ continues to go
from strength to strength. It now enjoys poll ratings that put it in
place to become the nation’s third party. As is the case with other
anti-immigration parties across Europe, SD enjoys its strongest support
in areas with high levels of immigration, in this case in the more urban
The party polls consistently well in Malmö, suggesting those
Swedes who still live there are desperate for change. The experience of
Nordic sister Denmark suggests there is hope for the future. After
winning the most members of parliament in the June general election, the
Sweden Democrat-like Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkpartei, DF) is
now clearly setting the national agenda despite sitting on the fringes
of the now ruling centre-right ‘blue’ coalition. Only weeks after the
electoral dust settled, the real optimism of a nation which is suddenly
seeing real change is clearly apparent.
Swedish police patrol by a Mosque near Stockholm, the capital city / Getty
a fortnight after the election, Denmark cancelled unemployment benefits
for migrants. Instead, they could receive a new ‘integration benefit’
worth half as much as the old unemployment money – and would only be
eligible to claim the new full amount if they learn Danish.
Following up on the move, the Danish government announced last week that
this change in money available to newcomers would be ‘advertised’ in
the newspapers of countries like Turkey, to make sure those considering
making the journey across Europe to Denmark knew not to bother. The
Swedish are learning from their Danish counterparts, and are adopting
the same tactics. As the Danes did in 2011, the Swedish right-wing has
taken on the nose the recent ‘victory’ by the left-wing in the 2010
They can stand confident knowing the left-wing Social
Democrats, for whom support is falling, have been forced into leading a
weak minority government while support for the new right-wing party is
surging. And just like in Denmark, come the next election they will be
perfectly placed to make the difference their country needs.
I’ve started watching Sumo wrestlers – mass reality. 450 pounds the
heaviest I’ve seen so far, the tallest 6’-7”. Wow. Most matches only
last a couple seconds, ten seconds is a very long match, but the
Japanese make up for with ritual and decoration, referees wrapped up
like Christmas presents, costumes must cost thousands. Over-judges
dressed in black make final decisions if the outcome is uncertain, often
a matter of who touched the ground first. You must not touch down with
any body part.
I think what I like most is contestants aren’t beating each other half
to death. There are no knockouts, cuts or bleeding, other than
occasional minor inures and sprains from falling down, sometimes on top
one another. It’s also been interesting to watch the women in the crowds
attending. They seem delighted as opposed to women seen at boxing
matches who seem, at best, uninterested, often bored.
Just thought I’d pass this on. A program called Fight Sports here in Sweden, but I think it’s on TV almost everywhere. Takes a few viewings to get into the rules and subtleties.
Our enemy is faster
Without doubts and
Unencumbered by the cloth of ethics
Wearing skins of every race
Beyond the reach of simple justice.
Do not think that he is beaten in a single battle
Or in many
He will follow us through lifetimes
Killing as he goes
Unseen by most
And weakened only be the love of men
For one another
Strengthened by their hate and anger.
One of you asked about my progress with my Swedish driver’s tests. As
the nun said, “It is not good.” As most of you following know, I’ve gone
through hours of alcohol & drugs class. I have passed the famous
icy road test, (hit the bakes at 60 Kph brakes to see if you can keep
from spinning out), and have paid fees to take three pre-test, tests.
Socialism is so expensive.
I’ve paid for driver school, and had 3 private lessons in a car which
they provide, and is unlike my own. I’ve paid for books, and a computer
on-line practice site. There are seven varieties of the computer tests,
each variety having its own variations of the tests. Must be near a
thousand possibilities. Takes me twenty minutes to do a test, which is
faster than required, a half hour is allowed. Answering the questions is
like being in Las Vegas. What will come up next?
“If a 3,500 kg trailer must be left at the said of the road, what
lighting it have: A. white lights in front and back. B. Fog lights and
tail lights in back white lights in front. C. White lights in front and
yellow lights back.”
Got me with that one, only seen it come up once in all the 107
practice tests I’ve taken since May of this year. That’s more than 30
total hours of on-line practice. I got good at them I never failed to
pass a practice test . . . at home. I felt secure and confident on
entering the driving tests building, two floors of first class, modern
architecture. There was even a fair sized library with thousands of
books about drivers, cars, rules, laws, and such.The Swedes are very
series about driver safety. Their goal is to experience a year with no
fatalities in the rear future.
I went up a flight of stairs with twenty others, (seven Swedes, the
rest of us from other places) to a test room with computers, desks, and
earphones for translations for those who could read Swedish, or English.
Cell phones must be turned off. An administrator walked up and down an
aisle between computers, keeping an eye on things.
I saw only 5 familiar questions on the test. Some of the others
required only logical answers, but the rest . . . I was clueless. After
ten minutes it was obvious I wasn’t going to make 63 points and I kind
of slacked off, answered all the questions, but without thinking a long
time about the ones I didn’t know. It takes 63 points to pass the
practice tests for P/Cs I was given. “You either know it or you don’t,” I
told myself. Young Swedish guys were first to finish, then myself, a
mix of other races left behind, still thinking and with time still left
to do that. I scored 51 on a test and found out I only needed 53 to
pass. I could have been a contender!
Now I’m reading the book the school gave me ─ lots of pages. Wife
says I should keep doing the computer tests. They might be the questions
asked next time? It’s like Vegas, but I guess I get to play as long as I
have money. I will try again, and have a feeling I will get to pay a
fee to take the test again.
It gets worse!
Even after failing the computer questions you are moved on to take
the driver’s test, which worried me a lot after driving with my practice
driver from the school. They’re nuts about slowing down for cross
streets and that possible running away bus that hurls itself at a you
from a blind spot.
“Made that left turn too wide. There may have been a car there,” the instructor tells me.
“But it was obvious there was no a car there.
“Doesn’t matter on the test,” he says.
On being older.
The practice tests had questions about
people who were 75, or more. “Not as able to think about more than one
thing at the same time.” Stuff like that. I feel driver’s license
people’s hawk eyes watch me like a rabbit. “Look Ingrid, these goes one
of those old fukers. Don’t let him pass the test!”
I had to take the test in the driver’s
school’s car, which has a passenger side foot brake the instructor can
use to avoid certain death if headed in that general direction. An
employee from the driving school dropped me off, and a few minutes later
the inspector showed up with her laptop and with a twenty-something
woman who’d just failed the test. Bad sign.
We got inside the car and I was asked some simple questions for official
records, “Did I have any other European driver’s license?” Stuff like
that. Then it began.
Another trick. I need to safety check the
car before I drive. I’m told to turn on the front windshield wipers. I
was clueless. I knew about where the switch should be, but no idea what
it looked like, or how to operate the thing if found. I found it, and
managed to fumble the thing on. “Now the washer fluid,” she said.
That’s when it all went sideways. The back
window washer came on. I tried to turn it off and somehow manage to get
the front window wiper going at top speed. I flipped every switch I saw
and couldn’t turn the damn things off. I must have gone through maybe 30
seconds very fast intermittent, spasmodic, squirtings, and wipings. It
seemed much longer at the time, but at last I got the damn things
stopped. I saw her writing on her laptop, “Old man. Do not pass.”
Something like that.
I was totally rattled and wanted to tell
her, look, there’s no sense going though the motions. Why don’t you just
fail me now and we’ll save time. But I drove on. Not knowing is the
strength of man and beast.
Do you know what the speed limit is where we are?” she asked when we were on the road.
I’d glanced at it, but had no memory of what it said. I was sure I
wasn’t over the limit. “Not really,” I told her.”
Another mark in the
book. “It’s 100 Kph here. You’re only doing 80 Kph. You will slow up
other cars, behind you.” Made no difference that there were no other
cars behind us.
“Turn left at next crossroad,” she said. I
turned right, realizing what I’d done too late. There was some kind of a
parallel road running alongside ours, and a connecting blacktop lane
between the two. I had no idea if it was legal to drive there, but took a
chance and used it to back up, with expertise, I must admit. I got us
turned around and got us started back the way she wanted.
We went in to town next and into one of the
many roundabouts in this area. This one was without the usual divider
lines. I drove too close to center, and failed to look and see if someone
was coming at me from an exit to the right, even though I have already
scanned that exit when I entered, and had the right-of-way.
She was on the keyboard again and made a few
final pokes as we entered the parking lot where we began. Something
about the way I crossed into the area, something unsafe, although there were no other cars in the 200 yards that I could easily see surrounding us.
I figure we’re up to about $700 now in fees and driver school costs. I
will be taking 3 more practice drives with instructors, and another
computer test, then the on-road driver’s test . . . . again.
This morning’s sun unable to gain altitude
floats parallel above the frosted yards
its momentary blinding light
spears through my window
circling the horizon
passing by, not over
hard blue sky above
soon to be arctic cold.
The air so fresh and clear
it almost hurts to breath
exhilarating if it doesn’t kill you
it will get colder
More From The Media:
From Daily Kos – A weblog with political analysis from a liberal perspective.
14 Nov 2015
The far right has been on the rise in Europe ever since it became
obvious that the neoliberal, center-left had no idea how to fix the
economy after the 2008 crash. With the center-left already discredited,
the far-right was slowly rising in popularity based on an anti-immigrant
While still scary, the situation was still under control as long as
nothing dramatic happened which would completely up-end the entire
social structure of Europe, and what were the odds of that, right?
Something like that only happens once every couple centuries.
Sweden long prided itself on its generous asylum policy, welcoming
twice as many refugees per capita as any other Western country. In 2014,
for example, the country of 9.5 million took in more than 85,000
people, mostly Muslims from Syria, Iraq, and Somalia. But the new
arrivals’ failure to assimilate has sent voters stampeding to the right.
The Sweden Democrats, a once-reviled party with roots in neo-Nazism,
took 13 percent of the vote in last year’s election to become the
third-biggest party in Parliament, mostly on a campaign to halt
immigration. Over the summer, as the flood of refugees pouring into
Europe dominated headlines, the popularity of the Sweden Democrats
soared, and now they are the most popular party in Sweden, with more
than 25 percent support.
The Swedish Democrats are not the most popular party in Sweden, and they do not
have 25 percent of the vote. This is bogus. I am also unsure of the
constant, “Neo Nazi” tag adversaries constantly throw at them. It seems
to me, as soon as someone has any negative comment about immigration,
the Nazi word is thrown at them by those who disagree.
When I left the States a couple years
ago some haters stood on corners, downtown Seattle, holding posters that
proclaimed Obama a Nazi. Name calling is an easy to do. It doesn’t mean
From Reuters – Written by Olivia Goldhill
5 October 2015
This is where some mainstream liberals often fail to get it. It’s
unrealistic to expect regular people of Europe to just suck it up. A
political backlash of some sort is a reasonable response.
Personally I find the obsession with race, ethnicity, and nationality,
both on the left wing and the right wing, to be what Sigmund Freud
termed the “narcissism of small differences”. I think people that obsess
on these things are disconnected from reality and issues that actually
That being said, I recognize that the world we live in is full of
people who do think these things are important, and that makes these
things important. Thus asking people to just ignore or accept a huge
flood of strangers changing the very culture of their communities in a
flash is not a realistic attitude.
A backlash to the flood of immigrants isn’t always based on hate, or
even fear. Sometimes it is simply about fighting back against the chaos.
It only appears xenophobic.
In my opinion:
I cannot imagine how any country could make
a more honest and heartfelt effort to support and grant asylum to those
who need it. Are there racists here? Of course. No country is without
them. Incoming immigrants are not without them, but I think one will
find fewer here than elsewhere. Both the Swedish people and their
government are doing the best they can, as much as they can. It’s been a
heroic effort, and I don’t see any other country doing more, or better.
I just hope it works. My greatest fear is that an underclass
will be created. Some say there already is one. This could make for
painful problems in the future.
The cycle of violence may be vicious, but it is not pointless. Each
round of strike-and-counterstrike makes the political center less
tenable. The surviving radical leaders on each side energize their
respective bases and cement their respective holds on power. The first
round of the playoffs is always the two extremes against the center. Only after the center is vanquished will you meet your radical counterparts in the championship round. Doug Muder
* * *
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Things here are happening faster than I can assimilate. It’s
not just me. It seems we’re all just trying to catch up with news of
what must be one of the biggest changes in our lifetimes.
Swedish Democrats again.
Seems I keep coming back to them, as they’re the only ones who dare
to speak the obvious in this land of the politically correct. They’ve
been passing out flyers to immigrants passing through other countries,
on their way to Sweden. They are headlined: No money, no jobs, no place
to live. The S.D.s have been criticized as tarnishing the Swedish image,
but in my opinion what they say is true.
Last week, in my Swedish For Immigrants class, one of the SFI
officials showed up to talk to students in regard to their continuing to
upper levels of the language classes. Some worried about what they’d
heard on Face book, or the Internet . . . wherever. The official spoke
to them in Swedish, which everyone in the class understands better than I
do, but I understood enough. “There are jobs!” he told them. “There is
money! There are places to live!” I don’t know where he gets his
information, and I’m sure he’s more aware of how things are than I . . .
80,000 came to Sweden in 2014, another 80,000 have arrived so far this
year, and more on the way. What are the jobs I wonder? Where are they?
Not in here in this small town where I am. Almost all the new arrivals
coming in are relocated to small towns much the same, and housing? Last I
heard was talk of using some kind of Army tents. Some new arrivals were
moved farther north in Sweden, to what has been some kind of a resort
housing. They kidnapped the bus they arrived in as protest against being
left ‘out in the north woods.’
“It’s the middle of nowhere,” they
complained. Local TV showed photos of the housing, very nice, they said.
Well cared for. With a pool, they added. Right – almost December here
in Sweden. It gets cold. How many coming in have ever seen it snow?
Somehow they’re finding still more places to house new arrivals, but the
locations are kept secret out of fear of arsons which become more
frequent ever month it seems.
Excerpts from Aftonbladet 10 November 2015:
The EU holds summit after summit to resolve the refugee crisis, but
almost nothing happens. Europe wants to close the door but does not know
how to behave. The panic in worst case has let to bloodshed.
Germany is about to reintroduce the Dublin
Convention. This would send refugees back to the European country where they
first arrived, to have their asylum proceedings there. Sweden and
Germany, the countries that have taken in the most refuges, are about to
apply the emergency break. There are no longer places for newcomers to
One wonders what an EU decision is rally worth when every meeting
only results in meaningless declarations. The feeling is that the EU
does not have any control over the refugee situation and that it may
soon go really bad.
* * *
The news from Paris came as I was finishing this post at 2 a.m. last night. The happenings have now reached warp speed. What will happen next? And where?
Not knowing is the strength of man and beast.
Tomorrow – Excerpts from The Daily Kos, and Reuters.
From: Writer’s Almanac – 9 February
It was on this day in 1989 that the Berlin Wall came down in Germany.
After World War II, Germany was divided into four parts, each occupied
by one of the major Allied powers – France, England, the United States,
and the Soviet Union. It didn’t take long for relations between the
Soviet Union and the other Allies to deteriorate, at which point the
Soviet portion became East Germany, and the rest became West Germany.
Berlin was also controlled by all four powers, so it was divided
similarly to the rest of the country – into East and West Berlin – even
though it was entirely surrounded by East Germany.
They’re all people on the bus
some good ones
and some bad ones
just like always
Sweden’s unexpected guests
for better or for worse
they won’t be going home
this marriage hard to disavow
Europe waits to see what happens next.
* * *
“All I know is what I read in the papers.”
I had thought to write this post about the news, or lack of it in
Sweden. First thought that comes to mind is, ‘I don’t know,’ in Swedish,
‘Jag vet inte.’ Who, or what, can we believe? The world’s mass
media controlled by less than ten vast corporations, each with its own
agenda, points of view. Facebook and Photoshop, exaggerated local color,
pictures worth a thousand words – no more, or less believable than
“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”
A friend in Canada advises, “Swedish papers
are controlled. Papers like Aftonbladet receive grants in addition to ad
based revenues. He forwarded the article below, from FriaTider – 2013.
Fria Tider (Free Time) isa Swedishnewspaper thattakesa criticalattitude to theSwedishimmigration policy.It is detachedbut inideologicaltermsconsidered tobeclose tothe Sweden Democrats.
Adelsohn-Liljenroth notes it was against this background
(Nationell Idag granted a press subsidy) that she gave the Parliamentary
Committee on Press Subsidies the directive to determine whether rules
should call for “respect for the ideals of democracy” or otherwise
ensure that subsidies are justified from a “democratic perspective.” The
wordings denote the sharing of views on migration policy proposed by
the Swedish government, most political parties and mainstream media.
However, the ministerial directive to the committee resulted in an
Adelsohn-Liljeroth: “The Committee concluded that
such a requirement could be seen as a way to hinder the printed word. I
disagree with that assessment.”
The Swedish government now threatens to introduce a political section in
the subsidy rules nevertheless – even though all members of the
relevant parliamentary committee oppose it. “I am now awaiting the
respondents’ views on the proposal of the Press Subsidies Committee. I
hope the responses provide a basis for imposing a democracy clause in
the new press subsidy regulation,” Liljeroth concludes.
* * *
The Swedes are so politically correct, you
don’t hear much about incoming problems, other than the recent arsons
which are not so easy to ignore. Another housing facility was torched
this week. More than a dozen here now.
This from the Danish newspaper – Berlingske, re-posting comments from a poll taken by Aftonbladet.
Sweden is worried about all the asylum accommodation fires and seeing
reactions that are not only about asylum polices, but that Sweden has
not allowed discussion of the difficult issues surrounding integration
immigration. It is dangerous to put a lid on these debates. Here in
Norway, it has been discussed it more openly. Hanne Skartveit, politcal editor – Norway.
Question:What do you think about the way Sweden is handling the refugee crisis?
I have grown up with Astrid Lindgren
(Sweden’ much loved children’s writer) and love moose. But now it seems
the Swedes are about to devastate their country. Sweden can be changed
until it is unrecognizable. I know it’s been done with good intentions,
but the Swedes have become slaves of humanism. It’s hard to imagine that
so many from Muslim countries will adjust to living in the same way as
they. You cannot integrate so many people at once. Anna Libak, Foreign Editor Berlingske.
Question: What do Danes think about the Swedish situation?
We think they are naive. Previously Sweden was an example of the Danish
left wing, but now they’ve reached a point where even the left
recognizes Sweden is about to fall apart. Everyone agrees that Sweden is
going to have some very big problems.
The people of Sweden are very good,” said a grateful 34-year-old from Iraq.“I want to make my life here.”
But behind the warm embrace, a very different reaction to refugees is
brewing in Sweden. In this Scandinavian country famous for lit
progressive politics and unfailingly polite citizenry, a party with
roots in the neo-fascist fringe has surged toward the top of recent
opinion polls with a defiantly hostile message to refugees: Those on
their way to Sweden should stay out. Many of those already here should
The growing popularity of the far-right Swedish Democrats mirrors a
backlash being felt across Europe as the continent reckons with a
refugee crisis that has broken all modern records and shows no signs of
abating. The impact can be seen in country after country, with far-right
parties hammering away at authorities deemed too permissive in allowing
those fleeing war and persecution to find a home in Europe.
Anger over the refugee influx is increasingly fueling violence as it
appeared to do over the weekend when two Swedish schools that were being
converted into shelters for asylum seekers burned down in what the
police said we suspected arson attacks. In the German city of Cologne, a
leading mayoral candidate and ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel was
stabbed in the neck by a man who authorities said had “anti-foreigner
* * *
This post has gotten more verbose than I intended, but I felt the
need of some established background. Next post (Next Sunday) will be concerned with
media again, but with more personal, subjective, point of view.
The smell of burning leaves remembered
small town, in November
the turning foliage
gone prismatic in the light
then fallen, raked, and set on fire
joss sticks turned red
white scarves of smoke
sweet scented sendoff
into hemispheric night.
Leaves as Disposal Site – Borlänge, Sweden
I never thought about it at the time, a passing thing. Do people
still burn leaves? Not here in Sweden. We have plastic bags now, we rake
the leaves, and put them into plastic bags, then take the bags to a
disposal area, where something clever with them. Some leaves go to
little compost boxes people have in their back yards. All very
practical. Not so romantic. There are bonfires here in Sweden, big ones,
every year. It’s not the same.
This will be a series, once a week I think, on Sundays, maybe. I
am not Swedish, but a permanent resident in a small town of 50 thousand
. . . was 50 thousand, more than that now. My opinions are purely my
own, as an observer who does not speak Swedish and with little
understanding of the county’s politics. Yet, I am here, and in the
middle of it, an off center immigrant myself.
I recently saw a politically correct comment on Facebook, re:
immigration. Someone explaining an incorrect analysis for what is going
on. “It’s not an invasion,” they said. This caught my interest. The
‘invasion’ word has crossed my mind at times. I was inspired to look it
Invasion: A military offensive in which large parts of combatants of
one geopolitical entity aggressively enter territory controlled by
another geopolitical entity, generally with the objective of either
conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a
territory, forcing the partition of a country.”
So, immigration’s not aggressive. Maybe passive aggressive –
something more powerful than aggression–Surrender. “Please, just take me
in. Give me a place to live, a job, a life. Don’t let me drown!”
There’s no defense. You can’t say no. We can fight wars, kill millions,
but we can’t say no to this. The picture of the dead child on a beach,
this lifeless poster boy who captured hearts of millions. Of the
thousands of photos of immigrants, this is the one we will remember.
“We’ve got to do something!” Over two thousand have drowned at sea.
It’s not an invasion, but there are casualties, and soldiers, and
barbed wire, and resistance. I think Europe has done very well, so far,
but welcome mats are starting to be taken off the porch.
Change and social tensions.
I watched French politician, Jean-Marie La Pen being on ‘Hard Talk,’ last week. He is 87 now.
“Let’s face it, your an old man,” he was told, and then accused of
too much ‘looking back’. He wanted France to remain French in
personality, to be as it has been. Not hard to understand. Most people
do not welcome big changes in their lives. We like to know what’s going
on, and what is coming up, a dependable status quo.
But it’s not an invasion. Let’s call it in an infusion that will
change things, now and in the years to come, far distant futures.
I was in Sri Lanka in the eighties, when the Tamil Tiger Liberation
terrorists were killing people. They were Tamil Nadu, Hindus the English
brought over from India to build the tea plantations. Years passed, and
generations of Tamil children were born as the plantations were built.
Then the English went home in 1948, and the Tamil, Hindus were stuck on
an island of Ceylonese Buddhists, without passports or civil rights.
India didn’t want them back. The Tamil Nadu region had more poverty than
it could handle, and did not want more.
Papers were shuffled between India and Ceylon (by now Sri Lanka), for
years. Agreements were signed, then broken. Four decades later a boat
load of Tamils got chopped up with machetes on a ferry coming over from
India. The Tamils retaliated by slaughtering a bunch of Buddhist
Priests. The Tigers were born, with religion a driving force between on
both sides. The Tigers were the first to blow up an airliner, a plane
load of Germans on their way home. The plane was still on the runway, in
the process of taking off.
It can’t happen here, of course. But it’s hard not to see
similarities, and possibilities if things go sideways. This mass
infusion’s happening so fast. Does anyone have time to look ahead for
twenty five or thirty years?
You can’t point out people’s blind spots to them. If they weren’t
blind spots you could, but since they are blind spots they won’t see
them. So it’s better to just be loving. When they are ready to see
through the blind spot they will.
Humans are not allowed inside the Catican, but I have decided to share these with you.
The first is by Michelangelo Feline. The entire painting was done with
his tail and a toothbrush. He was never the same after that and went to
live with a very rich old lady in Napoli.
The second one is by Grimalkin Tabby a few
years before he was taken to the Catacombs. It depicts various entities
wishing they had more legs.
The crowds are here again, of course. Must be at least a thousand
waiting to get in. Takes ninety minutes, then we pass through airport
like security, conveyor belts and plastic tubs for metal objects.
We’re given recorder gadgets when we pay admission, and a pair of ear buds. Don’t like wearing these, but when in Rome . . . .
spend three hours wandering, amazed . . . hard to absorb so much, and
we have seen so little. It’s beyond imagination. Statues everywhere with
penises chopped off, and men dressed up like chess pieces.
lining up for holy water in a courtyard near a huge brass thing. A
present to the Pope from some famous sculptor. I’m sure it has some deep
meaning, but my audio device went staticy.
I missed the explanation of it. See scaffolding (in green at left) part of the endless maintenance required.
Inside again we pass by tapestries as big as England, hanging flat
against the walls below long hallway ceilings painted with more detail
than a person can take in.
starts to feel too much, a cake too sweet that gives a queasy feeling
in the stomach, massive decoration, wealth and power – scary. We’re
inside anther world, another country, once surrounded by great walls.
Now sixteen Euros gets you in – to the museum.
Rare Antique Pay Phones Everywhere.
Not sure if the bars are to keep people from falling out, or prevent them from climbing in.
There are a lot of dogs here on the avenues. I wondered why they
caught my eye so often. We’ve got dogs at home, I’ve never paid that
much attention, but the dogs here, these Italian dogs, are something
else – class acts. These dogs are Gucci and Armani, promenading with
their prideful owners who pose happily for photo ops.
I only saw one cat, lazily snoozing in a shadow, grateful to be left
alone, unleashed, well fed. Kept by the owners of a restaurant next
door. As good as it gets.