Manifestations and such.
Anja and I went to the anti-racism/SD (Swedish Democrats) counter-manifestation in town this afternoon.
At first, there was some speeches (not very passionate, and not very original) and some rap-singing about putting your weapons down, which is not only cliché but also quite irrelevant to the subject at hand (Since the majority of the racists in Sweden don’t carry weapons of any kind and our biggest concern in Sweden is the subtle racism that brews just below the surface, everywhere, seeping into all kinds of places and situations, alongside its siblings sexism and bitterness, all of which gradually grows into festering hatred)
The manifestation was a counter-action against the Nazi manifestation taking place a couple of hours later in a different part of town, and it was called “We are the 94 percent” or something to that effect (i.e. the ninety-four per cent who didn’t vote for SD) although looking around, Anja and I quickly deduced that the people who’d showed up to the manifestation was the same crowd who always shows up to these things, we could see bright orange dreadlocks, tattered sex pistols t-shirts, Palestine scarves, a whole landscape of colourful dots — pins — that read everything from “No blood for oil” to “Marx” or just had pictures of red stars, rainbows, or Che Guevara on them. Basically, ninety-four percent of the left wing was present. And they came together like this, united, cheered and shouted; this time the theme was “Stop racism”, but no matter what the theme is, it always looks like this, and it always sounds the same; it’s always “us” against “them” — exactly the same mentality that we’re supposedly protesting — Anja said something really insightful about it as we stood there (discretely discussing how this mentality rubs us both the wrong way, and that neither of us feel the same rush of adrenalin in this type of situation anymore that we used to as teenagers, when those situations filled a need to belong, a need that’s decreased considerably in the last couple of years as we’ve grown as people and become more confident in ourselves) and that was that this “us and them” business and this sense of belonging that this crowd offers, is the exact same tactic that the Nazis have when they recruit young people. An interesting thought, I think.
I maintain that: hatred breeds hatred. Violence leads to violence. And aggression in any shape or form, to whatever aim, will only lead to more aggression. Or as Gandhi so eloquently put it: “An eye for an eye, makes the world blind”
Later on, the manifestation moved to be closer to where the Nazis were, and proceeded with their premeditated plan to disrupt their manifestation by creating as much noise as humanly (and inhumanly) possible. The thing is, I fully support the theme of the day. I am completely intolerant to racism and I do want SD out of parliament, but considering everything that is going on around the world, or just in Europe, right now, where people are oppressed, terrorised and desperately dying for their causes, for their freedom. I think it’s an insult to them when a small number of people are trying to replicate the drama that those horrible conditions create, as read in dramatic headlines over here, when our circumstances are completely different; like I said, the most dangerous racists of this country, who also happen to be the large majority, don’t carry weapons. We’re allowed to even have a manifestation. I’m not saying things are fine in Sweden, in fact they’re far from fine, especially since the right wing won the election, even more so since SD got into parliament. We have a deep-seated, structural problem of sexism and racism in Sweden, so ingrained and so subtle, it’s almost impossible to pin-point and address, especially since the majority of the population is in deep denial about it even being there. Meanwhile, the divides between classes, sexes and people of different ethnicities, religions or age, keep growing. Bitterness and discontent keep brewing. But still, a little perspective, please. Our situation couldn’t compare to Cairo’s, so neither should our manifestation. We are definitely not desperate enough that it should warrant any form of violence. But there seems to be a political equivalent of football hooligans..
Anyway. The manifestation picked up. The police mobilised. The anarchists provoked them. One chase ensued, but not much more. The noise continued without them. And finally, Anja and I decided that we’d had enough and we went to a café in another area of town.