Monday, May 27, 2013

  • Monday, May 27, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
This is an amazing article for what it doesn't say:
Eva Bromster, an elementary school principal, was jolted awake by a telephone call late Thursday night. “Your school is burning,” her boss, the director of the local education department, told her.

Ms. Bromster rushed to the school, in the mostly immigrant district of Tensta, north of Stockholm, and found one room gutted by fire and another filled with ankle-deep water after firefighters had doused the flames. It was the second fire at the school in three days.

In Stockholm and other towns and cities last week, bands made up mostly of young immigrants set buildings and cars ablaze in a spasm of destructive rage rarely seen in a country proud of its normally tranquil, law-abiding ways.

The disturbances, with echoes of urban eruptions in France in 2005 and Britain in 2011, have pushed Sweden to the center of a heated debate across Europe about immigration and the tensions it causes in a time of deep economic malaise.

The riots, now subsiding, have produced less damage than the earlier ones in Paris and London, which also involved mostly immigrants. But the unrest has shaken Sweden, which has a reputation for welcoming immigrants and asylum seekers, including those fleeing violence in countries like Iraq, Somalia and Syria, and regularly ranks in surveys as one of the world’s happiest places.

“I don’t know why anybody would want to burn our school,” Ms. Bromster said. “I can’t understand it. Maybe they are not so happy with life.”

The riots are not unprecedented here. In 2008 and 2010, immigrants clashed with the police in the southern port city of Malmo. But the past week’s arson attacks in Stockholm, the capital, and the spectacle of teenagers hurling stones at firefighters have left many Swedes wondering what went wrong in a society that has invested so heavily in helping the underprivileged.

While the violence was concentrated in relatively poor districts, most of their residents have been shielded from dire poverty by a welfare system that is one of the world’s most expansive, despite recent cutbacks.
So what might the problem be?

...One big problem is the lack of jobs. The national unemployment rate is about 8 percent, but the rate is at least twice as high in immigrant areas and four times as high for those under 25. But, said Nima Sanandaji, a Kurdish-Swedish author of several books on immigration who was born in Iran, remote areas in the north of Sweden have more people out of work, “but they are not throwing rocks and burning cars.”

...Immigrants and the Swedish-born children of immigrants make up about 15 percent of the population, and last year Sweden nearly doubled the number of asylum seekers it took in and became Europe’s primary destination for refugees from Syria.

Ms. Bromster, the school principal, whose 325 students are all from immigrant backgrounds, said families who had “escaped from terrible wars in Iraq and Syria” could not be expected to adapt easily to an entirely foreign environment. “They don’t get work, and they feel excluded from society,” she said.
So it is not poverty. What possible other reason is there for some young immigrants to riot, while poorer people don't?

What could they have in common besides their immigrant status? Something cultural, perhaps, that teaches them that rioting and rock throwing are acceptable behaviors when things don't go your way? Is it possible that, say, their religious beliefs that they are taught from the time they are children might have something to do with it?

We'll never know, because some questions cannot be asked.

(h/t EBoZ)



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