How is it possible that Stockholmers – and a large majority of the rest of Sweden – have advocated for a policy that results in themselves and their immediate families facing a greater risk of being subjected to violence?
By – Lars Johansson
In 1973, a bank Kreditbanken was robbed at Norrmalmstorg square in Stockholm. Four bank officials were taken hostages. Three were women. Within a short time, the police watched as gangster Clark Olofsson instigated the beginning of a hostage crisis that would take place in the bank vault over the following six days and best known as the origin of the term “Stockholm Syndrome”.
The hostages, instead of fearing their captors, quickly developed a positive relationship with them during their captivity within the vault and even sympathized with the violent criminals. They reportedly feared the police would attack and kill them, instead choosing to believe their captors were “saving” them by allowing them to live.
Even with their instincts with them, they suffered from what, in the field of criminology, thereafter would be called “Stockholm syndrome“. The syndrome is one that occurs in some people, when they feel threatened, in order to retain some form of mental balance consciously or when they unwittingly choose to sympathize with the perpetrators who threaten them.
The people who sympathize with such criminals, ultimately condemn them more for their situation and personal qualities than for their own good. It is possibly the behavior of some kind of survival instincts, where the individual gradually loses common sense and mentally joins in with his perpetrator’s agenda.
Take, for example, Fredrik Reinfeldt. He was the one who would best guard the Swedish people’s best for eight years. What is best for people is subjective, and can be debated forever, depending on where you stand politically.
But an overwhelming majority of us can surely agree on this: people not being exposed to violence, sexual coercion, threats or theft / vandalization of property is still ranked high on the list of “what is best for people” in general.
So in January 2017, many people became aware that violent crime, as I just mentioned, had “somehow” increased exponentially with the number of people from some Muslim countries that Sweden and its people have been kind enough to receive.
For a long time, the Swedes did not want to talk openly about the possibility that increased cases of violent crime and the fact that more people from certain Arab countries now exist in Sweden could be connected.
The public are afraid of finding themselves in an uncomfortable situation at work or within their friendship circle if they would dare to suggest the possibility of such a correlation between the two.
Many people, in no way, are willing to regard the increased violence as a consequence of the arrival of people from countries where violence is actually more common than in Sweden, but rather they prefer to refer to the phenomenon as “the violent behavior of men”.
It seems to be psychologically easier for them to blame “men as a group” than to blame “newly arrived men from underdeveloped Muslim countries where violence and sexual abuse are actually more common than in Sweden.”
This is because Swedish wishes to appear and behave morally “smart”. This frenzy has resulted in constricting limits in our capital. Here in the mecca of moral elitism, one avoids talking openly at either the workplace or in situations of leisure activity,
As a seaman, I have had the privilege of getting to know world citizens from different parts of the world. I have worked in countries such as Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia and Somalia, to name a few.
The list can be longer but we can concentrate on actually learning something particularly useful of working in these countries. Not by being on holiday and staying at hotels, but rather by pragmatic problem solving that occurs when in the territory of the countries with ships, cargo and crew.
One is then exposed to the practice of customs, ordinances, consequences and money by the people of these countries. All of these are, in many ways, very different to Sweden and the rest of the world.
Have you experienced harbor hopping? You quickly come to know the people of the country through their work and you realize, after a certain time period of experience, what type of behavior you should expect from them and what type of behavior you should not expect from them.
Because when you have their ships in their territory, you are completely subject to the local practice with not only property (the ship and the cargo you are travelling in) but also with your crew’s personal safety.
One is completely vulnerable and dependent upon the local scene and local consequences of how to act in situations that arise, for example, when a government official requires strange gifts of various kinds, such as bribes, to persuade him to allow the ship to enter the port, or when a local authority thinks that loads are taken (if not at all) or when local port workers see a blonde woman in the crew of the ship and immediately begin to sexually harass her.
You learn a lot about these countries’ people when you undergo this practice repeatedly during a career. You are equally happy every time you are eventually allowed to exit from these countries and enter into international waters where you are beyond their reach. If there is something I can promise you as a reader, it is exactly what I just expressed.
Fredrik Reinfeldt is both generally educated, initiated with Swedish law and thinking. Many voted for him, and for some time the public thought he was the best prime minister that Sweden had for quite some time.
I myself, was one of them. He has certainly been on holiday and political missions in many cultures. But I am completely convinced that he lacked his own experience of working professionally and continuously in places, in any of the countries, that I had mentioned above.
If we are to approach the issue that the headline invites, let us first state that it is quite obvious that Reinfeldt does not understand how life exists in the countries I mentioned above, specifically in regards to respect for other people’s belongings, money and bodies.
After a certain time when he witnessed first-hand how the violence, thefts and the sexual assassinations increased in Sweden, he was, undoubtedly, very afraid. He and the prevailing leadership characters in the Swedish capital started to, strangely enough, appreciate the situation and qualities of immigrants arriving from the Arab world more than the safety and common good of their own people.
They thus began to display signs of the infamous Stockholm syndrome. For Reinfeldt’s part, the syndrome appears to be chronic since, for years, after being no longer a prime minister, it continues in his attitude and opinions.
Is this chronicle therefore due to the fact that you were born in the city where the symptom was first coined, or can we actually hope to see that politicians, artists and journalists in Stockholm begin to overcome the syndrome during 2017?