Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reepalu’s Brand-New Dialogue Forum Also “Under Fire”

Hate crimes in Malmö doubled during 2009 compared to the previous year, something that mayor Ilmar Reepalu (Social Democrat), claims he hadn’t noticed. Most evident is hate crime directed against the Jewish community.  Jewish residents of Malmö have been abused continuously by a portion of the large local Muslim community. As a result, the Jewish community is forced to spend millions of kronor on private security to protect its synagogue and cultural facilities.  In response to the worsening situation, Reepalu decided to create a dialogue forum, a forum which is now being criticized—even before it has opened. 

In the beginning of the year the citizens of Malmö found out that their mayor ignored threats against minorities in the city. They would also come to learn that the mayor is unable to keep his personal political views to himself. This is certainly a skill most competent politicians learn quickly enough. Nevertheless, he still has not been able to differentiate between the Jews in Malmö and the politics of the State of Israel. His feeling is that the Jews in his city must take their lumps if they fail to agree with the vocal local Muslims and won’t denounce Israel publicly.  It seems that Jews in Malmö must learn skills Reepalu doesn’t have in order to avoid being hit with rocks and bottles in the public square.

This incompetent mayor has come under increased criticism as time after time he has failed to take a stance against the increased number of anti-Semitic hate crimes that have occurred in the city. As a way to make up for his political flaws the mayor decided to create a dialogue forum to combat ethnic unrest in the city
The forum, as commented by Chairman of the Malmö Jewish community, Rolf Kahn;
-  “should not only concern the Jews and the Muslims but also, for example, groups from the Balkans and the Arab world.”

The coordinator of the forum, Björn Lagerbäck (People’s Liberal Party) stated in a recent interview with the local newspaper Sydsvenskan that hopefully he will be able to instill confidence among the involved parties. His party colleague and part of the opposition on the municipal council in Malmö, Ewa Bertz does not feel as optimistic about the new initiative.
According to Bertz “this is just another way for Reepalu to run away from his responsibilities. Politicians are not allowed to partake in the forum although it should be the responsibility of the leaders chosen by the people to partake in discussions on how we can reduce the conflicts in our city. This responsibility should not be delegated to single workgroups”.

Politician Lagerbäck, forum coordinator, doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that politicians aren’t allowed to participate in the forum.  Convolutedly he states: “In the dialogue forum I work as an official, not as a politician. As an official I have the rights to take employment that is offered to me without having to look the other way.” 

Mayor Reepalu has been the mayor of Malmö for some 15 years and the results of his policies are now evident. The city is torn and its authorities have been flaunted by severe and increasing hate crimes which Reepalu still avoids dealing with himself. Malmö, as a result of Reepalu’s policies, has areas in Rosengård where the Swedish firefighters face daily arson attacks. The firefighters aren’t able to enter these areas without police escort as they are often met with rocks thrown at them as they try to put out the fires.
The city is also hard-hit by gang violence, especially by two gangs known as the K and the M- phalanx. Not long ago a man was shot to death as a result of increased gang violence in Malmö,  right in the middle of the city. This man is another name added to the growing list of those who have fallen victim to gang violence in Malmö.

It seems evident that a dialogue forum doesn’t even begin to solve the problems the city faces today. If Reepalu feels that he can ignore Malmö’s problems by setting up a “chat room” run by flunkies who defend their rights to an extra job, then the city needs a new mayor who will confront the lawlessness and hate crime which now characterize Malmö .

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