Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Swedish Left’s Problem with Freedom and Democracy

Gunnar Hökmark, Swedish Member of the European Parliament and chairperson of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association, writes on his blog of the complicated relationship the Swedish Left has with democracy. Citing the latest report of American NGO Freedom House  regarding the state of democracy in the world, he goes on to state that the policies of the Swedish left towards the countries and regions of the world are characterized by a kind of “reverse proportionality”; the more oppressive the nation, the more the Swedish Left will tend to overlook its atrocities. The opposite also holds true: the more democratic the nation, the more criticism it will receive.

Hökmark has a point; must of the readers of this blog will have heard of the “unholy alliance” between the Swedish Left and various Islamo-fascist organizations, but when was the last time the Swedish Left organized a demonstration against the inhuman farce of a legal system in China, where more than 5,000 people are executed yearly, or the occupation of Tibet and the exile of the Dalai Lama? On the other hand, among the democratic nations of the world, Israel is not alone in being shunned by the Swedish left. For example, France was recently blasted for banning the use of the niqab in public, while some time ago Switzerland received the same treatment for outlawing the construction of minarets.

Now, one might of course be of the opinion that the Swedish Left is right in condemning these actions. One might even have valid arguments with which to defend that opinion. But that is beside the point.

The point is that when a piece of clothing designed for the sole purpose of showing a man's dominance over “his” woman by preventing other men from even looking at her was banned, the Swedish Left screamed blue murder. But of the stoning to death of unfaithful women in Saudi Arabia, they have nothing to say. When the Minaret, a Muslim building that is never mentioned in the Quran, was banned, they also screamed. But they kept silent when the political opposition in Iran was violently quelled by its totalitarian government. And, when nine would-be murderers were shot in self-defense by Israeli soldiers during the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, their outrage was the stuff of legends. Yet, when it comes to the dozens of African refugees who have been shot by Egyptian forces while attempting to cross the border into Israel, the wrath of the Left remained unprovoked.

Why is this? The Left prides itself on fighting for freedom, democracy and human rights, and in many countries this is also true. So why is Sweden so different? Maybe it is because the long period of peace Sweden has enjoyed has turned those of us who live there into cowards, not daring to risk provoking the anger of countries whose wrath would not be held back by the restrictions of democracy. Or it might have very little to do with democracy or the lack thereof: after all, democracy and wealth frequently go hand in hand. It is hardly a coincidence that for example Japan, one of the richest countries in the world, is a democracy, while North Korea, one of the poorest, is not. Perhaps the Swedish Left views the poor, non-democratic nations as the underdogs of the global arena – and the members of the Swedish Left are usually suckers for the underdog.

Or, perhaps as the author and former parliamentarian Aayan Hirsi Ali claims, it’s a form of racism, which wholly accepts behaviours in the Islamic world which in the Western World would be denounced as abuse—as long it’s directed towards non-Westerners.  But motives notwithstanding, it remains a fact that the Swedish Left shows a complete lack of interest in supporting democracy, preferring instead to join in violent demonstrations against Israel and the US – the world's largest democracy and the only democracy in the Middle East, respectively – while at the same time, people are suffering and dying in nations the Left would call 'friend'. The Left's contribution to the fight for freedom and equality in Sweden has ground to a halt.

By Adam Eberhag

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