NYT hade en intressant artikel om Swedengate, skriven av person med bakgrund (vilket framgår i artikeln) från Nigeria, USA, nu boende i Sverige. Jag vet vad som utlöst det hela, men jag har inte följt det. Artikeln sätter fokus på den absurda besattheten av "Sverigebilden".
A Social Media Takedown Is a Blessing in Disguise for Sweden
The disconnect between Sweden’s global image of perfection and its internal problems caused Swedengate to escalate. The metaphor was irresistible: Swedes dining in minimalist rooms of glass while others look on, invited into the house but not given a seat at the table. The episode of unwanted social media virality exposed the xenophobia that lurks in some quarters of Swedish culture, as well as the country’s somewhat surprising cultural fragility.
Sweden has invested enormously in its global image and public relations machine. I know this because I’ve written for the country’s official website about all the wonderful virtues that make it a global leader. As a travel writer and photographer, I document my country’s sweeping vistas, iconic cultural traditions, sustainability mind-set and reverent relationship with nature. I even wrote a book about lagom, Sweden’s much-vaunted ethos of moderation and avoidance of indebtedness.
The country, like many others, also has deep integration and inclusion issues that it must address. I often say that it is the most open society, run by the most private people. The cultural tropes it is praised for play a part in this: Lagom stipulates that we must take care of our individual needs first, without aggravating others in the process. This creates a society of interiority in which people are open-minded enough to allow their neighbors to do whatever they want, yet keep very close bubbles around their own lives to avoid stress, discomfort, and the unfamiliar. This is a part of why we have a segregated society where ethnic minorities congregate in subcommunities in order to feel accepted and listened to.
It’s an opportunity for a country I love to finally exhale, shed the self-imposed burden of perfection, take itself less seriously and acknowledge its weaknesses. That doesn’t mean it can’t proudly celebrate its strengths — but it means admitting to not knowing everything, and projecting to the world that there’s a lot that can be learned from others, as well.
No one, and no country, is above criticism. By seeing a culture’s imperfections and vulnerabilities, we begin to truly see one another. We recognize pains, sorrows, joys and wants across national boundaries. That is how, over time, Sweden can shed the unfair stereotype of a cold and distant nation — and show the world that its heart beats warmly, too.
Sweden has invested enormously in its global image and public relations machine. I know this because I’ve written for the country’s official website about all the wonderful virtues that make it a global leader.
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De pengar som läggs på att måla upp en bild inför resten av världen, skulle man inte kunna lägga dem på att ta itu med de olika problem vi har istället?
Har andra jämförbara länder motsvarande PR-maskineri riktade mot omvärlden? De övriga nordiska länderna? Irland? Nederländerna? Belgien? Australien? Nya Zeeland?