For a very long time, there has been some kind of limit to what the media publishes. It has certainly been very flexible. But it has been there. Let us call it the border of shame. Ahead of the 2010 election it loosened up considerably. Now it has been crossed by a wide margin in a manner that gives me shivers down the spine. The plug has been pulled, all dams have burst. Now the unadulterated hatred flows freely, with the silent consent of all official bodies. The journalists are stoning their own people – and none of them stand up and say STOP – enough is enough!
In Länstidningen, a social democratic newspaper in Östersund, the Sweden Democrats party leader Mr. Jimmie Åkesson is pictured as a cockroach. Behind him stands a pest control worker wearing protective clothing and gas mask while spraying deadly poison gas from a canister marked with the symbols of all the other seven parliamentary parties.
The symbolism could not be clearer. Dissidents are to be exterminated. Sweden Democrats are pests that shall be killed with poison gas. The goal is clear: the party is to be wiped out by any means necessary. The hatred is breaking all boundaries. I cannot recall that I ever have seen a Swedish party leader depicted as vermin to be exterminated. Mr. Olof Palme and Mr. Torbjorn Fälldin and several other Swedish politicians were the subject of a healthy amount of political cartoons at the time. But never, ever with a threat of harsh and sudden death programmed in.
The historical parallels are terrifying
Länstidningen’s low water mark is not satire. It is pure and unadulterated evil that flows from the editorial page. The historical parallels are horrifying. The only archetypes the cartoon can be associated with are the Nazi hate pictures of Jews in the 1930s. Those images paved the way for the gas chambers at Auschwitz, Sobi Bor and Bergen-Belsen and the execution of millions of Jews, mentally retarded and mentally ill. Are we 70 years later to go down that path again? Should hatred against dissenters legitimize extinction? Have we learned nothing seven decades after one of history’s greatest massacres?
“The worst example of misanthropy”
The cartoon is created by Mr. Kjell Nilsson Mäki and illustrates a wishy-washy and intellectually inferior editorial by Ms. Ida Nilsing. After the publication on Saturday, Länstidningen has been stormed by hundreds of angry and outraged comments and emails. In a letter to the newspaper’s editor in chief and responsible publicist, Mr. Lennart Mattsson, a reader writes:
I have not seen a worse example of misanthropy anywhere in Sweden throughout my life. Länstidningen Östersund should not with a single word criticize a party that wants to have political debates since Ida Nilsing and the rest of you at Länstidningen wants to exterminate by gas and physically annihilate the Sweden Democrats – probably because you are not up to “taking the debate.
You would rather murder people than debate with them. Who made the cartoon? What political affiliation does a person have who wants to gas others to death?
Why is it that you cannot produce an editorial that contains something worth reading? Do you lack staff? Are there no reasonably intelligent people employed by the newspaper? Or are you so bloodthirsty that you chose the worst person you could find to write up the bland text?”
Länstidningen: “We are proud”
Länstidningen today responded to the outcry by stating that it is “proud to offer our readers something other than bland portraits of politicians who hold press conferences.”
We are also proud to be one of the few newspapers that keep the tradition of political cartoon satire alive. On Saturday’s editorial page Jimmie Åkesson was drawn as a cockroach that would be exterminated by a pest control worker, sent by the other parliamentary parties. LT’s artist, Kjell Nilsson-Mäki, has explained that he wanted the cartoon to show how the old established parties, despite persistent attempts, have failed to combat the Sweden Democrats. Given this explanation, the illustration is reasonable. But, and herein lies the problem, the illustration and the text have two different aims, which causes the whole to become blurred and open to misunderstanding, especially if one wants to misunderstand.
Survives at taxpayer benevolence
Länstidningen is one of many social democratic newspapers that generates massive losses. The newspaper cannot survive on selling their products that fewer want to buy. LT is surviving due to taxpayers’ benevolence in the form of state press subsidies. This year, the paper received a total of 16,861,000 kronor (approx. 2.5 million USD) in operating subsidies and 361,950 kronor (approx. 55.000 USD) in distribution support. A grand total of 17,222,950 kroner. More than 17 million in state aid to produce death threats against the leader of a democratically elected parliament party.
Länstidningen scandal picture marks a worrying shift in the media’s approach. The plug has been pulled. This signals a brutal escalation of violence and persecution against all who sympathize with the Sweden Democrats’ policies or vote SD since the other seven parties, with their ignorance of vital and crucial issues for the country, do not give them any other choice. Not only should it be open season for death threats against SD’s leader, it is also about time to persecute the 5.7 percent, or 340,000 voters who voted for SD in the 2010 election, says music critic Mr. Po Tidholm in Sunday’s SR (state controlled radio broadcaster) “Good morning world”.
“The big problem is the voters’
His view is that Swedish writers and commentators have “held back” for two years, but are now finally wallowing in expletives and vivid descriptions filled with adjectives regarding SD after Expressen’s (major tabloid that recently exposed a 2 year old video that showed some senior SD MPs behaving badly after a wet night) outstanding work.
“There is suddenly energy and joy in the debate and a general sense of relief” notes Mr. Po Tidholm. Now only one problem remains, and it is major:
The only ones that get off scot-free are the voters. It feels somewhat lame. It is, after all, they who have caused this mess. The presence of a xenophobic party did not became a serious democratic problem until the citizens decided to vote them into the assemblies.
It is “the regular Swedish voters, who – if one is to believe current polls – increasingly feel that SD has the answers to their questions” – who, according to Mr. Po Tidholm, are the problem.
The statistics claim that SD voters are usually low-skilled unemployed men, living in rural areas. This in turn makes them a little hard to pick on, since most media people, of which nearly one hundred percent are white, urban middle-class people, after all, have a some anxiety about their position of power, residence and socioeconomic status. The class gap is simply a little too wide.
“People are fucking stupid”
Mr. Po Tidholm considers himself to have a free pass by his choice of residence. He lives in the countryside in Trönödal in Söderhamn in Hälsingland. There, SD got 11.6 percent of the votes in the 2010 election and was thus “the most SD infected north of Blekinge” in Mr. Tidholm’s words. After much pondering, he has reached the conclusion that the simplest way for him to relate to this political reality is with some professional distance. “But basically, I’m tired and angry and think that people are fucking stupid,” he says.
“Those who farts loudly during dinner”
One conclusion that could be drawn by the success of New Democracy (political party that had a brief stay in parliament 20 years ago) was that there were a considerable number of Swedes who for various reasons want to be those who farts loudly during dinner, ruining the mood with tasteless jokes and use their voting rights to fuck with the so-called establishment. Should these people’s opinions suddenly be respected just because they happen to be represented in Parliament?
And then Mr. Po Tidholm delivers the conclusion that is pressing and must be presented:
So what am I getting at? The hard words should reasonably also be directed at those who have voted for these jerks.
More poison gas against dissidents!
Thanks, that hit the bull’s eye. More contempt for “stupid low-skilled unemployed men living in rural areas”! They are getting off far too easy. Go get the morons! More persecution, more hatred! Bring out the guns against “those who farts loudly during dinner, ruining the mood with tasteless jokes and use their voting rights to fuck with the so-called establishment”! More poison gas against dissident roaches!
The thing that Mr. Po Tidholm and others in the Swedish PC elite fears more than anything else is that the Sweden Democrats’ policies are winning supporters in significantly larger groups than the stupid men in rural areas; academics, intellectuals, writers, journalists, doctors, police officers, nurses, social workers, officials, actors, artists. It’s not quite as easy to openly despise and want to gas to death people belonging to the same social class as yourself as it is to spew contempt on farting low-skilled unemployed men living in rural areas.
What Länstidningen and Mr. Po Tidholm do is not only to descend down to the level of mud wrestling. They also kill the democratic discourse. Without conversation, democracy does not exist. When the words run out and only hatred remains, then we are in very serious trouble.
Now I wonder just one thing: when will the gas chambers be built?
by Julia Caesar
Translated by Utlandssvensk
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