Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A fantastic Kurdish wedding – but with a question about a bad moon rising

Last Saturday I attended my fourth Kurdish wedding. The previous three were in Iraq, but this one took place in my native suburb of Järfälla.

I had a great time and felt very emotional. During the last year I have become very close friends with Sukran (the bride) and Shoresh (the groom), and I really enjoyed all the wonderful traditions and the fantastic Kurdish hospitality. [Thanks for the photo Claes]

* * *

It was a great night, and I did not intend to blog about this since it was a nice, private evening. But one conversation I had at the wedding worries me, and made me change my mind. A Kurdish man walked up to me and said: “Are you social democrats ready to handle the Liberal party [folkpartiet] this time? I am sure they will play the race card again and try to get populist votes”.

The history in short: In the election campaign of 2002, folkpartiet put forward a proposal suggesting that foreigners must pass a Swedish language test in order to gain citizenship. A very populist idea, some would say xenophobic, that tripled their share of the votes.

Yesterday, during a televised political debate, the leader of folkpartiet (Lars Leijonborg) got a question from a young man. He asked if his mother, who has been living (and cleaning) in Sweden for some 20 years, must pass a language test in order to gain citizenship.

Mr. Leijonborg said yes, in a roundabout way. That scared me, and I still don’t have an answer to the question I got at the wedding. What do we do when a former Liberal party, like folkpartiet, uses their Liberal credentials to put forward populist proposals that would start dividing people into groups depending on where they are born?

Is a test about Swedish traditions and colonial history their next step? What do we do?


Blogger ls stockholm said...

Kom igen Eric, du vet själv att språktest inte har något med "ras" att göra. Att påstå det är bara sossepopulism. Man kan vara för eller mot spåktestet av olika skäl, men att säga att det är rasism är befängt.

Tycker du själv att språkkunskaper är nödvändiga för att bli medborgare i Sverige?

29/5/06 17:39  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

Jag säger inte att det är rasism, poängen är att jag (och många andra) fruktar ännu ett populistiskt fp-utspel med invandrarkritisk ton i valrörelsens slutspurt.

Språkkunskaper är önskvärda och kan gärna stimuleras, men jag ville inte se formella språkprov som krav för ett medborgarskap.

30/5/06 18:55  

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