A New Sweden

A satirical cartoon drawn by German artist Harm Bengen shows Pippi Longstocking staring up at the Swedish flag – a flag that has turned into a Nazi swastika.

The picture is a comment on the fact that Sweden’s new coalition government rests on the support of a party founded by new nazis.

It is no coincidence that the picture shows Pippi Longstocking reacting. The beloved children’s character stands for everything that the new government isn’t – kindness, curiosity and courage. She stands up for the weak and the oppressed. The picture clearly illustrates this contrast, as well as the shift in Swedish society, and even the polarization that exists.

Sweden’s new conservative government only has 39% of the vote and are therefore reliant on support from a right-wing extreme party in order to govern. In the recent election, this party grew and have over 20%, making them Sweden’s second largest party. The new government is at their mercy – and cannot get anything done without their approval. And this is clear in many of the government’s policies.

This is the new Sweden. Pippi’s Sweden was post war – Europe had just defeated the nazis. And here we are, almost 80 years later. The majority of the Swedish people have handed power to a party that was built on nazi doctrine and is contaminated with nationalistic beliefs. I have never been more disappointed with Sweden than I am now.

But I do love democracy. And I guess this is what it is all about. Sometimes you like the result, and sometimes you really don’t.

3 thoughts on “A New Sweden

  1. Hi Neil –

    That flag with Pippi Långstrump makes me so terribly sad. I have lived in the United States since 1985. Politically, the last 6-7 years have been excruciating, and within the week….. it seems like the specter of autocracy looms over all of us, all over the world, these days.

    Through the years, I have always been a proud Swede in a (no longer so very) foreign country. When Americans have protested recent events and said “This isn’t who we are”, I have smugly thought “Yes it’s is, and for quite some time now – how haven’t you noticed?” And thought of Sweden and patted myself on the shoulder, thinking that that could never happen at home. Oh well. My old aunt used to say: “Somliga straffar Gud meddetsamma, andra tar det lite längre tid för.” One might think that 20% isn’t much, but it’s probably only the beginning. I have to assume Swedes (like so many Americans) are not immune to mis/disinformation, QAnon, hoaxes etc etc etc, and whatever spreads via social media seems to end up as truth sooner or later.

    If it could happen in Sweden, it can – and probably will – in the US.

    I actually just meant to let you know how much I always like your newsletters with little tidbits about Swedes and Sweden. It morphed…. ☺️

    Have a great day!

    Christina Sjöblom Eugene, OR

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