Nov 29, 2015

Sweden on a 4/high-Back in Boliden

It had only been home to him for a month, but really a home it seems.

The aftermath upon the arrest of the 22 year old Iraqi refugee in Boliden, a couple of hours north of Umeå little more than a week ago, have been severe. Did the Swedish Security Service know what they were doing at all? And had every newspaper  in Sweden as well as public service radio and TV lost their mind, releasing a suspects photo and name?

The answer on the second question is yes. The rules for name publishing in Sweden are very strict, and you don’t disclose a suspect. But “preparing a terror attack” was new territory and it seems like everybody sort of got over heated and went over board.

Question one is probably more complicated. The Swedish Security Service claim they acted on intel. And that’s their job.

What is really interesting to me here is how Swedes in general (that is what I am noticing in the media and social media I am choosing, of course), and journalists in particular are upset about SSS action and how they acted, to this open and non hidden young man. His friends in Boliden though, also refugees, open as well, being interviewed, did not question neither the police or the SSS. “They are doing their job, it would be wrong if they didn’t, it’s as simple as that”, was their response.

I am asking a young man who I am seeing a couple of times a week about his opinion. He came to Sweden as an unaccompanied refugee at the age of 16 and he works with my home care company. He has travelled the same journey as the thousands and thousands of refugees struggling their way through Europe this fall. So, what do you think? There is no doubt about it, everyone acting in any way suspicious must be questioned.

The 22 year old was released last Sunday. I am not mentioning his name although I could as it’s out there, but it just doesn’t feel right at the core of the journalist heart deep inside me. I am not mentioning his name although he will continue his life here in Sweden. In Boliden. Because. By the authorities he was offered a new place of his choice to live, anywhere, where he would be a bit more incognito.  But his response was a polite, thank you but no. All I want is to go home to Boliden. I feel safe there. 

The ground in Boliden is covered with snow and the young man is back. He has no idea where the intel about him came from, he himself fled from ISIL and the war. The accusation is what’s hurts, how people could think that he was someone and something he wasn’t. But he holds nu grudge towards the police. Nobody said bad things, he tells he was treated well and they gave him nice meals and clothes.

Next weekend he and his friends are renting a community center throwing a party to celebrate that he is back, inviting everyone in Boliden, serving delicious Arabic food. They want to connect closer with the inhabitants of the small town, saying thank you, striving for creating a life together. And he sends his gratitude to the Swedish police who took good care of him.

I find this moving and touching. And I am learning something important. These people have left unimaginable conditions of life and an extreme regime behind. A 22 year old man who was arrested out of the blue on suspicion preparing a terror attack to the country where he wants to create a life and a future, doesn’t feel violated or bitter, no he expresses gratitude to the Swedish police for taking good care of him.

And. The terror that is pretty much unknown to us but we rightfully fear, is what the young man and his friends know by heart. That’s why they came here. They are as scared as we are that it will strike their new country, possibly even more. That’s what I’m hearing from my friend working with me too. And they are therefore, as I am perceiving it, more tolerant to inquiries and interrogations here, even when it comes to them selves. Let’s only hope the police will continue being an authority treating the refugees and future Swedes so well they will be shown gratitude.

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