About Those Riots In Sweden…

Stockholm riots

I know what you’re thinking…WHAT riots in Sweden?

Well, they’ve been going on for four nights now, and they’re pretty bad:

Unrest in Stockholm’s suburbs continued for a fourth night as rioters showed their anger over a police shooting a week ago by setting fire to cars and buildings and pelting emergency workers with stones.

Police spokesman Kjell Lindgren says at least 30 cars were set ablaze across western and southern Stockholm early Thursday. Firefighters said they have “never before seen so many fires raging at the same time.”

But who’s rioting? “Suburbanites?” That seems weird. Well, there is this passing reference in the new story…

Sweden, where immigrants bear the brunt of Scandinavia’s highest unemployment rate, has suffered similar bouts of unrest before. In 2008, rioters in Rosengaard in the southern city of Malmoe clashed with police after setting fire to cars and bins.

The reporter doesn’t specifically say the rioters are also immigrants, but I guess that’s the only reason to bring the subject up. So why doesn’t the newspaper just tell us who these rioters are? Wait–there’s this:

Groups of youths have burnt down a restaurant, torched more than 30 cars and injured three police in a fourth night of riots in suburbs of the Swedish capital that started following a fatal police shooting.

So for four days the people of Sweden have suffered the wrath of “youthful suburban immigrants”–you mean like teen ABBA fans?

Maybe if we knew the name of this “69-year old wielding a machete,” maybe that would help? But I searched 10 news  stories and never found his name.  But I did find a lot of coverage of some other fellas in Europe recently wielding a machete. They cut the heads off of a British soldier in the streets of London yesterday.

Hmmm….something there?

And while I couldn’t find the name of Machete Man, I did find a couple of Swedes who were speaking out on behalf of the rioting “suburban youths.”

“We see a society that is becoming increasingly divided and where the gaps, both socially and economically, are becoming larger,” said Rami Al-khamisi, co-founder of Megafonen, a group that works for social change in the suburbs. “We have institutional racism.”

“”The reason is very simple. Unemployment, the housing situation, disrespect from police,” said Rouzbeh Djalaie, editor of Norra Sidan newspaper. “It just takes something to start a riot, and that was the shooting.”

I’m no expert on Nordic traditions, but I gotta tell ya: “Rami Al-khamisi” and “Rouzbeh Djalaie” don’t sound like the names of the captains of the Swedish Bikini Team to me.

Finally, after reading more than a dozen articles about the rioting, I came across this little fact nugget:

The riots began on Sunday in Husby, just outside of the capital, where about 80 percent of the population is either first or second generation immigrants. Most of them come from largely Muslim countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Somalia.

Am I the only person who thinks that fact should be mentioned, at least in passing, in the news coverage of these riots? Can you possibly have an understanding of the context of this violence without that information?

Starting the story with “rioting Swedish youths” and ending up with the fact of “Shooting a Muslim guy holding a machete leads to riots by Muslim immigrants” means you started with a story that was fundamentally untrue.

Oof da! Why won’t the press just report the damn story?

Michael Graham
Radio talk show host, columnist for the Boston Herald, stand-up comic and former GOP political consultant. Learn more about Michael here.

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