Forserum burning? Not really
FORSERUM/NÄSSJÖ. Overnight the small town of Forserum in the Swedish landscape of Smaland has become synonymous with a racist hellhole. The local Somalis, it was claimed, had been exposed to persecution comparable to what took place in burning Mississippi during the 1950s. But neither the inhabitants nor the village council recognize their city in the media reports.
– I don’t think we have any bigger problems with racism in Forserum than anywhere else, says city councilor Anders Karlsson of the Center Party.
– We must get to the bottom of what really happened here. All we have is a vague picture of what may have taken place and we need breathing space to analyze the situation.
News that Somali immigrants in Forserum have felt violated and intimidated exploded in the Swedish media at the end of August. According to press reports, the Somalis were afraid to send their children to school due to acts of terrorism and were planning on fleeing. Threats and physical assaults on Somalis were presented as daily occurrences and indignation reached a boiling point when the mainstream press reported that a girl on her way to
school had been forced to pour milk over herself in order to ”become white”.
So far the police has only received three complaints – one dealing with bodily harm, another with vandalism and one with illegal threats.
Dispatch: Is it possible that the media attention has exacerbated rumors and caused the situation to deteriorate?
– The news stories may have been overblown, says Anders Karlsson. We have got to realize that the Somalis are a weak group that don’t have a workable language. And if you cannot express yourself, there is bound to be misunderstanding. That’s why we need time to analyze and get to the bottom of what has happened with the help of professional interpreters and not interpreters who insert their own views. We must accept our responsibility but also recognize that the police are an important player. We must cooperate to solve these problems.
Mr Karlsson is of the opinion that the rumors concerning Forserum are being utilized by special political interests with their own agendas.
– We have become pawns in a larger game. (...)