I guess Sweden isn’t perfect after all

Friday was a wild night in which mobs of men ran around the Stockholm train station attacking people. Something must be done about these immigrants! Foreigners!

Only it wasn’t the immigrants doing the attacking. It was native Swedes concerned about the purity of their country.

Hundreds of masked men marched through Stockholm’s main train station on Friday evening, reportedly beating up refugees and anyone who didn’t appear to be ethnically Swedish.

Wearing all-black balaclavas and armbands, the men “gathered with the purpose of attacking refugee children,” Stockholm police spokesperson Towe Hagg said.

Masked men slapping children around? Sounds brave and noble. Also so logical.

After the attack, the Swedish Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group, released a statement claiming the attack had “cleaned up criminal immigrants from North Africa that are housed in the area around the Central Station”.

“Police have clearly shown that they lack the means to stave off their rampage, and we now see no other alternative than to ourselves hand out the punishments they deserve.”

Who was rampaging here? Who deserves punishment? It seems to me that the neo-Nazis just indicted themselves.


  1. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    “gathered with the purpose of attacking refugee children,”

    we now see no other alternative than to ourselves hand out the punishments they deserve.”

    So, other than having different skin pigmentation, speaking a different language, and (most likely) following a different prophet of the Abrahamic god(s), what did these children do to deserve punishment? Escape a man-made hell created by authoritarian zealots? Hey, assholes, they came to Sweden because their home has been taken over by people like you!

  2. says

    Probably worth remembering that prior to WW2 Sweden did have a significantn Nazi/Fascist party. I my memory serves me correctly the founder of IKEA was part of it.

  3. pastorbentonit says

    A rightwing extremist party (“Sweden Democrats”; SD) has been in the Swedish parliament for more than 5 years now and are currently polling at around 20% (!) They originated in the neonazi movement but donned suits and cleaned up their act slightly (that is, they leave most of their hating to their keyboard warriors – a chilling presence in most if not all major comment fields – save the occasional ‘slip’. Their only justification is racism) to follow in the tracks of many other European RW extremist movements* in the last decades. It goes without saying that SD stands to gain followers as ethnic/racial antagonism increases, and that SD supports vigilante mobs like this. Makes me sick to my stomach, and Europe may take a very sinister turn within the near future.

    *Hungary and Poland have already started to abolish freedom of press under rightwing regimes, and France could very well have a neofascist President after the next election.

  4. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says


    One of the well-hidden secrets of the 1930s is just how successful fascism was in many democratic nations. In Spain, it was the Falange under Franco, Austria had Dollfuß, Greece had Metaxas, Poland had Pilsudski, Romania had Antonescu, England had the Union of Fascists, the Croats had the Ustasxi, Portugal had Salazar (Yeah, most of these rally didn’t qualify as democracies — but that was just an added feature of the fascism). In the Americas, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua all had fascist movements and/or parties. The Caribbean and South America also had their share. Some survived into the postwar period — of course, Mussolini and Hitler had given fascism/national socialism a bad name, so they came up with other names for political movements based on right-wing populusim and demagoguery, virulent nationalism, irredentism, scapegoating, and racial theories of superiority.

    Of course, what we are taught in school, here in the US, was that Franco was fighting the godless commies, and the only fascists, ever, were Hitler and Mussolini.

    Sorry for preaching.

  5. pastorbentonit says

    The reason SD grew to this extent is a long-lasting trend of neoliberal politics, culminating in eight years of center/right government ending in the 2014 election (in which SD got almost 13% of the votes, and please note that Swedish election participation is relatively high). One effect of neoliberalism has been an increased proportion of ‘angry white men’. Color me un-surprised…

    A curious, less-known fact is that the premier minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, volunteered for the GWB campaign in 2000 (and won the Swedish general elections in 2006). The former Social Democrats have been Social Democrats in name only, since the nineties, and have carried out much the same politics although with slightly less enthusiasm during their reigns. Economic policy as well as a substantial proportion of legislation is dictated by the European Union (which Sweden joined following a very close referendum in 1994), and foreign policy has been more or less dictated by the US, including our military presence in Afghanistan.

  6. kevinalexander says

    I’m waiting for some group to call themselves Allnutt’s White Lions!
    As in lions mindlessly kill their rivals cubs.

  7. Nick Gotts says

    Anyone who thought Sweden was pefect (I’m sure you didn’t, PZ), doesn’t know anything about Swedish history over the past century. Particularly worth mentioning: extensive eugenic sterilisation campaign pre-WWII; effectively pro-axis “neutrality” during WWII (German troops allowed to cross Swedish territory going to and from occupied Norway, essential supplies of iron ore and other materials for the Nazi war machine, continued for a considerable time after a German invasion was clearly not feasible); extensive armaments industy and exports post-WWII.

  8. wraxis says

    Awful. Just awful. What the hell did those little kids do to anyone?! I hope these fucking skinheads get brought to justice.

  9. says

    Now of course there will be tons of articles how this is just a result of their culture, especially their violent christian roots (eye for an eye…). People will demand that we very carefully screen people from Sweden for the protection of our beloved brown skinned children. For weeks we will hear how the so called “Swedish Democrats” are silent on these attacks. Right?

  10. birgerjohansson says

    Offhand, I guess these men are neo-nazis or former SD members purged after SD (the xenophobia party) wanted to seem more acceptable.

    The former PM/leader of the conservative party, Reinfeld, actually went out on a limb and advocated a generous refugee policy.
    The four parties of the center/right alliance coalition have consistently frozen out the xenophobic SD even though they could rule the country if they chose to cooperate with SD providing the crucial members of parliament.
    That they choose to sacrifice a ruling majority rather than legitimising SD shows how widespread the disdain for SD is in Swedish politics.

    As for the masked men, whenever the public derbate is dominated by refugees, the freaks tend to come out. I would recommend garclic or maybe some pesticide.
    (Canadian geese are great for eating the snails. Giant GM canadian geese? Condition them to think masked men=lunch)

  11. says

    @wraxis #8

    What the hell did those little kids do to anyone?!

    I have no idea what actually happens in Stockholm, but I can write what our media is saying:
    1) The refugee kids are allegedly not kids at all, they are sometimes young adults (in their twenties) who lie about their age to get preferential treatment.
    2) One such refugee, who said he is only 15 years old but might be older, stabbed and killed a ~20 year old woman who worked at the refugee center.
    3) These young men avoid registration and actually flee the refugee centers as soon as possible. They allegedly form gangs who pickpocket, steal and (of course) harrass women.
    4) The police (or the mayor, I cannot remember exactly) issued a statement that the train station is no longer safe due to these gangs, and that they (police) were instructed not to do anything about them because they are undocumented, underage and therefore unprosecutable.

    I am skeptical to the honesty of all our media, but ther is some truth in there – the woman was killed f.e.. Of course even if everthing above were 100% true, the solution is not to don a black mask and starting to beat up people for no other reason than that they look foreign. That is pure racism, plain and simple.

    But it seems that EU does need better processes and infrastructure to deal with refugees and economical migrants. Because assholes are everywhere and racists are poised to latch on any excuse – and they are exploiting the situation to gain political power.

  12. says

    2) One such refugee, who said he is only 15 years old but might be older, stabbed and killed a ~20 year old woman who worked at the refugee center.

    This “might be older” bullshit, which is also, of course, official policy in many countries is one of the biggest disgraces in how we deal with refugees right now, and that means something.
    Kids grow and develop at very different speeds. Everybody who has ever worked with kids is aware of this. Last summer I volunteered for the sports festival at my daughter’s school. We were responsible for the girls born 2006 and 2007. In that cohort there were kids half a head smaller than my daughter (a small girl at the 10th percentile for growth) and kids head and a half taller. I could have switched shoes with some of them. The medical diagrams for genital development show a wide range of normal. Just because somebody has a bush of pubic hair does not mean they are not 12 years old. The growth range for 15 year old boys is between 1.50m and 1.85m. And yes, children who had to walk a few thousand kilometres fending for themselves, probably selling sex to strange adults to survive might actually appear a bit less childlike than your average Swedish or German middle class kid whose worst experiences in life so far were the death of their hamster and being denied a second helping of icecream.
    Europol estimates that 10.000 refugee children are missing within Europe, being targeted by criminal organisations. Yes, that’s your pickpockets. Because it’s a fucking Dickensian nightmare out there.

  13. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    you go for the young cuz once let in they’ll be here much longer than any adults let in, so get the young first, let age get the elders.
    reminiscent of the bibble story of king commanding slaughter of all the babies to get the prophesied king usurper.

  14. says

    “Police have clearly shown that they lack the means to stave off their rampage, and we now see no other alternative than to ourselves hand out the punishments they deserve.”

    I love this faux nobility thing they’ve got going. They think they have to stand up and do something about the “invading forces” bc no one else can. Only these people (I want to say men bc I see this as something that men would be more inclined to do, but there’s no reason women wouldn’t either) can do the incredibly noble and important task of pushing back against the hordes of ebil savages. And yet, these “savages” are not the ones brutally attacking people.

  15. jacksprocket says

    You thought Scandinavians were doing something good? You didn’t read about the Danes voting to confiscate whatever savings or possessions refugees had managed to preserve. Truly Biblical: He that hath not, even that little that he hath shall be taken from him.

  16. Doctor Vagabund says

    It has not to be true, but I guess many people believe it is true.
    In my country (Czech Rep.), this story about gangs of teenagers and youngsters from N. Africa terrorizing Stockholm’s main station was published by major news websites, and I think that many people here take it quite seriously.
    True or not, it seems to me that these reports about gangs of youngsters at Stockholm’s main station, and these neo-nazi attacks at the very same place just few days later, they are not only a coincidence.

  17. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Source for jacksprocket’s comment about Denmark:
    Denmark approves law on seizing refugees’ valuables and delaying family reunions

    The Danish parliament has voted in favour of controversial plans to confiscate asylum seekers’ personal possessions in order to pay their upkeep.

    The Danish authorities say the policy would treat migrants and refugees in the same way as the country’s unemployed, who must sell assets above a certain value before they can receive benefits.

    But the proposals have drawn widespread condemnation from human rights groups, while some Danish critics have likened it to the confiscation of valuables from Jews during World War Two.

    The law would apply to cash or assets of up to 10,000 kroner (£1,000).

  18. says

    Doctor Vagabund
    They’re absolutely not and they are part of the completely irresponsible role the media is playing.
    Even if everything in that article is true it is what we in German call “Armutszeugnis”, proof you’re doing your job poorly, for the Swedish authorities. As I said above, Dickensian conditions. If kids as young as nine prefer to live on the street as small criminals instead of your institutions you’re doing it wrong.

  19. Gregory Greenwood says

    Doctor Vagabund @ 14;

    As a general rule of thumb, it is always a good idea to view anything reported in a journalistic outlet widely known as the ‘Daily Heil’ with a healthy measure of skepticism.

  20. birgerjohansson says

    ,,,and now I am just waiting for someone to bring up “blood libel” about the refugees.

  21. dorfl says

    You can learn amazing things about your own country by reading the comments under foreign news articles. Apparently, when I took the train to Lund and back this weekend, my PC blinders prevented me from noticing the “migrant teen gangs” that have “overrun” the train station. Also, I was planning to take a walk now, but I guess I can’t since I’ve been informed Stockholm is a “no-go zone”.

  22. says

    You’re late. In German social media NPD supporters are spreading stuff like “muslims rape and kill German girls and then turn them into Döner, that’s why Döner is so cheap”
    Of course anybody with 3rd grade maths should be able to figure out that given the German Döner consumption we should have run out of girls a long time ago, but who cares (also, how do they manage to imitate chicken and pork taste and consistency?)

    As for the Berlin girl: The ultimate irony is that when I was a teen, the Russian German immigrants were subject to the very same fear mongering and lies…

  23. says

    The situation is seldomly as dire as the media paints it, especially with regard to refugees in EU.

    I guess the use of the phrase “he might be older” has a specific function.
    It is a undeniablyy true statement. As you said, it is really not possible to accurately test whether someone is 15 years or not by just looking at them. I personally knew 15 years old man who has such a bushy beard he could be mistaken for 30 years (and now, 15 years later, looks amost the same) and I know a 30 years old woman who could be mistaken for 15 years.
    The statements infalsifiability is used as a blunt instrument. It helps to argue for 1)simply deporting everybody on sight because “those lying brownskin foreigners etc.” instead of 2) to increasing staff and budget for social services who deal with refugees and migrants.
    Because the first option plays into racist narrative and is popular/populist, while the second means our tax money should for a while go to help to other people than “our own”. And that option will not be popular no matter what. People in EU are still, mostly, racists/tribalists.

  24. birgerjohansson says

    One way to get accurate age measurements is to re-start atmospheric nuclear bomb tests. Because short-lived radionucleids spread quickly thorought the atmosphere and get incorporated into things like tooth enamel, providing a “clock” of sorts once you have a graph for isotope ratios per calendar year.
    — — —
    re. human döner meat.
    After reading “Inteview With a Vampire” I worked out long ago that the demographic signature of man-eating predators would be impossible to hide.
    One individual killing once a week would kill a thousand over a 20-year period. All of New York would barely support one man-eater without someone noticing.
    But if there is the odd vampire out there, I would not take umbrage if they feed on the ones who think they are the herrenrasse.
    Maybe this could be a cool episode of the new X-File?

  25. dianne says

    I have a proposal: How about Sweden trading the men who went around train stations looking for small children to beat up for an equal number of refugees from Syria or similar place? These men are clearly brave warrior types and are clearly anxious to get a chance to kill middle easterners and I expect either the president of Syria or ISIS would be ready to give them a chance. Plus a gang of Swedish mercenaries would surely convince the same parties that the Vikings live and keep them from invading Sweden, so the men would be protecting Sweden, right? In contrast, the refugees are largely just looking for a place where they won’t be forced to kill or be at risk of being killed. So win-win right? Surely the “brave” men who went about “defending Sweden” (from frightened children and traumatized adults) wouldn’t be afraid of a little thing like having to fight people who could fight back, would they? I mean, they’re superior northern Europeans. Surely they’d win in no time, wouldn’t they?

    I don’t need to satire tag this, do I?

  26. dianne says

    After reading “Inteview With a Vampire” I worked out long ago that the demographic signature of man-eating predators would be impossible to hide.
    One individual killing once a week would kill a thousand over a 20-year period. All of New York would barely support one man-eater without someone noticing.

    That’s assuming that they had to or wanted to kill. It’s perfectly possible to get blood by methods other than killing. Maybe they take jobs as janitors in hospitals and drink the expired blood they were supposed to send for biohazard disposal. Or do illegal sex work for people with vampire fetishes, though I naively think that there’s probably not enough of them to support a vampire’s entire needs. Then they might kill only on special occasions, which is something they could easily get away with, especially if they left evidence that would allow the police to convict a poor and/or minority person of the killing.

    Sorry. Diversion.

  27. Doctor Vagabund says

    Gregory Greenwood
    “As a general rule of thumb, it is always a good idea to view anything reported in a journalistic outlet widely known as the ‘Daily Heil’ with a healthy measure of skepticism.”

    Thank you, I’ll try to be more careful in the future. Unfortunately, I was not aware of low credibility of Daily Mail and that link popped out as the first one when I was looking for an English version of an article, which was published by our major national news portals. That included the two most visited news webs in Czech, and one of them actually provided a link to an article published on a web of SVT (Swedish national public TV): http://www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/stockholm/polisens-larm-vi-gar-pa-knana-nu

    Anyway, if someone would like to know a response to these questions “Who was rampaging here? Who deserves punishment? What the hell did those little kids do to anyone?” from the actual attackers, I guess that you will not get much further than to articles like that one from Daily Mail, which I posted.

    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-
    And I understand that it might be exaggerated, misinterpreted, a media-spin. But even if the report on gangs of Morocan minors/youth operating at Stockholm central station is a complete hoax, I do not get why these two events (that news release and right wing extremist attack) “absolutely” cannot be connected?
    I mean in that way that these attacks might be a knee-jerk reaction of right wing extremists to such news, no matter whether the extremists are (gladly) misinformed as well, or quite opposite, they are well aware of the situation, but trying to capitalize on such media releases, and use the current situation heated by these reports as an “excuse” for the attacks.

  28. dorfl says


    The SVT article clarifies things a bit. The Daily Mail seems to have mixed up T-Centralen (the main subway station) with Centralstation (the main train station), but they’re close enough that it doesn’t matter. More importantly, the attackers are in fact attempting to justify their actions as a defensive response to the Moroccan street kids. In reality, the attack is obviously mostly racially motivated, but there seems to be an unsettlingly large component of violence for its own sake. Those of the attackers who aren’t neonazis are mostly football hooligans, who seem to have joined in for the opportunity to beat people up as much as any real ideological convictions.

    Discussion of Moroccan street kids: http://www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/stockholm/polisens-larm-vi-gar-pa-knana-nu
    Description of leaflets handed out by neonazis: http://www.dn.se/sthlm/flygblad-uppmanade-till-markering-mot-gatubarnen/
    Discussion of ties between neonazis and football hooligans: http://www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/stockholm/oro-efter-samarbete-mellan-nynazister-och-huliganer