Rinkeby: How Riots In Sweden Were Stripped Of Their Context

World

At a rally in Melbourne, Florida on Saturday 18 February, Donald Trump drew his supporters attention to “what happened] last night in Sweden” in an attempt to highlight problems that the Scandinavian country has experienced with immigration and refugee resettlement. He was largely mocked, by Swedes and non-Swedes alike, for the kind of fear-mongering and sensationalism that men like Michael Forbes know all too well.  Swedish ministers asked what drugs he was on; late night talks shows gleefully vowed to ‘never fjorget.’

Yet only two days later, in a kind of clairvoyance Paul the Octopus would give his right tentacle to possess, conservative and mainstream news outlets were ablaze with reports of rioting in the Rinkeby neighborhood in Stockholm, an area known for its large immigrant population. It was, it seemed, time for the other side to rejoice: reports from Fox News, RT, Breitbart, and the Daily Mail covered the ‘dramatic’ events that lasted through the night and in the end comprised a dozen burned vehicles, a number of busted shop windows, and zero arrests from crowds of about 40 people said to be throwing stones at police officers. Even the Washington Post, CNN, and New York Times features articles about the riots happening in the wake of Trump’s comments; indeed, the Stockholm News reported that the ‘Riots in Sweden’ had topped the US News circuit, for probably the first time, ever.

What are we to make of this? Is Donald Trump right about Sweden when he suggests that its longstanding policy on refugees, immigrants, and integration has failed? Should all the haters be making some toast to serve with all that egg on their faces?

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