In Sweden, Not Everyone Can Say #MeToo

Authored by Nima Gholam Ali Pour via The Gatestone Institute,

  • Sweden has let in a huge wave of young male migrants, many of whom have created an insecure environment for women; when these women have cried for help and tried to share their stories, the Swedish media and politicians have refused to listen.

  • The Swedish media recently reported that police no longer have time to investigate rape cases because of the many murders.

  • The main problem with the “#MeToo Movement” is that instead of relying on the rule of law, people start relying on the rule of social media. The number of “likes” or “retweets” decides whose experiences of sexual assault are recognized. If you have not been harassed or assaulted by a celebrity, nothing happens. If you were sexually assaulted by a nobody, nobody cares.

Interest and involvement in the “#MeToo Movement” has been strong in Sweden. Internet searches for the phrase “me too” show that Swedes made almost three times as many as the Dutch population, in second place for the number of searches for “me too”.

What the #MeToo Movement reminds us of in Sweden is how the issue of sexual harassment has become very politicized. While many Swedes are eager to expose celebrities who have sexually assaulted or sexually harassed women, Sweden is still a country where sexual assaults and rapes by newly arrived and illegal migrants is denied and concealed in the most vicious ways by parts of the official establishment.

One of the clearest examples is a recent case where a rapist was not condemned and his victim was blamed. On October 11, 2017, Arif Moradi, an illegal immigrant from Afghanistan who lives in Sweden, was convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl. Moradi had been appointed in November 2016 to be a youth leader at a “Confirmation camp” by the Church of Sweden. At this camp, Moradi began to make sexual advances towards the 14-year-old girl, until on the night of November 12-13, 2016, the most serious abuse took place as the other children were sleeping.

The victim succeeded in fleeing to the bathroom, where she sent several text messages to a friend at the camp. Together, the two girls woke up the parish educator, Eva-Lotta Martinsson, and told her what had taken place. The parish educator, however, decided not to report the incident to the police. The reason the parish educator did not inform police was apparently because, as she later told the police, she did not perceive it as “serious.” When the girl’s mother found out about the assault, she did report it to the police.

Moradi was sentenced to probation and a fine for sexual abuse.

Moradi, before the incident in the camp, had been celebrated in Sweden’s media as an outspoken, newly-arrived migrant who had “liberal values.” In an interview from July 2017 Moradi said:

“Many have been subjected to terrible cruelties. In Afghanistan, there is no talk about how girls feel, women have no rights at all. Most people do not even know what equality and democracy is.”

The article also says that Moradi is active in the National Association for Unaccompanied minors, and that he has spoken in front of thousands of people and even shaken hands with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. The article carries the headline: “They Care about the Forgotten Girls”.

The same month, Moradi appeared again in another article in the newspaper Göteborgs Posten, with the headline: “Society Has Forgotten the Unaccompanied Girls”. In this article, Moradi is described as a champion for young girls.

In August 2017, Radio Sweden reported that Moradi was organizing a sit-in in Gothenburg, protesting the deportation of Afghan migrants.

Even after Moradi sexual assaulted the 14-year-old girl, the Swedish media continued to celebrate him. Several months later, the Swedish media were still describing him as a hero and champion for women and human rights.

You might expect that Moradi’s conviction, when it was proven without doubt that Moradi had committed the crime, people would distance themselves from Moradi. But that is not how it works in Sweden.

After the sentencing, there was still strong support for Moradi among many Swedish women. Several “refugee activists” expressed their support for Moradi and wanted him released from the custody of the Swedish Migration Agency.

Moradi was also visited by a female member of parliament, Christina Örnebjär, who represents the Liberal Party. Örnebjär said she wanted to “have a talk” with Moradi and posted a selfie with him, but after some angry comments, she took it down.

The 14-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by Moradi was attacked in social media by left-wing activists and accused of lying. One woman wrote on social media: “Good, Arif… What comes around… Goes around… They will get their punishment!!”

Another activist wrote:

“Yes, little girls with long eyelashes can create a hell for boys, men. A little crying and teeth-gnashing always helps girls, damn these pathetic people, am throwing up”.

If you are sexually assaulted by an illegal migrant in Sweden it is hard to say “Me too”: there are many activists and supporters of migrants who will accuse the victim of lying — even when the victim is only 14-years-old and needs all the support she can get.

That Swedish media conceal sexual assaults by migrants is not exactly a secret; it has happened quite a few times. I have written about leading Swedish newspapers that have refused to report on sexual assaults by migrants until alternative media outlets have forced those papers to write about them.

Two things are clear: The first is that the issue of sexual assault has, for a long time, been politicized in Sweden. The second is that when the context of a sexual assault is “politically incorrect” and not compatible with the official establishment’s narrative about migration and migrants, the #MeToo Movement in Sweden will often exclude it.

Sweden has let in a huge wave of young male migrants, many of whom have unfortunately created an insecure environment for women; when these women have cried for help and tried to share their stories, the Swedish media and politicians have refused to listen.

The media in Sweden have never given Swedish women an opportunity to tell how the European migrant crisis, which began in 2015, has affected their day-to-day lives. It should not matter what ethnicity or background the perpetrator has — but in Sweden, it does matter.

The main narrative of official Sweden declares that all migration enriches Sweden.

Another part of this official narrative is that Sweden is filled with racists. Oddly enough, a lot of migrants seem to want to come to Sweden despite the fact that Sweden, according to this narrative, is a country filled with racists.

Considering this narrative, it is no surprise that a female member from the conservative Sweden Democrats party was not allowed to speak about her own experience of rape, at a “Me Too” event in Uppsala, merely because of her conservative party association. The organizer of the protest gave the following explanation:

“As a Sweden Democrat, she stands to some extent for opinions that go against the values for which we organized this event and we chose to take her away from the speaker list. I hope that she gets to tell her story but in another forum.”

It is obvious that the #MeToo Movement in Sweden has become something other than a campaign where women support one another. It has effectively become a platform for radical feminists in Sweden. For instance, Linnéa Claesson, a columnist at the newspaper Aftonbladet, writes that after the #MeToo debate, all men should call themselves feminists to show that they see men and women as equals.

That this movement has gained in popularity with Swedes is not a surprise. Sweden is, after all, a country where rapists often get away with their crimes. In September 2017, the Swedish media reported that the police have no time to investigate rape cases because of the many murders. The reports mentioned a case concerning a 12-year-old girl who was raped in the municipality of Stenungsund. After six weeks, the police had made no progress in the case, despite having the name of the person suspected of raping her. There are many similar cases in Sweden; women have a right to feel a deep injustice.

The main problem with the #MeToo Movement is that instead of relying on the rule of law, people start relying on the rule of social media. The number of “likes” or retweets is what decides whose experiences of sexual assault are recognized and noticed. If you have not been harassed or assaulted by a celebrity, nothing happens. If you were sexually assaulted by a nobody, nobody cares.

In Sweden, you get no support if you have been raped by a migrant, as many examples illustrate.

Women who are sexually assaulted need justice. The proper authorities need to investigate the alleged crimes. But there are too few police officers in Sweden to create safety for women. Social media cannot, of course, replace the rule of law.

Those who celebrate the #MeToo Movement, as the cover of Time magazine did recently, would do well to acknowledge that the movement seems to be conforming to different national contexts. In the Swedish context, sexual assault and harassment are politicized and subordinated to an official, politically correct narrative. Accordingly, women who are assaulted by migrants cannot say “Me too” — despite the huge support in Sweden for the #MeToo Movement.

 

Greeks Go On Strike To Be Allowed To Strike

According to the market, the situation in Greece has staged a tremendous recovery. So much so, in fact, that Greek 2Y bonds are now trading inside US 2Y Treasurys. Yes, according to the market, Greece is now a safer credit than the US.

 

sdf

And yet, a quick peek inside the actual Greek economy, reveals that nothing has been fixed. In fact, one can argue that things are now worse than they were when Greece defaulted (for the first time),

According to statistics from IAPR, unpaid taxes in Greece currently make up more than 55% of the country’s GDP due to – well – the inability of people to pay the rising taxes. Overdue debt to the state has reached nearly €100 billion with only €15 billion possible to be returned to the government’s coffers, as most are due to bankrupt businesses and deceased individuals.

The Greek tax authorities seized pensions, salaries, and assets of more than 180,000 taxpayers in 2017, meanwhile bad debt to the state treasury continue to grow. The Independent Authority for Public Revenue confiscated nearly €4 billion in the first 10 months of this year with forced measures to be reportedly taken against 1.7 million defaulters in 2018.

Bad debt owed to the state in Greece has been growing at €1 billion a month since 2014, and nearly 4.17 million taxpayers currently owe money to the country, which means that every second Greek is directly indebted.

* * *

Demonstrating the full extent of the economic mess, a recent report from Kathimerini revealed  that Greek lenders are proposing huge haircuts, as high as 90%, for borrowers with debts from consumer loans, credit cards or small business loans without collateral.

In the context of the sale of a 2.5-billion-euro bad-loan portfolio named Venus, Alpha Bank is using the incentive of major haircuts in letters it has sent to some 156,000 debtors. The fact that this concerns some 240,000 bad loans means that some debtors may have two or three overdue loans.

Another major local lender, Eurobank, is employing the same strategy for a set of loans adding up to 350 million euros. Most of them range between 5,000 and 7,000 euros each and have been overdue for over a decade. Yes, most Greek are unable to repay a few thousands euros and would rather default.

This means that the banks are expecting to collect a small amount of those debts, coming to 250 million euros for Alpha and 35 million for Eurobank – whopping 90% haircuts – accepting that the rest of the debt is uncollectible.

* * *

But for the most accurate representation of real state of affairs, we go to Reuters which reports that Greek subway workers, dockers and state-employed doctors plan to strike on Friday in the country’s first major industrial action of 2018, to protest a new law that will restrict their right to walk off the job.

That’s right, Greeks are going on strike to be allowed to strike.

On Jan. 15, parliament is expected to vote through the contentious reform, which would tighten rules on declaring work stoppages, or labor strikes, a condition set by creditors who have loaned Greece billions since 2010. At present, Greek unions can call strikes with the support of one third of their members. The new law would raise that requirement to 50 percent, which creditors hope would limit the frequency of strikes and improve productivity that lags about 20 percent behind the EU average, according to OECD data.

Don’t laugh, but strikes are so common in Greece that there is a website dedicated to them.

According to Reuters, Friday’s stoppage is being backed by several unions, including GSEE, the largest private-sector one. “It is essentially scrapping the only weapon workers have left to protect themselves, particularly after collective working agreements were shelved,” said GSEE spokesman Dimitris Karageorgopoulos.

Stavros Kafounis, head of the Commercial Association of Athens, which represents retailers, said strikes amplified the country’s economic problems.

“Every time there is labour action in public transport it shuts businesses down, adding to already slow business,” he said.

A majority of lawmakers are expected to vote in favor of the bill, which will be the latest bitter pill to swallow for a government dominated by the leftist Syriza movement, which swept to power in 2015 promising to end austerity, only to accept another, deeper and more humiliating bailout just months later.

Despite the Greek people’s protest against depriving them of their constitutional right to strike, Greece needs to pass the regulation and a raft of other measures for lenders to sign off on a review of progress in its bailout programme, which the country hopes to exit this summer. Otherwise all those greater fools who have been buying Greek 2Y bonds on hopes the country will soon be eligible for the ECB’s QE will end up nursing massive losses.

And as if the Greeks weren’t angry enough already, Monday’s parliamentary bill also seeks to introduce electronic auctions that could facilitate foreclosures to wrestle down a mountain of toxic debts weighing on the country’s banks, rationalise spending on state benefits, set targets for selling off assets of power utility PPC, and regulations on the operation of casinos.

In other words, with the click of a button one would get a foreclosure notice for a late mortgage payment.

* * *

At the end of the day, of course, it’s all for nothing: one union leader said that, regardless of new legislation, workers would continue to strike.

“If they don’t like it let them fire us… or arrest us,” said Spyros Revithis, head of a public transport workers’ union that staged 15 strikes in 2017. “This government is a Trojan Horse of neo-liberalism on labour rights.”

We couldn’t have said it better.