Fuk Suecia - is segregation a language issue?
In the radio documentary Jävla Vitskallar! from 2002 (Radio Sweden), we meet Swedes who have emigrated to Fuengirola in Southern Spain. The documentary is in Swedish, but here is what it is about:
A group of immigrant youth is hanging around the Swedish school, El Colegio Sueco. Some 250 pupils attend this school, many of them with insufficient grades in both Spanish and Swedish. Hardly anyone knows Spanish well enough to qualify for a Spanish university.
Thousands of people leave Sweden every year to start a new life as immigrants in Spain. In 2002, when this documentary was made, many of them settled in Fuengirola, where there are Swedish quarters with Swedish churches, restaurants, supermarkets, healthcare, dentists and a Swedish support group for alcoholics.
“When I lived in Sweden I was very extremely frustrated about immigrants who didn’t learn any Swedish. Now I’m exactly the same, I don’t speak a word Spanish”. These are the words of one of the 25 000 Swedes living in Costa del Sol.
Youth with Swedish background often ends up in trouble with Spanish youth. “They call us rubios” the young Swedes explain, and continue to complain about the poor spelling on the wall of the Swedish school: “Fuk Suecia”. The only Spaniards that are “normal” in their view are the skaters, rappers and graffiti artists.
The complaints that the natives have about the Swedes sound so familiar:
“The Swedes rob us. If they rob us, we rob them”.
“If they want to go to Swedish schools, move back to Sweden! This is Spain, here you have to go to Spanish schools”.
The documentary is made by Daniel Velasco and was threefold awarded in 2003. With the anti-immigration movements growing stronger, this documentary seems more relevant today than ever.
Some of the Swedes who were interviewed have since moved back to Sweden. One of them uses this documentary in a project to fight segregation.
All this makes me wonder: What is it that makes it so hard to stop thinking in terms of “us and them”? Is the key to integration simply to learn the language? Any thoughts?