Speaking at a rally in Melbourne, Florida, on February 18, President Trump mentioned recent terrorist attacks in Nice, Paris, and Brussels, and then said:
"You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible."
Nothing major had happened the night before in Sweden, except that the country has taken in armies of Muslims, and as a result is descending into social and economic disaster.
The Swedish media might have responded to Trump's comment by addressing their country's immigrant crisis honestly. Instead, they took it as an opportunity to mock Trump. The Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet ran an article in English headlined: "Here's what happened in Sweden Friday night, Mr President." The article included a list of innocuous news items, among them technical problems that had occurred at rehearsals for Swedish Eurovision and the temporary closing of a highway because of lousy weather.
So much for that episode, right? No. Several Swedish photographers decided to drag it out way beyond a single news cycle. The result: a new coffee-table book entitled Last Night in Sweden.
At least one Swedish photography website has applauded this project. This book, the anonymous author wrote, is a "profound and insightful" work that "encapsulates a true and candid Sweden," shows "the country as it really is, from the inside -- in its multiplicity, subtle textures, and political, social and cultural nuance."
Lee Roden of the free Swedish newspaper The Local agreed, claiming that the pictures in the book "combat the hysteria about the country provoked by people like US President Donald Trump." The photographer in charge of the project, Jeppe Wikström, told Roden that people smear Sweden out of jealousy: "We manage to combine diversity with success. We do have high taxes, but we also have a very successful business life." Wilkström admitted that there are some odd things about Swedes: "We take off our shoes before going inside, put money into the right position and make sure it's not so wrinkly before paying at a cash register."
The first copy of Last Night in Sweden, published on September 7, was mailed to Donald Trump. Other copies have been, or will be, sent to "all members of the US Congress and European Parliament" as a way of countering "false news." [This is how they put it] At the end of October, an exhibition of photos from the book will move from Stockholm to the European Parliament in Brussels.
The book contains pictures of an ethnic Swedish man sitting on a snowmobile on a snow-covered icy river; a young guy walking around a gym practicing the tuba; a 94-year old Swedish woman in a retirement home being pushed in her wheelchair by a Somali immigrant; an octogenarian Swedish couple sitting in their home sauna in Lapland; a handicapped Algerian immigrant working out in the gym he founded; a Romani beggar woman kneeling on a city street; an elderly Swedish couple playing in their kitchen with their dog. And so on. In other words, a bunch of images showing immigrants doing things that, in one way or another, enhance life in Sweden, mixed in with a few photos of ethnic Swedes living pretty much the same way they did before the immigration tsunami started.
What won't you see in this book?
You won't see Muslim violence in Sweden's public libraries, which has increased so dramatically in the last couple of years that many librarians are looking for other jobs. You won't see a picture of the three condos in which a newly arrived Syrian immigrant's three wives and sixteen children are being put up at a total cost to Swedish taxpayers of $1.75 million. You won't see a picture of Muslim "morality police" patrolling neighborhoods and controlling women's conduct. You won't see Muslim men cutting in front of Swedish women in queues and then calling them "whores" when they protest.
You won't see a TV news crew from Australia being physically attacked by Muslims for entering a no-go zone. You won't see Muslim girls being beaten by their families for removing their hijab. You won't see Muslims setting cars on fire, and then hurling bottles and stones at the firefighters who show up to put out the blaze.
You won't see a picture of a recent event at which politicians and welfare officials met with residents of Stockholm's Järva neighborhood to address the prevalence of violence, forced marriage, compulsory hijab, and other forms of oppression within Muslim families – only to be told by the locals that they were not interested in conforming to "Swedish values." You won't see a picture of the head of the Swedish security service, Anders Thornberg, who in a TV interview the other day admitted that the number of potential perpetrators of terrorist violence in Sweden had risen immensely in recent years.
You won't see a gang of Muslim youths raping an infidel teenager. You won't see a Syrian refugee raping the fourteen-year-old daughter of the woman who took him into her house out of compassion. You won't see ten men committing a gang rape in August of last year – or their arrest, which finally took place earlier this month because it took that long for the police to fit it into their schedule. They are too busy these days investigating murders to spend much time on rapes.
You won't see convicted Muslim rapists being punished by paying small fines and performing community service for a few days. (When they pay the fine, do they put the money in the right position and make sure it's not so wrinkly?) You won't see a Muslim youth perusing the new booklet put out by the Swedish Ministry of Youth and Civil Affairs, which explains to immigrants that Swedish culture disapproves of rape. You won't see Muslim girls being raped by relatives – a common enough event that goes unreported because the victims know that if they go to the authorities they'll be killed. You won't see a picture of the annual, highly popular Bråvalla summer music festival, which will no longer be held after this year because the number of rapes occurring at the event has gotten out of hand.
Of course, Sweden's current crisis is not an invention of Islamophobic foreigners. It has been acknowledged by Swedish police inspector Lars Alvarsjö, who has warned that the scale of immigrant crime is straining the country's police departments and courts to the breaking point.
It has been acknowledged by Swedish police investigator Peter Springare, who has said that virtually all of the criminals he deals with are Muslims. It has been acknowledged by Malmö police chief Stefan Sinteus, who has said that Muslim immigrants in his city are responsible for an "upward spiral of violence." And of course it has been acknowledged by the recent history of the Sweden Democrats, the only party to speak the truth about these problems, and now enjoys so much voter support that the so-called cordon sanitaire erected around it by the mainstream parties will soon no longer be able to hold.
In recent weeks, Norwegians on social media have been sharing a 1977 video in which Carl I. Hagen, founder of Norway's Progress Party, warned that Sweden, by admitting too many immigrants and giving them special benefits, has started down a long road to self-destruction. He saw it forty years ago, but even now, many Swedes still refuse to see it. One of Sweden's former prime ministers, Fredrik Reinfeldt, pronounced with approval in December 2014 that the future of Sweden belonged not to ethnic Swedes but to immigrants. (Why didn't Wikström and his colleagues erupt in outrage at that remark? Why, instead, get angry at a foreign head of state for actually showing empathy for their plight?)
This is a country in which it was reported on September 9, that a new Muslim political party has filed papers to field candidates in next year's parliamentary elections. The party is called Jasin, which is also the name of the thirty-sixth sura of the Koran. On September 10, seventeen-year-old Fatemeh Khavari, who wears hijab and who recently led a weeks-long sit-in protesting the expulsion of rejected asylum seekers, told a reporter that her goal is to be Sweden's prime minister. And why not? By the time she is old enough, she will be just what they are looking for.
Riot police in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images)
Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.