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Thread: Malm, Sweden: The Police Has to Work Three Shifts Overtime to Keep the Peace in Rosengrd

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    Malm, Sweden: The Police Has to Work Three Shifts Overtime to Keep the Peace in Rosengrd

    MALM. For two months the police have been working around the clock patrolling Herrgrden, the area of Rosengrd most afflicted by arson and attacks on firefighters and policemen.

    If we dont stop immigration to Malm, weve only seen the beginning of this, says researcher Aje Carlbom.

    On the 7th of May there was another fire in Rosengrd. A warehouse that the fire brigade had doused the same night was ablaze again twelve hours later.

    It was no old embers that were smouldering, said a resigned firefighter. Someones used lots of lighter fluid to rekindle this fire.

    Behind the warehouse another firefighter stood on a ladder quenching the fire with a water hose. A bit further away a group of twenty or so youths were standing. A boy of around 13 years of age pulled out a stone from his pocket. He was dressed in a grey cap and a red jacket. He looked around, moved a bit behind the others and threw the stone at the firefighter. The boy missed, hitting the tin roof with a ringing sound right next to the firefighters head. Those who watched the boy during these events saw him turn away, instantly pulling off his cap stuffing it, into his pocket, and showing up in another place among the youths, only now without his jacket.

    The police have not been able to arrest anyone, either for the arson or for the attacks on the police and the firefighters after the riots in Rosengrd that peaked just before Christmas.

    No, its a hopeless task, says Brje Aronsson, chief of police in Rosengrd. The guilty know their hoods well. They can vanish into a cellar and appear in a doorway down the street in different clothes. Or hide among other youths. If we catch someone we think is guilty, proving something to the satisfaction of a court is very difficult. Many are also too young to be sentenced.
    - - - - - - - - -
    The warehouse fire on the 7th of May was the 250th that the Jgersro fire brigade has fought this year in Rosengrd. 180 of the fires were classified as arson, of which 42 were in buildings and 138 elsewhere, such as in waste bins.

    But ever since the boy in the red jacket threw his stone nobody has attacked firefighters in Rosengrd. Because on that very same day the Police Commissioner in Malm decided to upgrade Herrgrden to special event status, That means police from the whole of Skne [the Swedish province of which Malm is the major city] are called in to patrol Herrgrden around the clock, on foot, from cars, and on horseback.

    Ever since, we havent had a single instance of violence or threats against my personnel, says Attila Jensen, chief of the Jgersro fire brigade.

    Three weeks before the police initiated their campaign, Attila Jensen decided about an equally exceptional measure at the fire brigade headquarters.

    We decided not to go on alarms from Rosengrd, unless it was fires with a clear risk of spreading. My firefighters simply had enough of threats and violence.

    The straw that broke the camels back came on April 7th.

    We were dousing burning waste containers in Rosengrd. Suddenly one of the firefighters discovered that someone had cut gashes in the water hose. That was a sharp line that we felt had been crossed, but you almost have to be a firefighter to understand why.

    Our entire professional role is to do good and help people in distress. To meet with threats and violence is as arduous a psychic burden as the physical threat. After that event all the firefighters have been to a psychology seminar about threats and violence. I hope the seminar makes our personnel feel better when they go home from work.

    In the fire station kitchen, seven firefighters are gathered around the coffee table when Dagens Nyheter visits the station. A depressed feeling spreads around the table when Rosengrd is brought up.

    Has none of you felt the urge to turn the hose on the miscreants?

    At first the firefighters dont respond, sitting and watching each other. Then they erupt in laughter, as if caught out.

    If one of us had been hurt we probably would. But you never have the time to see whos throwing. The kids are very nice when you talk to them. Then you turn your back and suddenly the hose is slashed.

    One of the 40 firefighters serving has had enough.

    Ive asked for a transfer, says Jrgen Sderlund. I like it here, but Im fed up with Rosengrd. Going out to put out four containers a day and being met with that attitude.

    Its been quiet for two months now, but the moment the police are withdrawn, itll start again. Im sure of it.

    Theres a police station in Rosengrd. But the special police command for Herrgrden is situated at the Shell gas station that was attacked during the riots last Christmas. There is a tree, four or five patrol cars here, and a huge RV in the middle. Eight depressed policemen are sitting inside when Dagens Nyheter knocks on the door. Another two are on the way in. Theyve been assigned from Kristianstad, Laholm and Helsingborg [cities in Skne], because the Malm force is unable to man this station alone.

    Do you feel you do something important here?

    A long silence.

    Well, perhaps you should answer, one policeman finally says to another, and jokes about the politically correct answer they should be giving. Because nobody in the big RV thinks theyre doing anything of importance with this around-the-clock assignment.

    If you speak with the public here in Herrgrden, they think we do an important thing, says Anna who serves under the local Rosengrd police command. They hardly dared to leave their apartments before. But the problems that are here, those were only pushing ahead of us.

    After a while the seven female and three male policemen start talking. They prefer not to be named in the paper.

    This massive police presence has had some effect, but where are the rest of the social institutions? asks a police officer from Helsingborg. This campaign costs many millions. And how much does it help if the schools, the social services and the parents are not engaged?

    Is the assignment counter-productive?

    Perhaps thats going too far, but Ive been thinking the thought. If you look a certain way youll get stopped for a police check. If someone is checked 17 times in a row, thats not very much fun for him. And then our presence could very well be counter-productive. The anger grows instead of lessening. When you ask the guys in Rosengrd why they throw stones at the police, the answer is always the same:

    The police bully us, they persecute us, they hit us.

    Often, theyll tell you a story of some friend whos been in trouble with us.

    Theyre not exactly boy scouts, the guys we check on, says Anna. Its not like we can say stop throwing stones and well stop checking on you.

    On their way through Herrgrden the first police patrol for the evening meets three men from Iraq.

    We are so grateful you are here, they tell us, showering the police with praise. We hope youll go on having many police here.

    Dagens Nyheter is welcome to photograph the men, but when asked for names, they become worried.

    We have children, and these guys, those who are making trouble, are dangerous. We dont dare to give you our names.

    Shouldnt you adults help with keeping order around here?

    We dont dare. But every time theres a fire in Herrgrden it pains me here, says one of the men and presses his right hand to his heart.

    Outside the local grocery shop, as always, the youths gather as evening falls. Two of the female police try to talk to them. Its not going very well.

    The police arent popular. And the two policemen who are checking two cars and their criminal owners right next to the spot dont help. The youths see it as another proof of police persecution. The policewomen have trouble sounding genuinely friendly when theyre called f***ing whore and f***ing c**t as soon as they turn their backs. Theyve been here enough to understand it, even in Arabic.

    At midnight Fia from Kristianstad goes a last round with two colleagues through the area.

    A group of youths are sitting at a playground and Fia sits down and tries to talk with a young man.

    I want restitution, he says. I want redress from those who called us monkey devils. [during the Rosengrd riots, mass media made a big story out of the fact that a policemen called the protestors apadjvlar, or monkey devils.]

    I can understand that, says Fia. But it wasnt I who said that. I would never say such a thing.

    Just as Fia and the young man seem to be establishing some sort of understanding, a tough guy comes and sits down between them. Hes angry with Fia because he lost his driving license while waiting for a drug test.

    I wasnt using, and I still lost my drivers license. Typical police bullying.

    Fia tries to explain that thats what the law says, and that the law applies to everybody. Then another young man jumps in, eager to inflame the situation. He wants to stop Dagens Nyheter from taking pictures, and he wants everyone who hates the police to raise their hands. But this warm evening the youths dont feel like pushing any further.

    Some nights later the tough guys won out. 15-30 youths attacked a patrol car with stones, a windshield was broken, and a container was set on fire. That was on Wednesday night.

    This contest in machismo, in manliness, is one of the causes of riots in Rosengrd, says Aje Carlbom. Hes a social anthropologist at the Malm College and lived in Rosengrd for three years to write his PhD thesis.

    A forgotten cause of the vandalism is the complex combination of culture and manliness in Rosengrd. The boys are in a situation where different interests try to compete for their ideal of manhood. To show aggressiveness, courage, and to fight the man is a way to show that you are a enough of a man, belonging with the other men.

    Many families want their boys to adapt to the norms of patriarchy and become authorities that provide for and decide over women and children. Moslem congregations want them to adapt to religious norms. Criminal gangs offer fast cash. Finally the school and social services want to impart Swedish values about gender equality to the boys.

    Aje Carlbom thinks the Swedish values come dead last in the competition for the attention of the boys.

    The Swedish norms offer a very fussy image of what an admirable man is or should be.

    What happens when society cant live up to the expectations of these guys?

    They see society as weak. Firefighters arent allowed to turn their hoses on stone throwers, but perhaps they should do so anyway. As an experiment. These boys need to face stiffer opposition.


    Show more seriousness. The boys meet no consequences for their acts today. Even youths should be arrested in order to show clearly where the limits are. Schools should employ zero tolerance concerning, for instance, insults to girls.

    If you seek acceptance for a multicultural, diverse society among the broad masses, you have to show that you are on top of the situation. Unless you do that, there will be an uprising against multiculturalism.

    Most people think these riots are caused by exclusion, unemployment and poverty?

    I have a very hard time seeing that connection. There are many unemployed but a vanishing minority that goes out throwing stones. I dont know how much the Intifada and the uprising in Gaza inspires the stone throwers. Unfortunately, nobodys done any research on the subject.


    Many think the subject is too sensitive to research. In Sweden, many people show a immense tolerance toward the intolerance of the immigrants, but no tolerance at all for native Swedish intolerance. One can be tolerated, not the other. It is strange.

    How can the problems be solved?

    The more immigrants that come to Malm, the larger the market for various ethnic products and extreme interpretations of Islam. It becomes ever easier to live as back home even if you live in Sweden.

    Segregation must be broken. The only way to do so is to stop the further inflow of immigrants to Malm. But nobody in our political system supports that. What we see now is just the beginning. It will become worse.

    Ole Rothenborg
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