Wed, May 29, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Swedish riots spark surprise and anger

Inequality is rising, but the spread of youth disorder and resentment of authority has shaken ethnic Swedes and older immigrants

By Richard Orange  /  The Guardian

Kista, only 20 minutes’ walk away, is Sweden’s Silicon Valley, with more than 20,000 people working in information-technology, but Sakala says most Husby people can work only in Kista’s giant shopping center.

“Many people living in the area are not qualified for IT jobs,” he says.

More than a quarter of Husby’s adult population has only GCSE-equivalent education, taken by 16-year-olds, compared with a tenth for Stockholm as a whole, and only a third have any further education.

However, Esmail Jamshidi, a 23-year-old medical student born and educated in Husby, says young people do not lack opportunities.

“It’s a very recent development, this ghetto mentality,” he says. “Immigrants come here, and most leave after a decade or two. A very small percentage of them don’t, and this last group are left. And then the next war erupts and another group of people come, and, again, the vast majority make it. What we see now is the kid brothers of those who got stuck here, and now there are so many of them that it’s starting to be a problem.”

The older generation of immigrants seems as puzzled by the anger as Swedes. Ali, the owner of Cafe Unic, a Persian cafe in Husby’s main square, says he tried living in the US, but came back.

“I love this country. I mean it,” he says. “I’m telling my kids every day to remember that you are born here, in Sweden. I love this country because of the way they built it: because of my taxes, and other people’s taxes, everyone has a nice place to live. It’s a very, very nice and good idea.”

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