Headline, June 19 2022/ ''' '' SWEDEN -STUDENTS- SWOONS '' '''


 SWOONS '' '''

SPECIAL SWEDEN : SO BY MOST GREAT MEASURES is one of the greatest of countries in the world. The Global Founder Framers of The World Students Society rise to give Sweden a standing ovation.

The World Students Society, - for every subject in the world, most lovingly and respectfully called !WOW!, is the exclusive ownership of every student from Sweden, just as it is the exclusive ownership of every student in the world.

As with any loving relationship, mine with Sweden is multidimensional and complex. I'm Nigerian American, and I'm a naturalized Swede based in Stockholm. I speak the language, and I'm raising its next generation.

STOCKHOLM - SWEDEN : ON A WARM DAY IN LATE MAY - LIFE WAS humming along, punctuated by fika breaks, with pastries, coffee and conversation, when Sweden found itself thrust into the center of global Twitter storm.

Usually known for its generous social safety nets, latte papas and midsummer frolics, the Scandinavian nation was trending - and not in a good way.

The critical gaze of social media users around the world was suddenly trained on the curious Swedish tradition of not automatically offering food to guests - including children invited over for playdates -while the host family sits down to eat.

It started with a Reddit user who described a memory of being left in a friend's bedroom while the family ate dinner, and it escalated into Swdengate, a hashtag and multilayered takedown of a nation more accustomed to praise than mockery.

AT FIRST, people were humorously outraged that the basic hospitality of asking ''Would you like to join us?'' isn't always expected in Swedish culture. Some indulged in mild schadenfreude over the social media dunking of a country so often idealized.

Many tweeted about how much their cultures insist on overfeeding guests. Swedes joined the conversation to challenge or corroborate the tradition, based on their childhood experiences.

The next wave of the storm began to draw parallels between this seemingly inhospitable tradition and how Swedish society functions in general.

The Gambian Swedish author Lovette Jallow used the hashtag Swedengate hashtag to facilitate raw discussions about what it's like growing up and living as Black person in Sweden, with all its unspoken rules and structural racism. Others pointed to the nation's treatment of the indigenous Sami people 

The final cresting wave brought claims of ingratitude - tweets arguing that foreigners in Sweden should be thankful that they were allowed into the country, with its generous social welfare policies, in the first place. In the backlash, I heard a familiar defensive cry : How dare you criticize me after all I've done for you?

THIS, a moment of lighthearted culture banter created an opening for a bitter, xenophobic backlash. I watched this unfold in realtime with a feeling of inevitability. I had seen this squall coming from a mile away.

The disconnect between Sweden's global image of perfection and its internal problems caused Swedengate to escalate. The metaphor was irresistible : Swedes dining in minimalist rooms of glass while others look on, invited into the house but not given a seat at the table.

The episode of unwanted social media virality exposed the xenophobia that lurks in some quarters of Swedish culture, as well as the country's somewhat surprising cultural fragility.

SWEDEN has invested enormously in its global image and public relations machine. I know this because I've written for the country's official website about all the wonderful virtues that make it a global leader.

As a travel writer and photographer, I document my country's sweeping vistas, iconic cultural  traditions, sustainability mindset and reverent relationship with nature. I even wrote a book about lagom, Sweden's much-vaunted ethos of moderation and avoidance of indebtedness.

But the past few years have been tough on Sweden's international reputation : its widely criticised approach to Covid, its immigration backlash and nativist rhetoric fomented by far-right groups, its internal rifts over the country's decision to join NATO.

The term ''Swedesplaining'' is commonly used in the country by those of us who have observed residents' tendency to explain in condescending detail how Swedish society works to foreigners who have lived in Sweden for decades. But how the country seems to have lost control of its narrative.

So, as the world goes, I was not surprised that some valid criticisms of the country's history were quickly dismissed by Swedes.

At the same time, I understand the Swedish defensiveness.

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Great Countries, Life and Times, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Lola Akinmade Akerstrom, who is the author of ''Lagom : The Swedish Secret of Living Well'' and the novel : ''In Every Mirror She's Black.''

With respectful dedication to the people of Sweden, and then all Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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