The Greatest Country In The World
Americans will give anything a standing ovation, and I sometimes see that influence us Swedes in a similar direction. It hasn’t quite reached the ridiculous levels of that vast continent yet, however. Thankfully. I think part of me having some sociopathic traits is just down to being Swedish. It’s part of our national identity to be a bit melancholic and socially cold. But the Fins are even worse.
Imagine this. I had sex with a fin, and I asked her not to tell anyone it was my first time. And she fucking didn’t! Or at least I never found out if she had said that. Which is essentially the same thing. Not only did she not gossip all over the place, but the little she did gossip about were also all nice things! Can it even be called gossip if the gossip is nice and well-intended???? I assume only Finnish gossip works this way. Very few people from social countries work like that. Have you ever met an Italian who didn’t immediately tell you all the most intimate details of their last bang? I didn’t think so. Cheers to the Fins, those psychotic bastards.
I’ve never been terribly nationalistic or patriotic. But with the rise of populism, Sweden has gone from an internationally admired country to one that has been used by far-right powers as a stick with which to beat their opponents into submission. Xenophobic leaders like Farage, Trump, and Orbán have all used Sweden as an example where liberal politics has run amok, allowing immigrants to take over the country and turn it into a hellscape.
It couldn’t be further from the truth. I also doubt it would turn into a hellscape if immigrants did take over the country seeing as they’re also human beings. Although the far right doesn’t exactly believe that to be true. The reason these fuckfaces bash Sweden is the exact same reason I’m incredibly proud to be Swedish. We’re open. We’re kind. We use our wealth to help others.
Sure, we closed down our borders during the worst of the 2015 refugee crisis. Sure, we opened a weapons factory in Saudi Arabia and Swedish grenade launchers from the 80s can be seen in the hands of kids in the Middle East. Sure, we still struggle with integrating our immigrant communities into the rest of society. We haven’t done everything right. But at least we tried to do the right things. We’ve built one of the world’s most expansive welfare states which tries its best to help everyone regardless of income level.
We’re a very white country, but I’m proud of our multiculturalism, our diversity, our friendliness towards LGBTQ-people, our sexual liberty, and our secularism. In the world values survey, we’ve often been the most extreme nation in the world. We’re the least bound by traditions, faith, and religion. We do not give a fuck.
Most countries where they really care about their national day, they care about it because it’s also their Independence Day. Sweden doesn’t have an Independence Day, and thusly, we don’t really give a shit about our national day. Another facet of this is of course that we’re so confused about who we are that the most Swedish thing to do is asking yourself what it means to be Swedish. Numerous TV shows have been made about the subject and we still haven’t really managed to figure it out.
A few years ago, they made the national day a holiday so it could potentially become a bigger event like in Norway, where they can celebrate freeing themselves both from us and the Nazis. One of the last times Sweden was at war was in 1809 when we lost Finland to Russia. Finland then freed themselves from Russia so they can celebrate that. Sweden has never been occupied and hence has never been freed from occupation and thus we don’t have an Independence Day which makes our national day essentially pointless.
Viktor Barth-Kron, at the time a journalist at one of Sweden’s biggest newspapers Dagens Nyheter, captured better than anyone else why our national day is even a holiday at all in a Facebook post on the national day, the sixth of June, in 2016:
“Never forget: Other countries have national day holidays because of wars, revolutions and declarations of independence. We have it because Göran Persson (Prime Minister 1996-2006) saw the chance of a marginal yet undeniably positive effect on GDP during two years every seven-year cycle by getting rid of Whit Monday. That’s the Swedish model.”
One of the most Swedish things is the Jante law, which is an unwritten rule which states that you shouldn’t think too much of yourself. That’s why whenever Sweden’s greatest soccer player of all time, Zlatan Ibrahimović, compares himself to God, we all say that he’s so unswedish and how admirable that is. That’s right, we hate ourselves so much that being “unswedish” is a huge compliment. We’re just impressed when someone dares to be confident and believe in themselves.
The national anthem is called “Ye old, Ye free” and is basically about how Sweden as a country is old and free, and how we all want to die in the Nordic region. Even in our own national anthem, we can’t give ourselves all the glory, we feel compelled to share it with the rest of the Nordic countries, because anything else would just be a bit too selfish. The Jante law strikes again.
I do realize of course that I’m very privileged to have grown up in Sweden. It’s a really nice place. By all logical standards of measurements, it’s one of the greatest countries in the world. No one will ever say it’s the greatest, not a politician, not anyone around a dinner table, not even a husband to his wife. It would be too self-aggrandizing to say it out loud. But we all think it. Because it’s true.
Norway, Denmark, and Finland could give us a run for our money, I guess, but I really think they will always run behind us by some distance. I am of course biased, something which I am sure you have noticed already. In Norway around election time, Sweden is used as a horror example of what happens when you let too many immigrants in.
That’s the exact reason Norway is waaaaay worse than Sweden. The fact that they would be cynical enough to do something like that. It’s the behavior of a bunch of cunts. Sweden is fucking idyllic. Well, not all of it. There are some shit parts. But I grew up in one of the good parts. I grew up among forests, meadows, and lakes, it was like a fucking fairytale. Socially a rather shitty fairytale, but still.
I didn’t come up with the idea of studying abroad until the summer before the last year of high school, which is incredible really. It’s not like I had enjoyed life up until that point so I really should have thought about getting the fuck out way before that. Although, maybe I wasn’t really planning on making it all the way through high school. After all, for all its greatness, had I not left this godforsaken nation, it would have ended up being the death of me.