Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit 1 Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (3 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats   1 comment

OpEdNews Op Eds

Sweden and its dark side, Stieg Larsson, and Hollywood's 'The girl with the dragon tattoo'

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Become a Fan
  (8 fans)


Stockholm, Sverige by DoctorWho


 

Sweden and its dark side, Stieg Larsson, and Hollywood's 'The girl with the dragon tattoo'
By Ritt Goldstein


Dateline Dalarna, Sweden - The film's US opening was December 20th, with a Reuters review of David Fincher's too-real thriller titled, "Dragon Tattoo" film paints Sweden in darkest shades.  But, the sad fact is that there's a very uncomfortable amount of truth in Stieg Larsson's fiction.

Larsson's riveting story of moral wasteland and Nazi heritage, the courageous investigative journalist and troubled feminine genius that rise above it, does depict a number of real-life issues Sweden is yet struggling to hide, especially it seems from itself.

Dragon tattoo's heroine, Lisbeth Salander, is brutally bound and raped at one point by the man placed as legal guardian over her, Larsson providing comment upon the disturbing reality here of those that have been found to use their official position to ruthlessly prey upon the vulnerable. In example, about a year ago the former police chief of Uppsala County, a major city area in Central Sweden, was sentenced to six years imprisonment for a string of serious sex crimes.

According to an English language article in Sweden's The Local, Ex-police chief given lighter sentence, the court found the former chief guilty of "aggravated rape, rape, assault, pimping, buying sex and attempting to buy sex."   The article noted that the crimes included the rape of a seventeen year old girl, with the court determining that the "girl spent much of the rape tied up", paralleling Salander's being bound and raped.



This story, as with many that The Local prints, was also pursued widely in regular Swedish language media.   But, much of the nation's darker side just doesn't make it into the major english-language press, and -- to my thinking -- not every 'rape' here need involve sex.  

Glaringly highlighting the dichotomy between the nature of the 'ex-Chief's' official position and the reality of what he ruthlessly pursued, the fellow headed Sweden's National Police Academy between 1989 and 1997, was one of the Swedish Police's leading authorities on morals and ethics, and remarkably, a nationally well-known lecturer on issues such as sexual harassment and feminine equality.     

Recent other scandals include: a senior charity official having been convicted of defrauding the Swedish Red Cross and the Swedish Cancer Society, over a million dollars said to have been involved; city officials in Gothenburg's building and housing sector facing assorted corruption charges; government acknowledgement and the promise of $38,000 each to what is estimated as thousands of children that were badly abused in foster care, and, the list goes on.  The common thread running through the scandals is an abuse of power by those placed in authority by this society, and worse still, long term neglect and/or tolerance of abuses by those charged with preventing them.

As I said, not every 'rape' here need involve sex.

In Larsson's two subsequent works, The Girl Who Played with the Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, Larsson addresses the issues of Salander's violent abuse as a child at the hands of the Swedish System's bureaucracy, portraying elements of the bureaucracy with a tolerance of, and complicity in, the worst kinds of criminal activity.  This is not to say that Larsson implies the majority of those in the Swedish bureacracy act in a monstrous manner, as that certainly isn't the case, but -- in this journalist's opinion based upon what I have personally witnessed -- too many do, and too often they are not stopped.

The dichotomy, between the 'proper and noble' image versus a 'shameless and brutal' reality, is highlighted by Larsson again and again.

Repeatedly, the actual fact of Steig Larsson's 'dark Sweden' has been seen in Swedish news accounts, including those relating to the country's Nazi heritage.  Just this past August, a Swedish book was published that claims Ikea founder and philanthropist Ingvar Kamprad was "active in recruiting to Sweden's main war-time Nazi movement the National Socialist Workers' Party (Svensk Socialistisk Samling - SSS)", according to The Local and the Swedish News Agency TT.  

"It confirms only one thing -- that Ingvar time after time has told about the biggest mistake of his life and apologised to all involved 20 years ago", the article noted a Kamprad spokesman observing.   But today, while all of the Nordic countries have far-right parties in their parliaments, it is only Sweden's party, the Sweden Democrats, that has neo-Nazi roots.  

Perhaps more troubling still, following the Norwegian mass-murder rampage of far right Islamophobe Anders Behring Breivik, the Swedish daily Expressen revealed that it's believed Breivik had lived in Sweden and acquired a substantive portion of his political beliefs here.   A Swedish hamburger chain even made international headlines some months ago when parents found their young son had received a swastika tattoo with his child meal, and, just days ago, neo-Nazis marched past the Jewish community's headquarters, decrying a so-called 'Jewish conspiracy'.       

Contrary to its progressive image, Sweden also founded the world's first 'racial biology' institute in 1922, the Statens institut for rasbiologi (SIFR), with the SIFR subsequently associated with the forced sterilization of 63,000 in a program that only ended in the mid-1970s.   According to a Swedish government 2005 report upon the country's "structural discrimination", Det blagula glashuset  (The blue/gold glass house), in some areas Roma were sterilized simply for being Roma.   But, the report also notes how strong 'structural discrimination' still exists in Sweden , with immigrants, the indigenous people (Sami), and all others not seen as 'typical Swedes' being subjected to it.  

Next Page  1  |  2

 

I am an American investigative political journalist living in Sweden, and have lived in Sweden since July 1997. My work has appeared fairly widely, including in America's Christian Science Monitor, Spain's El Mundo, Sweden's Aftonbladet, Austria's (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Occupy Evictions: Has War Been Declared?

Occupy Facing 'Cloaked' Counterattacks

Sweden and its dark side, Stieg Larsson, and Hollywood's 'The girl with the dragon tattoo'

Occupy Wall Street and the 'Crime' of Non-violent Dissent

Sandy, Toxic Mold, and (at last) a theory potentially explaining 'Sick Building Syndrome'

New York City Subways: Do you believe in Magic?

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)
In an increasingly Orwellian world, little is at o... by Ritt Goldstein on Monday, Dec 26, 2011 at 6:54:13 AM