Sour Swedes

I am the victim of a hate campaign from an otherwise peace-loving nation. It is not a nice experience. I am being inundated with emails, comments and facebook messages from extremely angry Swedes. The reason for their anger? An article I wrote for the Daily Mail in 2006 on the eve of Sweden’s world-cup football match with England where I was rude about my former home country.

These Swedes have clearly failed to understand the first rule of journalism: simplify and exaggerate. Of course I don’t find Sweden as boring as I wrote, if I did why on earth would I go back there for the summer whenever I can? Why do I go to IKEA every weekend? Why do I make the effort to speak Swedish to my children. But for the purposes of the piece, I wrote about the negative aspects of the country. And it is true that I would never consider living there again. In part because it is so boring, but mainly because it is too bloody cold.

I have been shocked by some of the emails. Offensive, abusive and, worst of all, terribly badly written. Most of them are rants about how horrible England is and how I belong there and never deserve to set foot in glorious Sweden again. And then more abuse about me. How I am certainly not Swedish as I am so unpatriotic not to mention boilingly ugly. And how COULD I be so disloyal?

I sent a few to my mother (who is 100 per cent Swedish). She told me to ignore it, or better still, write another article about them.

Anyway to any Swedes reading this whom I have inadvertently upset: I am sorry. I love many things about Sweden and I may have been a bit harsh in my article. But at least it got your patriotic juices flowing and gave you all something to complain about apart from taxes and the snow.

Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2010

10 thoughts on “Sour Swedes

  1. Have they only just got round to reading a 2006 article? If so, it must be because they are all sitting at home trapped by the huge mountains of snow we have been hearing about, that prevent them from being good working Swedes.
    I had to laugh…

  2. Greetings from a sour swede :-), I am so sorry cuz, that our fellow country-men are such sour-pusses I think the weather plays a big part, and remember they have had the toughest winter this year in a 100 years, I am eternally grateful that I have got a chance to miss out on that one. One has to sympathize, now they are worried about ice falling of buildings, roofs caving in because of the weight of wet snow and astronomical heat-bills because of record-cold winter. Puss Erika

  3. Tack Erika – sill thing is I love many things about Sweden, but that does not make a good Daily Mail article. Hope all is going well in HK.
    Hej hej xxx

    PS Jacques – very funny!

  4. Must tell you something funny: when I went to leave a reply a minute ago on another post of yours, the Anti-spam word I was required to type was IKEA!!!!!!!

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  6. I’ve read the article and I have to say that it is obvious that you lived in the northern part of Sweden. If you bothered to report the truth, you would tell them that the climate differences are large between the northern part (where you lived) and the southern part (where most people live). I usually have about 3 months of snow.

    It’s not really fair to judge Sweden based on the northern part of the country, being a swede, you should know that.

    And if you compare suicide-rates between sweden and other countries, they aren’t really that high. On average, 18.1 men and 8.3 women per 100 000 commit suicide in Sweden, while 17.7 men and 5.4 women of every 100 000 commit suicide in the UK

    That sweden have exceptionally high suicide-rates is just an old rumor without any real basis.

    People here try to be rational and do not believe in a magical man in the sky that will give them eternal life (greedy mortals) This is a propable reason why people are more depressed. Ignorance is bliss after all.

    You’ve got to expect some hate-mail when you spread disinformation just so you can write a good article. It’s common knowledge that Sweden is one of the least patriotic countries in the world. Yet you say we are fed propaganda promoting our country, and while you are doing this you are spreading disinformation, it seems very hypocritical.

    I’m not some grumpy old man that lives in a valley that the sun never reaches (where you seemed to live, lol). Be fair and honest and people will be fair and honest to you.

    There are probably some typos in there.


  7. Thanks Joakim, I’m not alone in thinking that we are in our rights to feel trampled on. But I always knew a journalist will walk over dead bodies to write something spectacular.

    mrs Maria Grey

  8. Hi Jacques!
    We don’t usually read The Daily Mail in Sweden (smart ass).
    I’ve got no clue to why the article showed up here so many years after it was writen. I read it yesterday, because my daughter brought it home from english class. Don’t really know the purpose of why they were given it.

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