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