Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of King Karl XII of Sweden. He died in 1718 in Norway from a shot to the head. Controversy surrounds the shooting, was it a Norwegian bullet, or was it, in fact, a Swedish one who felled the King? Doesn’t really matter to the people who celebrate his death, who see him as a hero who fought for Sweden.
He is celebrated because of his wartime victories and having ruled Sweden from Lund, which is in southern Sweden and part of Skåne. Skåne of course, was part of Denmark for quite a while so this was a big deal. During his rule Karl XII was known for his battles against the Russians, the Poles, and of course the Danes.
So there you have a quick background on the good King. Here is what bothers me. The people who celebrate this King tend to be nationalists. And for some reason, with nationalists you get neo-nazis. This year’s celebrations were only marred by a few arrests as opposed to the violence that apparently tends to accompany these celebrations. It’s disgusting. It seems as if these people take pride too far and you end up with some good old fashioned jingoism spilling over into racism. And that’s just no good for anyone.
What’s worse is that this becomes a stereotype of anyone who decides to fly a flag or be patriotic. This happens both in the US and Sweden. In fact, earlier this year a group of young boys decided to wear Swedish soccer jerseys in their school picture. Show a little national pride; show their support of the sport they love. No big deal right. Nope. The principal refused to allow them to be in the picture dressed that way because it was seen as xenophobic. Incredibly, the principal had no opinion on the racism shown by the actual soccer team that wears those jerseys for every international game. The reason given was some nonsense that the Swedish flag and jersey would could insult or offend those who are not of Swedish descent. Seriously.
Being proud of your country is frowned upon. Because there are immigrants here. Most of who have chosen to move to this country. Which would suggest they want to be here. And by making that choice you would think they might have pride in their new country. And I would imagine that quite a few of them do. But in an effort to make everything as non-confrontational as possible people go too far. Ridiculous.
I’d be willing to bet that the majority of people who moved to this country are excited to be here, proud to be here, and probably support Sweden in all sorts of sports. As long as they aren’t playing their home country. They probably don’t see a Swedish jersey as xenophobic. Maybe some do, but I have a hard time believing that the majority of people who move to a country would be disgusted by something as simple as civic pride. And apparently it was the poet John Lydgate who said something along the lines of “You can please all of the people some of the time, you can please some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Wise words indeed. There will always be a few people who are pissed about something. Doesn’t mean that the rest should suffer. Political correctness can go too far.
Maybe that is exactly why nationalism is so often adopted by the neo-nazis. They see people like this principal prohibiting students from showing pride in Sweden and decide that nationalism is a cause that they will support. Which is too bad. Because in doing so they weaken the very cause they purport to support (look at the rhyming right there. Poetic.). Silly nazis, clearly they are just misunderstood.
Most people have a hard time supporting anything with neo-nazi ties. As they should. A famous painting in Sweden shows Thor throwing his hammer in a battle against evil. On Thor’s belt is a swastika. The painting was painted well before the rise of the nazis and is meant as an ancient symbol of luck. The painting is amazing. Unfortunately, the neo-nazis have adopted it as some sort of battle cry. Again, they have bastardized something that many Swedes would be proud of and turned it into something instilled with attitudes of hate.
It’s amazing that a group of people blatantly broadcasting their hate for others can ruin something so simple as being proud of your homeland.