Another event makes one doubt whether it is worth it for foreigners to live in Sweden. A fire broke out in a block of flats and six people died, a mother and her five daughters.(English link!) Heartwrenching, isn't it? What makes it extra sad and scary is that according to witness reports there was an unusual delay before the emergency services arrive, a delay which may have cost the victims their lives. Why, you ask?
The fire occurred in Rinkeby, a Stockholm suburb with a majority immigrant population. This is not the first time something like this happens. When the fire of Gothenburg broke out almost eleven years ago, emergency service took 15-20 minutes to arrive at the scene even though the closest station was a five minute walk away. Why? They claimed they couldn't understand the distress calls that were made, because of the broken Swedish that was spoken (despite the fact that the numerous calls made were by foreign children born and raised in Sweden (i.e. speaking very coherent Swedish)).
Alexandra Pascalidou (Swedish), a blogger, writer and a person who actively speaks out against racism, also adds that when she called the emergency services after her mother was the victim of a break-in in the aforementioned Rinkeby, she was put on hold for half an hour and no rescue ever showed up. What to do? If this is how the emergency services behave, what hope does the average Abdul Mohammed have?
And just this weekend I encountered my first ever verbal racist assault. Is it any wonder I look forward to leaving soon?