As right-wing opportunists attempt to back up Trump’s false claims about the country, Sweden’s official social media channel goes on the offensive
It’s become a common theme tactic used by the right-wing – invent terrorist attacks. Kellyanne Conway did it with aplomb when she referenced the “Bowling Green Massacre” supposedly carried out by two Iraqi ‘masterminds’. However, it didn’t happen. In a rally held by Donald Trump on Saturday (yeah, he’s still campaigning) he told the crowds, “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.” The problem? Nothing happened on February 17 in Sweden. FAKE NEWS! SAD!
Despite it being pretty simple to ascertain whether or not something happened in Sweden, right-wing politicians and vloggers (ugh) have taken used the moment as a springboard to talk about Sweden, a country they’ve likely never visited and probably know absolutely nothing about.
Career opportunist Nigel Farage went on the radio to lie.
Paul Joseph Watson, a highly popular and bigoted YouTuber began bizarrely offering press trips for people to go and stay in Malmö to see if they’d survive, even at one point linking to a video of fireworks going off in the street. It was footage taken from New Year’s Eve, that event where fireworks commonly happen.
Any journalist claiming Sweden is safe; I will pay for travel costs & accommodation for you to stay in crime ridden migrant suburbs of Malmo— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) February 20, 2017
But help has come from straight from the frontline in the shape of Sweden’s official Twitter account, run by a man known simply as “Max”. He’s been valiantly tweeting a mixture of facts to counter the falsehoods, and jokes to fight the fascism.
We DMd “Max” to gauge the mood in Sweden and find out what people in the country think of Donald Trump. “He is seen as quite unprofessional, unfit for the task at hand – but still fairly elected,” says Max. “We still think of him like the D-list celebrity he truly is. The claim about Malmö is nothing new, and has been debunked several times!”
The rhetoric being pushed by the Trumps, Watsons and Farages of this world is that Sweden is a warzone, a chaotic country made uninhabitable and unsafe by an influx of refugees. What would Max say to anyone visiting the country?
“I would tell them they’re welcome to witness the ups and downs with this country, as we as any country face challenges. But we’re incredibly well off in an international comparison, and have the right resources to be heading in the right direction. The people spreading hate have their own agenda. Even if we try to prove them wrong, they’ll find a new angle or a new country to use as an example. That’s how disinformation and disrupting works. So the most important thing I think is to not let them say it without being countered, even though my hopes of changing their minds are minimal.”