Thursday, 16 July 2009

Against the Stockholm Programme: Jakop Dalunde in translation

I didn't make it to Humlegården yesterday for the demonstration against the Stockholm Programme. For those that also missed it here is a taste plucked from the Stockholm blogosphere...

A translation of the speech by Jakop Dalunde of the Young Greens (Grön Ungdom Riksorganisationen) from yesterday's demonstration in Humlegården, Stockholm.

"Many before and after me will talk about the Stockholm programme's content, on technicalities and details. That is important, because that is where the devil sits. But we must also raise our eyes and see the broader picture.

The surveillance laws that are now being pushed through not only have direct consequences for privacy, but it also affect how we see each other and society at large. We are gathered here today because we know there are no terrorist threats that justify the extent of repressive measures. We do not accept the problem image of hordes of illegal immigrants who must be hunted down.

But I am sadly afraid that the surveillance lobby's propaganda will affect millions of Europeans' views on terror and migrants, and eventually change our whole society. More and more people will believe that migrants are fundamentally a problem and it is actually a terrorist lurking behind the next corner. An important part of the Stockholm program is cooperation with the U.S. so we can check what the terrorist threat debate had for consequences there.

In Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9 / 11 he travels to a small town in the middle of nowhere and interviewing citizens on the street about how they see the terrorist threat. The interviewees respond that they are afraid, and that they now live differently and look out for what could be suspicious. And when Michael Moore then asks what they think would be the target for terrorist attack in this little town, and an interviewee pointed to the local Wal-Mart store, then it is difficult to know whether to laugh or cry.

An example from a major city, New York. When I was there last spring, it struck me how the terrorist threat embraced their society. Cameras everywhere. In the entrance to all shops there were big signs that said "If you suspect terrorism, call this number". Can you imagine seeing a sign like that every time you shop for food? It affects your mentality. It makes people close up, when instead we should open up.

It is not only morally right to open Europe's borders for migrants, we also have a duty under the Geneva Convention to allow asylum seekers the opportunity to test their right to protection. But what is happening right now is that the EU's refugee hunters Frontex stops most of them before they reach the border to, with immigration minister Billström's words "jointly and severally accept responsibility for those who come to Europe". The newspeak is strongly provocative.

I think there were many of us who rucked our eyebrows when justice minister Ask today said "the EU summit must strengthen citizens' privacy." Or try on this sentence, "Our hope is that individual rights and privacy should be strengthened within the EU through the Stockholm programme."

This undermines not only the Swedish language, but also confidence in public debate. Can we trust what ministers say is true? Can a society without faith in their elected officials work?

We are gathered here today because we know that a suspicious and closed society has no future, and that the good power of the red and the blue, the purple and the green must fight together to take back a trusting and open society!"

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