donderdag, juni 30, 2016

hope in JärvaJärva is a part of the city of Stockholm. Yet it has been perceived as a remote area, both geographically and mentally for established Swedes. In the 1970s lots of buildings were established for migrants. Over the following decades the strategy has been more or less the same – economical investments in concrete constructions – buildings, bridges and tunnels. The lack of listening to the local citizens has been a part of a complexity of social issues, riots and criminality.

Hope in Järva is a programme, process and strategy from within. What is needed in the families and schools of Järva for creating a more peaceful everyday life – in all societal relations?

Hope in Järva started in 2014 with a focus on mapping different kinds of issues and on reconciliation. The dissatisfaction was obvious in three main areas: inter-ethnic conflicts; misunderstanding and revulsion between generations; and mistrust between citizens and authorities. In 2015 we focused on the inter-ethic questions, and in 2016 on inter-generational ones.

Peace starts within the families, is the hypothesis. Conflicts and revulsion at home tend to be expressed on the streets. It also reinforces the sense of alienation to Sweden as 'my nation'. The young learn both languages and understand more of the culture than their parents do. They are obviously not in their land of origin, yet feel excluded in Sweden. The latter is shown in stone-throwing against the fire brigade and ambulance staff. Staff from the emergency services are often threatened and frequently wait for a police escort before entering Järva. The police attending any incidents use several vehicles in order to not risk their lives.

'We don’t trust the authorities, we don’t live in Sweden', is one opinion often spread in Järva.

The school is a rough workplace for teachers and pupils. Thirty to 50 percent of the pupils are afraid when going to school. They have encountered too much bullying, aggression and physical violence. Pupils are not only afraid of other pupils, but are also afraid of some teachers and other personnel within their school.

Those involved in institution conflict are not collaborating too well with each other, nor with the authorities, and the local authorities tend to keep a distance from the citizens, thus avoiding working with the complexity of the problems. It looks more or less the same with the national authorities. Their strategy seems to be 'concrete results by decisions of new constructions in concrete'.

However, after so many decades of worsening tensions, new possibilities are emerging. Hope in Järva is building on the possibilities and potential of the multi-cultural region, with so many people longing to take an active part in society and to have the feeling of a natural affiliation in Sweden. Since March 2016, we have run several dialogues in the community, plus two learning festivals, with the focus on intergenerational trust building.

This work becomes even more critical in the light of 170,000 new refugees coming in to Sweden, who could learn from the mistakes from the past and help us build a multicultural society, where each person can contribute with their unique gifts.

Rishabh Khanna