Sweden Faces Civil War Unless Swedes Embrace Multiculturalism, Warns Celebrity Fashion Designer
Depending on how you count them, people of foreign descent make up between a quarter and a third of Sweden's entire population of about 10 million, which means it is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Europe.
Famous Swedish fashion designer Johan Lindeberg, known for his collaborations with Diesel and Absolut, has penned an opinion piece in favour of multiculturalism, calling on readers to “embrace the New Sweden” and see the fantastic opportunities of belonging to “the most progressive country in the world”.
However, should his compatriots reject his advice, civil war is the inevitable consequence, Lindeberg warned.
“Either we all help to create a new inclusive energy and become a clear international template for a new multicultural community. Or we end up in a civil war. It has already started," Johan Lindeberg wrote in Sweden's national evening newspaper, Expressen.
According to Lindeberg, it is time to muster forces and turn Sweden into a “model country for the world” and show that “common and consolidated energy beyond cultures” is what gives Sweden its strength.
Lindeberg went so far as to suggest that the Swedish flag must be “repositioned” to represent the country's new voice and “make Sweden relevant again”.
“It sounds banal but it is easy to compare the process with a brand that needs to be updated and made relevant for today. The change started a long time ago. But still, so many of us have a hard time accepting it,” Lindeberg wrote, calling for “courage, clarity and perseverance. Then we will have new power. But above all, there must be a clear purpose to change."
Lindeberg suggested that being part of several cultures is more attractive and is more sophisticated than a monocultural society, and reminded his readers that many of Sweden's most admired talents originate from other countries, using the national football squad as an example.
Since adopting mass immigration in the Eighties, Sweden - which used to be one of Europe's most homogeneous nations - became one of the most ethnically diverse, taking in people from all continents. Combined with demographic trends such as a low birthrate among ethnic Swedes, the share of the population with a foreign background has rocketed in recent decades.
According to Statistics Sweden, more than a quarter of the country's registered inhabitants have a foreign background, compared with 15 percent in 2000. If assessed via the (now outdated) method whereby anyone with at least one foreign-born parent is considered as being of foreign descent, the proportion rises to a third of the population.