Sweden on high alert over threat of Republican candidates

The country raised its terror level to ‘high’ on fear that Republican presidential candidates may be on the loose in Sweden and threatening to speak. The news comes after a barrage of increasingly nonsensical statements by Republicans about Syrians and refugees in the wake of Paris attacks last week.

“There are so many Republican candidates. We can’t possibly keep track of them, and they’re all so unbalanced,” a Swedish official said.

“If you see a Republican presidential candidate in Sweden, immediately put in earplugs to mitigate the risk of actually hearing what they have to say. Then run,” the official said.

Sources say Swedish intelligence overheard a candidate discussing a trip to Switzerland. The threat level was then raised to 'high' after gauging a 50-50 chance the candidate didn’t know the difference between Switzerland and Sweden.


10 small tips to help refugees that can make a big difference

Right now it's all about trying to help refugees. Like a lot of people, I've been looking for ways to get involved. But the question is what can you do that will really make a difference?

So I did some research and talked with experts in the field. Here are 10 simple tips you can try that experts think will probably help: 

  1. Try not to set fire to refugee homes across your country, or burn them down to the ground. 
  2. If you're a journalist and you're among refugees who are fleeing to safety, try not to repeatedly kick them and trip them for the sake of better video footage.
  3. Try not to organize anti-immigration rallies for tens of thousands of people to fuel heated refugee hatred.
  4. Try to stop anyone you see in your country dousing refugee homes with gasoline, kerosine or other highly flammable liquids. 
  5. If you're a voter in Europe, and there's an extreme right-wing anti-immigration party that's fuelling refugee hatred and trying to get into power, try not voting them into power.
  6. Try not to form a human wall blocking weary refugees from reaching safety.
  7. Try not to start wars.
  8. If you see someone who has doused a refugee home in kerosine, lit a match and looks about to set a refugee house ablaze, try blowing out the match.
  9. If you're the leader of an extreme right-wing party that fuels refugee hatred and someone in your party suggests completely banning asylum and leaving the European Union, try saying "that's a bad idea".
  10. Last but not least: Try not to vote for Donald Trump. That may not help refugees directly, but it's a good tip in life.

 

Follow the blog for more answers to global problems. 

Moved, part 2

I was nervous when I arrived at the migration office. Was I allowed to be there? Could I talk to others. Would they talk to me? 

I walked into the reception. There were a handful of people waiting and a worker was behind a counter, speaking to a family. I walked back outside and thought to strike up a conversation with smokers in the parking lot. But the family who had been at the counter - a mother, a father and a boy who had lost part of his right arm - came out and asked me for help. They needed to find the building for fingerprinting. I ducked back into the reception, got directions to an office four buildings away, and began walking with the family down the road.

The building we left behind was for lodging. The building we were heading to was where you filed for asylum. The family told me they had come from Egypt and seen many people die on their way. Walking with them the final blocks to officially seek asylum, I was immensely grateful this family had survived. 

We found where we needed to go. I can't recall seeing many government offices open for service on Sunday mornings. But this one was full of life. The seating area was packed, and there were a number of workers behind a counter. They looked busy. When we approached a woman greeted us with a smile. She offered the family an Arabic interpreter and the process was underway. I took a step back and let them do what they'd come so far to do.

After a few minutes, they were done with the initial proceedings. They needed to return to the first building, and the four of us headed back together. We chatted some more. The father told me they had lived in the center of Cairo and that it was "not good. Not safe." He said there was high risk that their boy would be kidnapped.

There's such complexity to the issues of migration. Who bears responsibility for whom, and why. But it is also simple. I said "Sweden is safe. Sweden is good." I was glad to be able to say this to them.

Moved

I tend to write about baseball and donuts. But like a lot of us, I'm moved by the refugee crisis that's brought a record number of migrants to Sweden. On Sunday morning, I hopped in the car and drove to the place where many refugees first arrive seeking food, shelter, medical attention and asylum.

We've all read about what's happening, but I wanted to see it. I wanted to speak to the families arriving and the people working to help them. Over the next few days, I plan to share some stories about my Sunday morning visit to the migration office. But I'll say here that it felt important. I'm glad I went. My only regret is that I didn't bring donuts.  

Away

I was waiting to cross a busy street yesterday. The light was red and there were a few people on the other side of the road, waiting to cross as well. One of those people was a normal looking middle-aged man. After a few moments, the light still not green, the man stepped out into the street and was nearly hit by a bus that screeched to a halt millimeters away.

The man stood frozen in front of the bus, his hands on the bus windshield, looking up at the bus driver. Both were stunned by what had nearly happened. Everybody around was stunned too. Traffic came to a standstill.

The man continued across to where I was standing. When he reached me, I took a hold of him and asked if he was OK. He wasn't. The driver of the bus opened his window and instructed the man to walk ten feet up the road to the nearby bus stop and wait for him. The man staggered back over the street again (all cars were still stopped) and did as he was told.

The bus edged forward. When it reached the stop, the doors opened. The bus driver and the man exchanged words. Then the man, who had been headed in the opposite direction, stepped onto the bus that nearly killed him, took a seat near the driver that saved him, and rode the bus away.