Friday, September 25, 2009
I'm becoming a citizen of the U.S.A.
I'm the only person in the room
who is not Hispanic, Latin, Asian or African.
I'm definitely the only Swede in the room.
I'm joining the most diverse country on earth.
Where I grew up there was a certain hostility towards
the Greek families who came.
Fleeing a brutal junta.
There was hostility towards most immigrants.
Even towards those from our neighbor Finland.
And that from a people who loved to travel.
I could never understand it.
I found all the new people very exiting.
I befriended them as quickly as I could,
hungry to learn about life outside my village.
They enriched our culture.
Brought new food.
And new stories.
Our most beloved bard,
one we thought of as the epitome of Swedishness,
was actually a Dutch import.
One of Sweden's most well known intellectuals is Kallifatides, a writer,
immigrant from Greece.
There are many, many more.
But some Swedes nevertheless looked
upon new immigrants with suspicion.
We had, however, a very open immigration policy,
which means that Sweden is probably one of the most
diverse countries in Europe today.
But the U.S.A. must be the most diverse in the world.
I'm becoming an American.