Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Most Swedes are not racists. - Seeking positive thoughts after the elections.

When I was a child I was proud to hear that Sweden had not participated in the second world war. The rhetoric of Adolf Hitler had not managed to convince the Swedes to take part in this terrible war. The Swedes did not want to be part of the killing of Jews, handicapped, gypsies, homosexual people and other people that were part of the millions of people killed by the Nazism. The exact figure of murdered people is not even exactly known, but it should be between 50 and 70 million. Why did happen? Because a man called Adolf Hitler, who did not even have the internet, was extremely good at convincing people with words, body language and tone of the voice. Hitler wanted to protect the Aryan race and blamed the Jews for having killed Jesus. He involved the Italian politician Benito Mussolini, even though he was not neither blonde or blue eyed. Was Hitler afraid of people that were different from him or did he use them to get power?

Photo: flickr.com Molldo_2000
Sweden did not take part in the second world war. Some people keep criticizing the country for this, blaming the Prime Minister at the time, Per Albin Hansson for being a coward. All the countries that surrounded Sweden took part in the war but Sweden decided not to. It let the Germans use the railways but helped so many people in countries nearby such as Finland. I was proud of Sweden. I was proud of my superhero Raoul Wallenberg who saved more than 100.000 Jews and then disappeared, probably died....I still mourn him.

The wind is changing in the large country of Sweden. A party called Sverigedemokraterna (SD), lead by Jimmy Åkesson, is the third party in Sweden now after the elections on September 14th. They got almost 13% of the votes. This scares me. The result of the election below: Source: (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2014/09/sweden-elections-201491418172040998.html):

Social Democrats 31.2%
Moderate Party 23.2%
Sweden Democrats 12.9%
Green Party 6.8%
Centre Party 6.1%
Left Party 5.7%
Liberal Party 5.4%
Christian Democrats 4.6%
Voter turnout: 83.4%

I was proud of Sweden and I still am.  I am proud of all those Swedes that still use their own brain to understand. It shouldn't be so difficult to understand how you prefer to escape from a country such as Syria or Somalia. Would you really prefer to stay in your nation and die or escape and live? For me the answer is easy. I would prefer to live and hopefully help others to live as well. 

I have lived as an immigrant in Italy for over 30 years now and nobody has ever treated me badly. Nobody has ever looked at me with suspicion or hatred. Why should then the Swedes think differently about the immigrants in Sweden?

While Sweden welcomes our brothers and sisters from Syria, saving their lives, young Swedes immigrate to other countries, such as Norway. Take a look at this: 
(http://www.migrationsinfo.se/migration/sverige/). In times of famine a lot of Swedes went to live in the USA, which is very multicultural.

I am for democracy, Jimmy, and all the other guys at the Swedish party SD, but I am also for clear communication. I am inserting one of your speeches below. Everybody should be free to share the thoughts but yours scare me. 

Sweden is indeed different now than when I moved out. Most Swedes were blonde and blue eyed then, but there were some immigrants that had come to help us keeping up the work. They had black hair and some of them opened some very nice pizzerias. They also had a tough time, but were they better in your eyes because they were not Muslims? 

Jimmy & friends, I am proud to be part of the 87% that have not voted you. I am happy to say that I am not afraid of Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Christians, Hindu, Buddhists or anybody else. I like talking to people from different cultures and religions because knowledge and understanding makes me richer inside. I am not afraid of any religion or race.  I am sure that fear creates hatred, and what scares me is the hatred. I am one of many people and I regret not having been able to participate in the manifestations against racism that took place all over the country yesterday, September 15th 2014, in which thousands of people showed their opinion against racism.

This is an old blog in Swedish I wrote about my life as an immigrant. I think you can read it, Jimmy & friends, and let me know what you think. http://tankarihuvudet.blogspot.it/2013/09/jag-en-svensk-utlanning.html.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Workplace bullying and mobbing

Do you experience that the working environment has changed recently? Have your colleagues stopped talking to you? Maybe a manager has been telling you dirty things in your ear when nobody heard and now you feel uncomfortable? Do your colleagues laugh when you open your mouth to express your thoughts and ideas? Watch out! Workplace bullying is becoming more and more common!

Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/41726832@N06/

We talk a lot about bullying and mobbing among kids, and we need to keep helping them. We really need to listen to them and support them in any way we can. Children and teenagers can be cruel to one another, we all know that, and the problem bullying is hard to cope with. Surprisingly, the problem exists also among adult people, especially at work!

What is workplace bullying? The term “workplace mobbing” was first described in Sweden in 1980 by a psychologist called Heinz Layman. He observed that those that were targeted were as traumatized as if they had been in war and believed that 15% of the suicides in Sweden were due to mobbing. Other scientists have confirmed his research and the problem is becoming bigger and bigger.

In the book Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the Workplace, the writers Ruth D. Schwarz, Noa Davenport and Gal Purcell Elliott describe how the target suffers psychologically and also physically. Targets are often excluded from meetings or denied access to materials needed to do their job well. The aim of the bullying is often to get the person quit the job and tactic often works because the management does not intervene. It can actually be the upper management that orchestrates the attacks if they want to get rid of a resource that they cannot fire legally. Unfortunately, this often works. The bullied employees often see themselves forced to leave the job because the consequences are so difficult that it is impossible to cope with them. Bullying often leads to both physical disorders. According to www.workplacebullying.org there are a lot of diseases that are stress-related, as well as health complications from prolonged exposure to bullying. Below are a few examples:

  • ·         Cardiovascular Problems: Hypertension (60%) to Strokes, Heart Attacks
  • ·         Adverse Neurological Changes: Neurotransmitter Disruption, Hippocampus and Amygdala atrophy
  • ·         Gastrointestinal: IBD, colitis
  • ·         Immunological Impairment: More frequent infections of greater severity
  • ·         Auto-immune disorders
  • ·         Fibromyalgia (21%), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (33%)
  • ·         Diabetes (10%)
  • ·         Skin Disorders (17%)

14 million Americans are being bullied today and many more are watching this happening. The phenomenon is growing around the world and also in Italy the problem has started being tackled.The employer has the duty to protect the physical and moral integrity of the employees according to Italian law.

Some of the most common forms of bullying are:

  • Slander
  • Gossiping
  • Menial work assignments
  • Missing information

Bullying can also cause damage the employee's professionalism, when the worker does not perform the work assignment for which they were hired. An employee in Italy can now ask for support for this reason. Also, bullying has been recognized by Inail (the national insurance institute of Italy) as a professional disease. A bullied worker can ask the institute for a compensation if having been damaged by the working environment by bullying.

Even Inail began to consider bullying as an occupational disease: in fact, has been included in the category of occupational diseases is not tabular, that is not included in the tables. Then the worker can claim compensation for the damage also to the said Institute.
Sexual harassment by a manager or colleague can be classified and judged. Physical violence and also indecent proposals should be reported to the upper management and if no action is taken the employee can refer to the Italian law.

It is the duty of each employee to make sure that the employees are being respected by the managers and colleagues. Your manager should not make sexual proposals to you and he/she should talk to you in a respectful way. They should not make inappropriate comments on your physical appearance. Are you being bullied? Take a look at these links (English and Italian). There are some books that might be helpful.