What is Scandinavian? Controversy over SAS ad
A commercial by the airline SAS has caused an outcry, particularly online. It celebrates exchange through travel and the enrichment of Scandinavian culture through foreign influences. The Midsummer Festival and the traditional Plundergebäck pastry for example are also "imported", it claims. SAS temporarily took the video offline on Wednesday - and suspects right-wing forces behind the storm of protest. For the media, the ad hit a sore point.
Naive or provocative?
Svenska Dagbladet wonders what prompted the airline to poke such a wasps' nest:
“What is probably causing trouble and anger is the unspoken message, which is similar to what former Prime Minister Reinfeldt once said: 'The only thing that is truly Swedish is barbarism, everything else came from outside.' National and regional pride are a sensitive issue. And it is precisely regarding this identity that a so-called cultural war is raging, not only in Scandinavia. Did SAS really fail to see that? Or is this a deliberately provocative sortie across mined terrain?”
The trolls are laughing up their sleeves
Aftonbladet agrees with SAS's suspicion that members of the far right - probably from Russia - are behind the wave of indignation:
“Sweden has become successful thanks to its inventions - and for that it needs impressions and influences from outside rather than an intellecutal herring sandwich diet. It's unclear who the self-proclaimed friends of Sweden are linked to, but one thing's for sure: all those who are willing to support Putin's cause have either slept through their history lessons or want bad things for our country. ... So we owe it to ourselves to ask every time we share something online: who does this benefit? SAS should never have taken its promotional film offline. ... When the troll army moves in we have to protect our borders.”
A national identity provides orientation
Hungary's pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet takes advantage of the debate in Sweden to stress the important role national identity plays:
“If we accept SAS's argument, the term homeland becomes virtual and void of content. ... How can we expect newcomers to behave properly if we don't show them the ropes? ... No matter how virtuous and decent an immigrant is, in such circumstances he has no chance to learn about all the customs that are foreign to him. The children don't even learn the language because they're not expected to. As a result they won't become Swedes, Danes or Norwegians, but strangers wandering around with no roots or background.”