Immigration

Eurovision: Migrant-inclusion website tackling racism in Sweden

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Ahead of the Eurovision semi-final and grand-final events this week, a website has been set up to encourage Swedes to invite migrants over for dinner in an effort to tackle racism.

In 2015, Sweden welcomed 160,000 asylum seekers. Most settled in the capital Stockholm, where one-in-six residents was born abroad.

The country is now moving to tighten its borders, introducing identity checks on all incoming traffic from Denmark in a bid to reduce the number of migrant arrivals.

The anti-immigration Swedish Democrats have grown in popularity to become a considerable political force, polling as the third most popular party in the country.

Migrant inclusion website

The website United Invitations was set up to encourage Swedes to invite new citizens over for a home-cooked meal and a chance to make new friends.

Website founder Ebba Akerman said stopping segregation was her aim.

“I really realised that this was a much more segregated city than I was aware of,” she said.

“Also knowing more about what it’s like to be an immigrant in Swedish society. That you learn something new about another culture. That you feel that you’re doing something to create a more inclusive society."

Sweden is also currently tackling racism through the television drama series ‘Blue Eyes’.

First written in 2010, the fiction series’ creator Alex Haridi said the show name was “an expression for someone being naive”.

“So if someone is really naive, you say that they’re blue eyed.”

Mr Haridi said he created the show as a way of Swedes discussing racism in their country.

“Think it’s really painful for the way Swedes perceive themselves have to come face to face with the fact that there is racism in Sweden,” he said.

“When you try to discuss these things, especially in Sweden, people are so set in their views.

“I wanted people to discuss the show, having to question yourself and to have drama not be like a comforting blanket, but to really make you feel bad sometimes.”

Australia's Dami Im

Australia’s Eurovision Head of Delegation, Paul Clarke, said the country’s South Korean-born entrant Dami Im encapsulates the competition’s ‘come together’ theme.

“I think it’s very different Europe from when we were here last time, there has been this huge migration wave into Europe,” he said.

“In a way there’s a lovely story with Dami because it’s a very hopeful story.

“Her’s is a story of hope being an immigrant to Australia whose learned pop music, and English, from listening yo Kylie Minogue on the radio.”

The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on SBS’s Eurovision Weekend - Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Grand Final Sunday 15 May, 7.30pm on SBS, with LIVE early morning broadcasts from 5am on Wednesday 11, Friday 13 and Sunday 15 May.

For all the latest in Eurovision news visit the SBS Eurovision website.

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