Saturday, May 25, 2013

Riots in Sweden

To many people around the world, Sweden seems like an ideal (perfect) place to live.  Unfortunately, it looks as if there has been growing unemployment among young people, and there are tensions (troubles) between native-born Swedes and immigrants. 

There have been riots for the past 6 days in this country.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:
Please read through the vocabulary before you read the article. :)

a community patrol - a group of members of a neighborhood/community who travel around the neighborhood to try to help people or to report problems to the police.

a beefed up presence - to beef something up is to strengthen something.  So this is a stronger police presence. 'to be present' means to be there...'present' is the opposite of 'absent' 

cars were torched - set on fire.  Cars were set on fire or started on fire.

a suburb - an area just outside of a city.  In the past wealthy (rich) people used to live in suburbs.  Now the trend is for rich people to live in cities and for poor people to be pushed out into the suburbs (although some wealthy people still live out there).

a riot - this is a violent form of protest.  A riot is when people go crazy and begin to destroy things because they are upset about something.

to abate -  to lessen.  To get less worse.

masked youths - youths wearing masks to conceal (hide) their identities.

to vandalize something - this is when public or private property is deliberately destroyed (destroyed on purpose). 

setting cars alight - starting cars on fire

to hurl a stone - to throw a stone

taking to the streets - going out into the streets

fluorescent jackets - jackets that can be easily seen because they are bright

residents - people who live there

to keep your eyes open - to be alert, watchful

to be engaged - to be involved, aware

to torch a police station - to set it on fire

the rioting was sparked by - started by

they stormed his apartment - they forced their way in without any prior notice

to confirm something - to verify it, to indicate it is true

a model welfare state - a state that is a model to others is a state that others wish to emulate (imitate).  A welfare state is a state that provides many free services to people.

a fault-line between the wealthy and the poor - a fault-line is literally a line where an earthquake starts.  Here they mean a 'problem' that divides the rich and poor.

underscoring - highlighting, showing

ambivalence - uncertainty; so basically the article is saying that Sweden is divided in regard to its immigration policies.  On the one hand it allows many people to enter the country.  On the other hand, many people in Sweden oppose this and have formed a political party to protest the policy.

third in the polls - 3rd place in the recent voting

its ranks might swell - the number of people in this party might rise because many people will become upset with immigrants as a result of these riots.

far-right - very conservative, very anti-immigrant.

it echoes riots in Paris and London - it is like those riots, but more 'mild' - not as severe.

looting - this is when people break into stores and steal stuff during riots or natural disasters

social safety net - protections from the government for people who are in need

center-right rule has chipped away at it - some free programs have been eliminated by the new government, which is more conservative than previous Swedish governments.  To chip away at something is to cut away at something hard to remove parts of it.  A sculptor chips away at stone to create a work of art.

deprived - lacking stuff.  A deprived neighborhood is a neighborhood that doesn't have jobs or stuff that might be needed to make life comfortable. Economically deprived means poor.

asylum seekers - people who seek safety in Sweden because living in their home countries is dangerous.

war-torn countries - places where wars are happening

a gap - a divide, a division, a space between two things
Discussion/Writing Question:

Sweden seems to have a very liberal immigration policy. They take people into the
country freely.  However, many young immigrants are unemployed and some of them
spent the past 5 days burning schools in Sweden.
What do you think the real problems might be in regard to Sweden's immigration policy?  Do you think the country is probably doing a good job once immigrants arrive?  If not, what should Sweden do?

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