Maha Nasser: Why are some immigrants in Sweden unhappy and what does this have to do with integration?
One imagines that leaving his homeland and heading to another homeland to settle in is tantamount to escaping from Hell to Heaven. He paints a picture in his mind that all his suffering will end once he reaches the new homeland, and he forgets that there are life challenges accompanying him wherever he goes, in addition to the challenges of the new society that he must overcome in order to be able to feel stability. So dreams are shattered when standing on the threshold of the first challenge.
Many people came to Sweden looking for safety and stability, and at the same time they bring with them many wishes, dreams and ambitions. But soon those hopes are shattered once they stand face to face with the challenges of the new society, which starts with learning a new language, not to mention looking for a job and most importantly, this is integration and a sense of belonging. Some may rejoice in obtaining some of the money that they receive from the government as support assistance, for which no effort was made, but with time, this enters them into a state of depression. Because that doesn't make them feel happy, fulfilled and important. Because feeling important may be more important than eating, drinking and shelter for some. So the person who could not find himself and fulfill himself in the new society is unhappy. I met many of them and saw tears of despair and disappointment in their eyes. One of the people I met is a woman in her fifties who is an immigrant who finds it difficult to fit into society. She was talking to me and suddenly she cried and said "I'm not happy here." I tried to find out the reason and I asked her: Aren't you happy that your children are all here and they are fine? Aren't you happy that you live in a safe house and you have a monthly salary that enters your account without making an effort? Isn't that better than being in the camps? She answered me while she was wiping her tears and said "I am not an animal that eats, drinks and sleeps". At that moment I realized why she is unhappy and why so many are unhappy.
There are people who do not want to eat and drink like animals, as that woman mentioned. People want a task to be done that makes them feel important. People need a sense of importance perhaps more than they need anything else. A sense of importance comes from achievement. Perhaps getting the money effortlessly makes us happy for a while, but over time we start to feel depressed. We feel unimportant and unproductive. Even the fact that a person remains without work is contrary to our human nature. So that if people are without work for a long time, they get various diseases and depression.
If we look for the reason why some people come to Sweden unhappy, we will find many reasons, but from my point of view, I think that the most important of these reasons is the difficulty of integration and the lack of a sense of belonging. Although there is a great deal of interest in integration by the Swedish government and politicians, not to mention non-profit organizations and others. These parties are making great efforts to promote integration, and the government is spending a lot of money in investing in this aspect. This investment is reflected through cultural activities, language learning programs and other activities aimed at promoting cultural integration. However, despite all this interest and investment in this aspect, there is still a problem in achieving true integration. Therefore, some believe that there is no real integration and they think that immigrants and Sweden are like water and oil, it is not easy to mix them. Because there is a clash between cultures, beliefs, ideas and concepts with each other. In addition to the challenges of the new society faced by the newcomer to Sweden, which may take a long time until one understands the society and coexists with it. While some see that the reason for the poor integration is due to Sweden's employment policy, which they describe as complex and does not provide equal opportunities, not to mention the language learning system, which is long and does not bring quick results. All of these reasons could stand in the way of achieving true integration among the members of society. Hence the feeling of lack of belonging, sadness and depression.
Therefore, I think that the policy of employment and education must be reconsidered. It must also be ensured that the money spent to promote integration is spent in the right place and achieve positive and actual results. In addition, integration is a reciprocal process between society and the individual coming to Sweden. It is the responsibility of the individual and society alike. The bulk of it falls on the state, which must provide all the facilities to achieve real integration. For example, sending those coming to Sweden after SFI courses directly to practical training, each according to his specialization and interests. Because people acquire language more than they learn it. In addition, one must make a double effort in order to understand and integrate into society. Not the least of these efforts is learning Swedish.