Chronicle Inga-Lill Bengtsson: ”That's how democracy works in practice. We must handle it with care”

Inga-Lill Bengtsson.
Inga-Lill Bengtsson.
Foto:Inga-Lill Bengtsson

The hot summer is over, we’re heading towards autumn with renewed energy. And Kb Mosaik carries on, as a local voice with important news and questions of interest for both ”old Swedes” and new arrivals. To increase the feeling of belonging and understanding.

During the summer I had a heated discussion with one woman, about ”Why do they need their own paper in Arabic? They must learn Swedish!”

It was an interesting discussion – for both of us, I think. We can think what we like about having so many new arrivals. But they are here. And how can we live together, how can the new arrivals become part of our society?

By pointing a finger and saying ”They’d better …” or giving them information on how others have found their place in society, articles on important decisions and how we celebrate Christmas and Midsummer?

Writing articles in three languages makes it easier to compare the languages.

Do you understand what the politicians say? Do you understand when you read their election programme?

Kb Mosaik asked the parties in Kristianstad and Östra Göinge to send in their election programme, that is, which questions they think are the most important in the election on 9th September.

We also asked them if they had their election programme in easy Swedish. Not many of the parties took our question seriously. Few of the texts were easy to understand, and there were not many concrete suggestions as to how they want to reach their targets.

Some parties sent in several pages – up to 18 – of text. They write, for example, ”We stand for common sense”, and ”fairness for everyone”.

But what does that mean in practice?

We know that about 25 per cent of all adults in Sweden have difficulty in understanding a written text. That may be because they are new in Sweden, have reading- and writing-problems, or other difficulties.

We on the editorial staff, Inga-Lill Bengtsson, Mohamad Kanina, Sofyan Aswad and Moira Uggla, studied allt the material we got in, and graded it. Our backgrounds are all different. Moira has been a teacher for 50 years, Inga-Lill has been journalist for many years, Mohamad and Sofyan are journalists, who are new in Sweden.

We had two criteria – how easy the texts are to understand, and how concrete the aims are, and we graded the results on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is best. Please note that we did not grade the politicial message – that is up to the voters on 9th September.

Polarisation in the community has become more extreme, with hard words, feelings and accusations. So it is important to keep a cool head and stick to facts, avoid personal attachs and show respect for one another.

Thats’s how democracy works in practice. We must handle it with care.