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    #1

    The Fiction of Reality, part two

    This is the second part of my text. Would you please correct my mistakes?

    Let us imagine the young student had not run away but stayed with me and was interested in listening to my arguments. Maybe she wanted to hear something she could never read about in the glossy tourist brochures, magazines, or watch on TV. Let us imagine she was an open-minded woman who was not obsessed with appearances but wanted to scratch the gleaming veneer. She was observant and asked questions. Why are these people so silent? Why they drink so much, even when alcohol is so expensive? Why they never rebel? Why they accept anything and everything from their government as a divine law? Why do they almost all think the same? What are they afraid of?

    If she were patient and had enough time to talk with me, she would get answers to all her questions. I would also show her some of the suburbs avoided by the Establishment and those who officially promote multicultural society. She could meet immigrants who had spent decades languishing in them, like some kinds of creatures discarded by the local authorities, which could not find any use of them. These people from different countries had created their own reality and parallel society without any contact with the Swedish society and the natives. Tourists and student never visit such places, and if they do, they feel unease. The scene is not what they expect to see in the affluent country: dreary grey block of flats and among them shuffling women in black burqas, bearded men in long robes, alcoholics, drug addicts with pit bulls on the lead, and youth criminal gangs who sell drugs and weapons. This is the fiction tourists and students would like to read, but not be part of it.
    It is impossible to know how the young student would react after those impressions. Maybe that could be her moment of epiphany after which she would see the beautiful country in another light, or she could push her experiences into the deep recesses of her mind where they would fade away and become harmless.

    But let us forget the ugly suburbs and turn to the young student the moment she walked away from me. She was looking forward to an exciting year with parties, concerts, outings, discussions, and probably sex with fellow students. She appreciated free education and the cheap room in a corridor. As an English speaking person, she made many friends, and people bought her a drink just to be able to practice their English with her. Her friends took her to pristine rivers and lakes, and to snow-covered mountains. They taught her Swedish songs, and they danced around the pole on a sunlit Midsummer Day. She said her goodbyes with tears in her blue eyes and returned to the US with the most beautiful memories.

    “Such a great country, clean and well-ordered. Such great people.” I heard her tell her friends, showing them numerous pictures from her trip. And then, she posed for a moment and said, “Can you imagine, when I arrived in Sweden I met a strange foreigner, and he started to rant about how Sweden is a totalitarian state.”
    “Was he stoned?” someone asked.
    “I don’t know. Such an unpleasant and ungrateful person. Generous Swedes have given him everything, and he, instead of saying thank you, accuses them of brainwashing and manipulation. He must be sick in the head”
    The fiction created by the young student would be appreciated by the majority of people around the world. Her impressions about Sweden matched their expectations and reaffirmed their opinions. My fiction, on the other hand, would be seen as an anomaly – the product of a deranged mind. Even if I presented all the evidence for my assertions, many of people would still see me as a loner. My words would never be able to mar the picture which had been formed in their minds since their childhood. They had lived with it for years and they were satisfied with it. I was the last person they needed to tell them something was wrong.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part two

    Bassim, I am surprised at some of the errors, especially since the text for the most part flows like a river. (You'll soon see what I mean.)

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part two

    First paragraph. Say:

    Let us imagine THAT the young student had not run away but HAD stayed with me and was interested in listening to my arguments.

    And:

    Maybe she wanted to hear something she could never read in the glossy tourist brochures or magazines or watch on TV.

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    #4

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part two

    First paragraph. Say:

    Let us imagine THAT she was an open-minded woman who was not obsessed with appearances but wanted to scratch the gleaming veneer.

    The contraction "Let's" is rarely spelled out, but you do it just right.

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    #5

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part two

    First paragraph. Say:

    Why DO they drink so much even though alcohol is so expensive? Why DO they never rebel? Why DO they accept anything and everything from their government AS IF IT IS divine law?

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    #6

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part two

    Tarheel,
    I believe I make such errors due to the lack of contact with English speaking people. If you speak regularly with people, you make mistakes, but people correct you, and you learn not to repeat the same mistakes. Unfortunately, I live a secluded life without much contact with people. If I tell them I do not feel well here, their answer is, "Why don't you move away?" or "Go back to your homeland!" In my current situation, if I want to see if I have used a word or a sentence correctly, I have to post it on this forum first and then wait for an answer from a teacher to see what kinds of mistakes I made. In my case, I usually make a mistake a few times, until I start to use a word or a phrase correctly. When I lived in Germany as a refugee in the 1980's, I went to cafes and pubs every day and used the every opportunity to talk with Germans. After only six months, when I spoke to someone, they did not believe I was in Germany for only six months. Many believed I was born in Germany. Many years had passed since then, and I am not the same person, and Sweden is not the place where I ever wanted to stay and live. But when you are fleeing from war and disaster you are not choosy. I have also created my own reality here so that I can survive mentally and physically.

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    #7

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part two

    Second paragraph. Say:

    answers to all OF her questions

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    #8

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part two

    Yours is certainly a very interesting story. Anyhow, you have probably figured out what I meant by now.

    OK. Let's move on.

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    #9

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part two

    Paragraph two. Say:

    ...the local authorities, WHO could not find any use FOR them.

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    #10

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part two

    I have never thought of Sweden as a multicultural society, and I don't know why they would want to become one. As you know, the residents of the Balkans (former Yugoslavia) had trouble getting along, and they had been living together for centuries. It's not easy. Indeed, it would seem that old enmities never die. (You can look around the globe and see many examples of that.)

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