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    #1

    The Fiction of Reality, part four

    Would you please correct my mistakes in the fourth part of my text?

    More than 36 years had passed since the death of Marshal Tito and a few decades since the collapse of communism, but here in Sweden, I am having a sense of déjà vu. I ask myself all the time where I have ended up. In what kind of reality do I live? What is happening around me cannot be rational, or maybe my mind has become deranged after all these years in this cold country. In my naivety, I believed I had found refuge in an ordinary European country, which had achieved an advanced level of liberty and democracy. But the more time I spent here, the more disappointed I became. From the beginning, I met people from all walks of life. I went everywhere that people invited me. I ate lunches and dinners with them, drunk wine, beer or coffee. I swam with them in lakes, hiked in mountains and went on outings. I was in churches of all possible denominations, and I talked with priests and their wives in their homes. I went to concerts and theatre plays, and I met artists and gallerists. I talked with ordinary workers as well as high-educated men and women. I wanted to know what was hidden behind those beautiful faces and healthy bodies.

    Some of the women reminded me of the dolls my sister used to collect since her childhood: shoulder-length blond hair, deep blue eyes and pale faces with high cheekbones. Men were tall, broad-shouldered, and shy. As I talked with them, I noticed that they all repeated the same mantra, as if they were members of some sect. Sweden is the best country in the word. It has the best welfare system in the world, best healthcare, best education, best political system, best housing... Sweden is the most equal society in the world. Swedish feminists have done more for women’s rights than any other movement in the world. If other nations only followed the Swedish example, the world would be much better place to live in.
    When I questioned the validity of their statements, they blushed and squirmed. I had an impression they saw me as an uncivilized man, who deserved their pity. While in my homeland almost every new generation had to go to war, Sweden had not experienced war for hundreds of years. For the past few decades, Sweden was at the top of the list of the most successful countries in economic growth and technology, while my homeland topped the list of the killed and displaced. They probably looked down on me, but hid their feelings and kept a poker face – a skill for which people in the Nordic countries are especially gifted.

    I continued to meet people, even if I knew in advance what they were going to tell me until one day my inner voice said, “Don’t go anywhere. Don’t waste your time on people who will never understand you. Read books instead and grow as a human being.” I had heard that voice since my childhood, and it helped me many times when I was in doubt what to do. I wished I could ignore it this time. Despite what I had heard from Swedish women, I liked them and secretly hoped that one of them would one day become my wife. But the voice was my only friend, and I had to take heed of it.
    My Swedish acquaintances did not know that I had heard similar stories they had told me more than four decades ago in my homeland. My teachers bombarded us with fairy tales about the greatness of our country. But every time they started, my inner voice whispered, “Lie! Lie!” I glanced at my schoolmates and saw their wide-open eyes. They believed in every word they heard from our teachers, and they never questioned the authenticity of the information. But even if someone had a flicker of doubt, Tito’s stern face from the portrait above the blackboard would discourage him of asking any questions. We were told our country was so beautiful and successful that many in the world were jealous of us.

    The Swedes believe in the similar myths. Other nations are envious of their well-organized country. Everyone wants to come to live in Sweden and be part of paradise. But when refugees and immigrants arrive, and if they do not want to integrate, Swedes get angry. They cannot believe that refugees like to live in a parallel society without any contact with native population. They feel offended by such behaviour, as a woman who offers her body and soul to her husband but he still prefers his lovers.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part four

    I think you should capitalize Communism. That's because communism is a means of organizing an agrarian society, while Communism is a political system and an ideology.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part four

    Say:

    I ate lunches and dinners with them, DRANK wine....

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    #4

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part four

    Say:

    highly educated

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    #5

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part four

    "Sweden is the most equal society in the world."

    I am puzzled by that. What exactly does it mean?

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    #6

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part four

    Second paragraph. Say:

    If other nations only followed the Swedish example the world would be a better place.

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    #7

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part four

    Say:

    a skill for which people in Nordic countries are especially gifted

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    #8

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part four

    Third paragraph. Say:

    ...and it helped me many times when I was in doubt about what to do.

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    #9

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part four

    Say:

    They believed every word they heard....

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    #10

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part four

    Say:

    would discourage him from asking any questions

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