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    #1

    Freedom, part two

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

    You can seldom see the police in those suburbs. They are not welcome and they do not feel comfortable walking among inhabitants who do not trust them and see them as enemies. But you often see the youth loitering around dressed like teenagers in American ghettos: snapback hats, baggy trousers, hoodies, and thick gold chains. They have never heard of Bach or Mozart, but they know everything about hip-hop and rap. Their idols are not the Nobel Prize winners, writers, musicians or sports stars but criminals who drive around in expensive cars and mock the policemen. They know that every time the police arrest someone, the youth responds with riots within hours. Cars are torched, schools set on fire, buses pelted with stones and the fire fighters attacked when they try to do their job. Peer pressure is so strong that you rather follow the crowd than be different. A boy who openly showed the interest in literature, classical music or ballet would risk being called a sissy and bullied.

    To be fair, the state has provided a proper infrastructure and all institutions needed for the normal life. In many such suburbs there is a large shopping centre with a library, a gym and often a pool, but as I walk around the suburb I feel the artificiality of the place. It reminds me of fake flowers. From the distance, they look real and you admire them, but as you touch them, you understand they are made of plastic and silk. Decades ago, some anonymous bureaucrat must have hit on the idea of building hundreds of thousands cheap flats in the shortest possible time to solve the housing shortage. Then his colleagues decided to populate them with poor working-class and immigrants, who would be satisfied to have enough food and roof over their heads. They lack the sophisticated knowledge and culture anyway to appreciate beautiful buildings, so let them live in ugly suburbs where they would have contact mostly with people like themselves.
    Before the general election, the inhabitants of some of these suburbs have a chance to witness a strange spectacle. A motorcade arrives, the doors of the black limousines open and bodyguards spill out looking around and in the sky, ready to pounce. Then the Prime Minister and his ministers get out. This is a special moment in their lives. They have arrived at the pride of their creation – the multicultural suburb where dozens different nations work and live together and build a new society. They linger for a moment, breath in the exotic smells and stride towards the main square. Behind them a scrum of journalists and photographs are jostling one another for position.

    Jolted out of their lethargy, the inhabitants stare at the strangers, asking themselves what all the hullabaloo is about. As they seldom watch Swedish TV and rarely read newspapers, they wonder who that squat man is, accompanied by bulky bodyguards with sunglasses and earpieces. People who have been living longer in the suburb have seen this circus many times, and they do not even bother to glance at the honoured guests.
    As the Prime Minister and his entourage come to the square, someone recognizes him, and within seconds, a noisy crowd encircles him. He is beaming at everyone; he is shaking hands and hugging the adults, he is ruffling the hair of girls and boys, he is kissing a baby in mother’s arms. His love is immense. He is like a commander visiting his troops on the frontline, rallying them for the coming battle. An old bearded Arab wearing a thobe makes his way through the crowd, and under the watchful eyes of the bodyguards shakes hands with the Prime Minister.

    “What are you going to do with all the gangs on our streets? They are selling drugs in broad daylight and shooting at each other in the night. We cannot sleep. Our children and grandchildren are crying. It feels like we are in a war,” the old man croaks in broken Swedish.
    The Prime Minister seems to be taken off-guard by the question, but as an experienced politician, he has a ready-made answer, “We are going to place 300 policemen in the coming years in the most vulnerable suburbs and we will to solve the problem. Our party is the only one with a solution; others are promising something they can never fulfil.” He knows he can never fulfil his promise either, but he needs every vote he can get.
    A woman in a niqab asks about building a pool only for women, and the Prime Minister is pleased to answer her question.
    “Of course, we are going to build a pool where women can learn to swim and relax with their friends, mothers, sisters and daughters. We love our muslim women and respect their religion. Only our Social Democratic Party is the guarantee of your religious freedom and freedom to wear what you want.” He stares at the woman with the niqab, but because only her eyes are visible, he does not know if she is satisfied with the answer.

    Then a boy about twelve asks him if the government is going to build more youth centres. The Prime Minister crouches to be at eye level, puts his fleshy hand on the boy’s shoulder and says, “What’s you name?” The boy answers his name is Ahmed.
    “Listen, Ahmed,” the Prime Ministers says, “we are going to build a lot of youth centres, sport halls and football stadiums so that you and your friends can become great players. Do you want to be a new Zlatan?”
    The boy nods and the Prime Ministers ruffles his curly dark hair gently before posing for a photograph with him. The boy is still too young to vote but it is great to be seen with children because their parents will see him as a father figure they can trust.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Freedom, part two

    First paragraph. Two things. Say:

    Their idols are not Nobel Prize winners....

    And:

    They know that every time the police arrest someone the youth respond with riots within hours.

    The phrase "the youth" is clearly plural in this context.

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    #3

    Re: Freedom, part two

    Say:

    Cars are torched, schools set on fire, buses pelted with stones and the firefighters attacked when they try to do their jobs.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Freedom, part two

    Say:

    Peer pressure is so strong that that you would rather follow the crowd than be different.

    And:

    A boy who openly showed an interest in literature, classical music or ballet would risk being called a sissy and bullied.

    When does that not happen?

  5. VIP Member
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    #5

    Re: Freedom, part two

    [QUOTE=Tarheel;1286982]Say:

    Peer pressure is so strong that that you would rather follow the crowd than be different.

    I am wondering if I really need both "that" in the sentence above or it could be enough with one.

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    #6

    Re: Freedom, part two

    That was a goof. I didn't notice that I was doing that.

    (I have to make a mistake every once in a while to prove that I'm not perfect. )

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    #7

    Re: Freedom, part two

    Just one "that" there, okay?

    (I get paid per post. )

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    #8

    Re: Freedom, part two

    Second paragraph. Say:

    ...all institutions needed for a normal life.

    And:

    From a distance....

  9. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Freedom, part two

    Say:

    ...must have hit on the idea of building hundreds of thousands of cheap flats....

  10. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Freedom, part two

    Let's revisit the first paragraph. Delete "can" and say:

    You seldom see the police in those suburbs.

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