What follows is not a joke. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his crew have come up with a great new way to improve integration.
One word: clowns.
A quick reminder: thanks to the astronomical cost of feeding, housing, and clothing immigrants who prefer not to support themselves, and the equally formidable expense of policing those multiculturally enriched, high-crime areas that the authorities haven't already given up on policing, Sweden is bleeding cash – big time. Among the results: major cutbacks in outlays for schooling, health care, and benefits for the elderly.
Nonetheless, the Swedish Migration Board has managed to find an unspecified number of kronor – apparently in the millions – to spend on the services of an organization called Clowner utan Gränser. Translation: Clowns without Borders (hereafter CWB). According to an article in the invaluable Friatider website, CWB plans to “'play' its way to better integration.”
The Migration Board specifies that the clowns will be used to integrate non-EU immigrants – which in Sweden, of course, mostly means Muslims.
After reading Friatider's story, I naturally went straight to CWB's website. Front and center is detailed information about how to contribute money to this thing: “Become a donor and spread laughter every month!”
Click on “about us” and you'll find out that CWB was founded in 1996 and operates in a dozen countries, sending clowns into refugee camps and youth prisons. CWB's declared mission is “to meet children in pleasure, play, and joy.” It seeks to create “hope, humanity, and the will to live.” Its vision is “a world filled with play, laughter, and dreams, where all people have the opportunity to develop, express themselves freely, and feel hope even in vulnerable situations.” All its work “is done in our belief that it creates a better world.”
Of course it would be terribly cynical to call B.S. on all this. I'm sure it's totally on the level and every bit as wondrous and magical as it sounds – and worth every kronor.
Just speaking for myself, however, the last thing I can imagine wanting to see if I were a little kid in a Third World refugee camp or youth prison would be a bunch of guys in clown outfits climbing out of a tiny car, juggling bowling pins, riding unicycles, making balloon animals, and sweeping up spotlights. Not to put too fine a point on it, but is any child ever really entertained by the antics of clowns? I've always had my doubts. All I know is that for as long as I can remember, clowns struck me me as witless, depressing, and vaguely creepy. Their costumes look as if they must be sweaty and smelly. A painted-on smile seems the very opposite of cheery. But hey, maybe that's just me.
Also, the whole premise reminds me of the notorious Jerry Lewis movie The Day the Clown Cried (1972), about a clown who entertains Jewish children on a train to Auschwitz and then on their way into the gas chambers. It was never released because it was considered to be in outrageously bad taste. Just sayin'.
I did react to one detail on CWB's site. It informs us that the group “is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.” What is that supposed to mean? As it happens, the convention in question is one of those ridiculous international agreements that are at best meaningless and at worst menacing, but that diplomats from countries like Sweden are crazy about. The U.S. is the only nation on earth to have refused to ratify it, one reason being that it can be interpreted as denying basic parental rights. (In the recent case of the critically ill baby Charlie Gard in the U.K., it was reported that the court's refusal to let the parents seek extraordinary treatment for their son was founded, at least in part, on the UN convention.) Needless to say, the fact that the convention has been ratified by every government on earth other than America's mean that it's gotten the stamp of approval from places where children are openly enslaved, prostituted, and put to work in factories. So CWB's pious mention of this hollow document – this empty, worthless specimen of pure technocratic sanctimony – is, for this reader, for what it's worth, something of a red flag.
But the main point here, obviously, is that the eagerness of the Swedish Migration Board to bring “play, laughter, and dreams” to Muslim children makes one thing perfectly clear: namely, that – even after all these years, all these immigrants, and all these failed efforts at integration – Swedish authorities still don't know the first damned thing about Islam. Have none of them ever come across the Ayatollah Khomeini's famous pronouncement on the subject of play and laughter? “Allah,” declared Khomeini, “did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.”
To reread Khomeini's ukase is to experience, shall we say, an increased curiosity as to the potential results of the Swedish Migration Board's inspired new initiative. What can happen? One imagines a troupe of these clowns dancing and frolicking their way into some no-go zone in Malmö and ending up in a decapitation video. One pictures some burka-clad version of Kathy Griffin posing for the camera, holding up a clown's real head by its fake red hair. Now that's one image that likely would bring a few laughs to some of the humor-deprived denizens of Rosengård or Rinkeby.