International readers may be familiar with Rinkeby through the headlines it made in February when a riot broke out days after Donald Trump thrust the spotlight on Sweden with his “last night…” comments. When the suburb is given attention, it is generally for the wrong reasons.
Inspired by a lack of information on what day-to-day life is like in Rinkeby, Olle Öberg and fellow YouTuber Liban Abshir Mohamed decided to go to there themselves, talk to the locals, and film what happened.
“It's easy to get the idea that Rinkeby and other suburbs you've never been to are dangerous and really bad places. I'm not saying they're perfect at all, but I don't think it's like what the media says either,” Öberg told The Local.
“Rinkeby's a great place with nice people. The media and most of Sweden think otherwise, I wanted to prove them wrong,” added Abshir Mohamed, who is from nearby Tensta.
One of the key points to emerge from the film is residents are frustrated that many don't base their opinions of Rinkeby on personal experience taken from going there, and instead rely on second-hand accounts. One local summed that up in the video by pleading “you should come here. It's people living here, not animals”.
“Everybody said of course there were problems like everywhere, but not only there. I grew up in a small town called Uddevalla where there was recently a triple murder. I doubt anyone is afraid of going there, so why should you be afraid to go to Rinkeby?” Öberg questioned.
“Rinkeby has become a symbol for suburbs where a lot of people from other countries live. In my opinion it's bad for everyone that Sweden is so segregated: it causes a lot of problems, fear, and hate between people. The big problem with today's society is people don't meet each other, and that's what we should really be afraid of and work on.”
READ ALSO: Sweden to get new anti-segregation authority
The reality though is that Rinkeby does have major challenges, and is one of 15 areas Swedish police judged to be “particularly vulnerable” in 2015. The day after the most recent riot The Local went to the Stockholm suburb to report, and residents had plenty to say about the area's issues, with several noting that they feel a minority of troublemakers are not being adequately dealt with.
Öberg acknowledged that there are problems in the suburb, but he feels that the attitude towards the area from some parties doesn’t help.
“It's important to focus on how to make things better. The media judges the people living there and blames them, but it's a problem for society. It's a very small part of the people living there who cause trouble, the majority seem to be really tired of it,” he explained.
“We met some teenagers who asked us why we were filming and had a negative attitude. They wanted to act cool and behave the way expected of them when the media shows up – play up to the stereotype of a young guy living in the suburbs. Since we were nice, they couldn't do much more than walk away. If we wanted to paint a bad image of Rinkeby, we could've just provoked them to do something, blur their faces, and put it online. But we didn't want to do that.”
READ ALSO: What Rinkeby residents think about the riots
The people who cause problems are very much in the minority, he concluded:
“They're not representative of the population of Rinkeby. We wanted to show the everyday life and nice people there. Many of the older people we met told us it's youngsters causing trouble from time to time. I think they are frustrated, feel excluded and do things the way society expects them to. No one believes in them or where they are from, and that's one of the big problems. It would be better to invest in their and everyone's future.”