Sterilization of Adopted Children
In the municipal elections in Norway on Sept 12 this year one political party, claiming sterilization of adopted children, succeeded in getting a municipal seat at Drammen. This distasteful event has attracted a lot of attention in Norway, but in Sweden it has been overshadowed by the unprecedented success of Fremskrittspartiet (the Norwegian Progress Party); in the general elections they obtained slightly more than 12 per cent of the votes. But even though the results of the elections at Drammen have not been commented on in Swedish press, the event represents something new after all. Never before have the members of a Right wing extremist party dared to speak so freely of such a tabooed issue as adopted children and sterilization, and never before during the post-war years has a party of these opinions been elected into a democratic assembly.
Adoptions have been carried out in most cultures throughout history. For example, adoptions between relatives were common among the Celts in Gaul during the Classical Antiquity Era, and during the 19th century certain North American indian tribes adopted the orphans of settlers. In many cultures adoption has been a way of avoiding exposing orphans. Both in Sweden and in other European countries adoptions have existed for centuries. The difference from today is the fact that adoptions have always taken place within one cultural area. Therefore adoptions and adopted children never became a specific issue to the racial ideological movements of the inter-war years. Adopted children have, admittedly, been regarded with a certain degree of scepticism by those around them, but they have after all - until the post-war years - been part of the national cultural community.
At the beginning of the fifties adopted children from non-European countries started to arrive in the Western countries, much owing to the European hegemony of the world and the increasing impoverishment of the Third World. Important areas of adoption have been certain parts of Latin America, East Africa and East Asia. To Sweden the most represented countries have been Korea, Colombia and Ethiopia. Today there are 36 000 adopted children in Sweden, and some thousand children come here every year. About one fourth of these come from Korea, the most important adoption country.
Ever since the birth of Nazism in the Germany of the thirties, the prominence of >>the Aryan race<< has been the central idea of the ideology. Even though the definition of >>the white race<< has altered throughout the decades, it has never concerned non-Europeans. Greeks, Latvians, Irishmen and Portuguese may be white, but Algerians, Bolivians or Thais have never been regarded as belonging to >>the Aryan race<<. Since the 1980s racial ideology has, superficially, been gradually replaced by cultural racism. Belonging to a culture has been considered just as (or even more) important as belonging to a certain race.
The Nazi's attitudes towards adopted children must be regarded from such a perspective. Adopted children are, contrary to immigrants and refugees, after all ordinary Swedes. Adopted children are even >>more Swedish<< than e.g. Norwegians could ever be. At the same time the large majority of the adopted children are dark-skinned. To the Nazis the >>dilemma<< of the adopted children is simply the fact that two of their own principles collide. Adopted children belong to the Swedish culture but are racially non-Swedish.
NRP, Nordiska Rikspartiet (Nordic National Party), the most important post-war Nazi association in Sweden until the eighties, very seldom mentioned the issue of adoptions in their political programme and other documents. To some extent this issue can be compared to anti-Semitism. Shortly after the war and until the eighties, both these >>racial problems<< were heavily tabooed. In the political programme of NRP from 1972 neither adopted children nor Jews are openly mentioned in writing. On the other hand, it is easy to divine their actual attitudes towards these groups:
>>Anyone who lets him- or herself be guided by non-Nordic forces, e.g. by a supernational organization, [...] must be placed on an equal level with a foreigner with no right of obtaining membership [...] Foreigners of a race which is not closely related to ours could only in exceptional cases be permitted to settle down permanently in our country.<<
BSS, Bevara Sverige Svenskt (Preserve Sweden Swedish) was founded in 1979 by veterans within the Swedish Extreme Right movement, some of whom were previously members of NRP. The aim of the association was the creation of a popular movement against immigration. In 1987 BSS united with the Stockholm division of FSP, Framstegspartiet (the Progress Party), creating SvP, Sverigepartiet (the Swedish Party), which, however, split up the very same year. In documents published by BSS and SvP positions had been moved a bit forward. Both the political programme of BSS from 1983 and that of SvP from 1987 contained their own paragraphs on the adoption issue. About adoptive parents BSS/SvP stated:
[...] Swedish couples adopting children from remote, exotic countries after paying large sums of money to a so-called >>children's black market<< is unjustifiable.
BSS/SvP further remarked, concerning the adopted children:
>>These children from Korea, Sri Lanka, India or Africa can never be fully Swedish. It is pure prejudice to believe in such a thing.<<
Their conclusion was:
>>[...] that adoption of foreign children should be prohibited by law.<<
The political party SD, Sverigedemokraterna (the Swedish Democrates) was founded in 1988, directly pursuing the tradition of BSS and SvP. The party chose to carry on a more careful policy on delicate questions like the adoption of foreign children. In the political programme of SD from 1989 we can read the following on the adoption issue:
>>The connection beween the issue of abortion and the need of adoption of foreign children should be investigated in order to cope with the handling of unnatural elements in our population policy.<<
In plain language this means that the adoption of non-European children must be stopped, or at least heavily reduced, and replaced by better possibilities of adopting Swedish children. SD are also intensely critical towards the liberal abortion laws of today. In their latest political programme from 1994 their message is even clearer:
>>The possibilities of adopting Swedish children should be increased and the possibilities of adopting non-Nordic children should be much reduced.<<
In the same paragraph (on population policy) opposition against abortions are even more strongly emphasized than before and the immigration of >>people from ethnically remote cultures<< is condemned.
During the eighties and the nineties adopted children, and to some extent also their parents, have experienced increasingly violent and open racism. In recent years the number of adoptions has decreased by 50 per cent, much owing to generally increasing racism in society. As a matter of course, this concerns above all non-European adopted children. Bureaus handling adoptions have been exposed to various kinds of threats and adopted children have been persecuted, mobbed and even assaulted.
One case which drew much attention took place at Älmhult in the province of Småland in the spring of 1993. Two adopted children from Sri Lanka had received several threatening latters and these were signed by VAM, Vitt Ariskt Motstånd (Whity Aryan Resistance). The writer of the letters proved to be the 16-year-old girlfriend of the leader of VAM/Lönsboda, also a member of SD. On December 2, 1993 the girl was sentenced in the county court of Ljungby to a fine for molestation.
In February, 1988, the Danish Nazi leader Povl Heinrich Riis-Knudssen, until 1992 the leader of DNSB, Danmarks Nationalsocialistiske Bevegelse (Denmark's National Socialist Association) was interviewed on the TV programme 20.00. On the issue of adoptions he said to the Danish film team:
- The most serious problems are the victims of the kind of slave-trade so much in vogue. The most important thing about these unlucky children who cannot be deported anywhere is that they do not mix with the Danish people and multiply. In what way this should be handled is something that I cannot make up my mind about today.
Riis-Knudsen disappeared from the Danish Nazi movement after starting an affair with a Palestinian woman.
At the prospect of the general elections in September this year, Jack Erik Kjuus, the leader of Norway's oldest xenophobic party Stopp Innvandringen (Stop Immigration), which was founded in Oslo in 1988, decided, to unite his party with Hjelp de fremmedkulturelle hjem - ellers mister vi landet vårt (Help the immigrants to go home - or we will lose our country). It is widely known that the latter party, with its long, incredible name has also been created by Kjuus. Kjuus's two parties were already at the general elections in 1993 parts of an electoral pact by the name of Fellesliste mot Fremmedinnvandring. This year, 1996, the parties would be definitely united by the name of Hvit Valgalliance (White Eletoral Pact), a party label, which, besides being distasteful, also gives associations to Rød Valgallianse (Red Electoral Pact), a Norwegian Communist party. In spite of protests from anti-racists and Rød Valgallianse, Norwegian authorities approved of the name.
At the general elections on September 11, 1989 Stopp Innvandringen was the only xenophobic one-issue party obtaining as much as 0.3 per cent or almost 9 000 votes. This result was the best ever by a party right of Fremskrittspartiet (the Progress Party) in Norway since World War II. At the municipal elections on September 10, 1991 Stopp Innvandringen obtained 3 514 votes and one seat in the municipal government at Drammen near Oslo. In the general elections on September 12-13, 1993 the electoral pact Felleliste mot Fremmedinnvandring obtained 0.1 per cent, implying 1 941 votes. At that time the party competed with the much larger party Fedrelandspartiet (the Homeland Party), obtaining 0.5 per cent (11 546 votes).
In the municipal elections in September the party kept its seat at the local government of Drammen, obtaining 2.3 per cent and 650 votes. When they changed their name at the elections they also adopted a politicial programme, almost exclusively dealing with immigration issues, and - to a large extent - the issue of adoption. After defining the concept of >>Norwegian<< as a combination of race and culture, stressing the first, the programme also discusses the issue of adoptions, urging abolition of civil rights for immigrants, cessation of further immigration and immediate repatriation - all of them common demands from Right extremist parties in Europe during the nineties. The programme also contains two long paragraphs on adoption/ abortion and sterilization.
In the paragraph on adoption and abortion we can read the following:
>>Adoption of children from other countries than Norway must be stopped immediately. We must also aim at repatriation of those children who have already come here, possibly accompanied by their Norwegian >>parents<<.
This far the party programme is already far more extreme than others by asking for possible repatriation, both of adopted children and their parents. In the next chapter, under the headline >>sterilisasjon<< (sterilization), the party repeat their demands of repatriation of all immigrants. The problem will be those without a citizenship, those who hide themselves, those whom no other country will accept and the adopted children:
>>There will probably also be problems of repatriating all adopted children, not least due to opposition from the adoptive parents, as long as they live. We will permit the children to stay in Norway on condition that they are sterilized. (Footnote: By sterilization we mean to terminate the capacity for reproduction without removing or damaging the sexual glands, the testicles or the ovaries. It is not the same thing as depriving someone of his or her sexual instinct, the result of a castration.<<
Sterilization is also recommended to those who have entered into a >>mixed marriage<<, including their potential children:
>>As long as the individual lives in Norway he or she must, however, see to it that he or she is 100 per cent sterile, and if conception should occur anyway, there must be an abortion.
Not since World War II has a political party, openly discussing racial sterilization, been elected into a general assembly in Europe. Therefore, the event in Norway has attracted quite some attention. Adopsjonsforum, the Norwe-gian centre of adoption, has, for example, reported the party to the police for racial agitation. The fact still remains, though: 650 Norwegians at Drammen have elected a party advocating sterilization of adopted children. Have positions been moved further, have the limits been stretched again, and have people's level of tolerance increased even more? What is it that xenophobic and Right extremist parties in Europe entice from people in the nineties: the remains of culturally inherited racism that has existed for milleniums or a growing, commonly spread atmosphere, foreboding something very unpleasant?
By Erik, a student and an adopted child from India.