Letter from the States – El Monte, the County of L.A.


There are many similarities, but also a quantity of differences, between the cities of Malmoe (southern Sweden) and Los Angeles (the U.S.).

Both towns are multicultural cities. A large amount of the cities’ populations are made up by immigrated peoples, who live their own parallel lives – in Los Angeles mostly of Central American and Asian origins and in Malmoe of Balkan, Arabic, Persian and other Scandinavian ancestry among other nationalities. East L.A. is mainly dwelled by the Latinos. The Chinese, and the descendants of old immigrants who worked on the railroads, have settled down in the quarter of Down Town. A new wave of immigration from the Far East, of Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodians, splashes like a flood on other suburban cities, notably Monterrey Park, Alhambra and Temple City. The richest immigrants chose Arcadia to build mansions with notably European neoclassical style. Many of them are diligent and successful leaders of different local branches of American banks and enterprises, among other branches. Over 150 different languages are represented in Malmoe. A well-known Swedish proverb says: “If you have seen Malmoe you have seen the world!” You could say pretty the same thing about L.A..

Anesthetic sounds of helicopters and airplanes in the constellation of loud noises from cars and trucks on the gigantic freeways, where nearly half a million of cars are circulating on the main road, are anesthetizing the private lives of the citizens of Los Angeles. The phenomenon of Carmageddon, alluding to Armageddon and the Bible, is an actual topic in all media coherency. The media are not capable to create their own original words, expressions and metaphors, so therefore they are digging from the Bible to describe the shutdown of the heaviest traveled freeway in the country. The smog lies down from time to time like a huge fog above the metropolis of California. The meteorologists of different TV-news programs follow regularly the conditions of weather and help the population to plan for appropriate seasons of long promenades or jogging tours. In Malmoe the frustrating construction works on the roads slow down the circulation of traffic and cause chaotic situations in the Swedish infrastructure, especially during summer time, something pretty similar to those in the U.S.. And then we have the untrustworthy Swedish weather forecasts that never prognosticate well and to the same extent as the American ones.

The U.S. TV-viewers sit like magnets next to their TV-sets and follow weather forecasts day after day, but also several court cases (like kidnapping, murder, rape, phone hacking and bribery of police officials) among others Casey Anthony, Jaycee Dugard, Brandon McInerney and Rupert Murdoch cases, that in a large scale have engaged and paralyzed the whole American population something similar to the O.J. Simpson’s case. There are thousands of unsolved rape cases only in the County of Los Angeles. In Malmoe, the shootings are escalating. The Swedish police cooperate with the Danish border-patrol to keep the violence and crimes under control.

The American presidential elections will take place in November next year. The President of the U.S., Barack Obama, and other leaders of the political parties appear more often on television. Obama’s ”Twitter town hall” is the first of its kind and an appreciated political arena, where the American people can ask questions. They got newly nearly 170 000 questions and answers with focus on domestic topics (for instance unemployment and health care). But the Obama-administration has failed to find new jobs to the unemployed. That was one of the most important election promises Barack Obama gave, but delivered nothing substantially. Also in Sweden the general elections are on their way in 2014.

Daily threats from different terrorist groups and networks all over the world sneak in the background. The American government stands, however, upright and alert and warns about new attacks. The airports all over the country have been warned about Al Qaeda’s new terrorist technique – surgically implanted explosives in the human body. New security measures and actions are planned, as a precaution, from the U.S. part. The Yemen-based branch of Al Qaeda has been linked to a number of bomb plots, where non-detectable explosives have been easily made and hidden, under the large influence of foreign powers. New “measures may include interaction with passengers, in addition to the use of other screening methods.” (Nicholas Kimball, Transportation Security Administration, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, July 7, 2011)

drac Ljubomir T. Dević, Bachelor of Arts,
member of the Scanian association of writers and
ASLA (Association suédoise de linguistique appliquée)

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