After witnessing growing segregation and tensions among young people in Malmo, Sweden’s third city, entrepreneur Daniel Sachs and Social Democrat politician Luciano Astudillo decided to intervene.
Through their newly-launched initiative, ‘The Future Generation’, the two partners hope to encourage youths to build a common future, Mr Sachs said.
Antisemitism in Malmo was the “trigger factor” for Mr Sachs and Mr Astudillo, but they believe the problem is part of a wider picture.
“Islamophobia is quite widespread, right-wing parties are on the rise, unemployment is high and Malmo is polarised. Some areas are populated almost entirely by immigrants and ethnic minorities and others hardly have any immigrants at all,” said Mr Sachs.
The first step will be to bring the play 3G — The Third Generation to Malmo. Directed by Israeli Yael Ronen and first performed in Berlin, the play has a German, Israeli and Palestinian cast and tackles issues such as the Holocaust, Zionism, the Nakba and how young Germans, Jews and Muslims relate to one another.
Mr Sachs and Mr Astudillo hope to run a series of workshops after the play. “The aim is to try to get young people to free themselves from the kind of prejudices and group identities that characterise some relations in Malmo today,” said Mr Sachs.
In 2010, Malmo city council set up a dialogue forum in the midst of a heated debate about antisemitism. The mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, was accused of failing to address Jewish residents’ concerns.
Mr Sachs believes a play like Third Generation can have more impact.
“What is powerful about this kind of theatre production is that, on an emotional level, it becomes very clear that we can’t go on like this… When you have a conversation after experiencing the play, it is on a completely different level than if you just gather in a room to talk.”