November 30th – A clash of attitudes

034Today it’s November 30th 2012. Here in Sweden we have a tradition that each day of the year has a name, after names in the Swedish calendar. Today it’s Anders/Andreas. My name is Anders. What does it mean? It’s derived from the Greek Andros, which means Man or Human. Andreas/Anders means Manly/Humane. I like that. We never had the tradition in my family to commemorate “name days” though, only birth days. Nevertheless I like the meaning of my name: Manly/Humane. Today it’s a bit cold, but a clear sky, the sun is gleaming through some light clouds and it’s a fine day. I’ve already been outside a bit to do some errands. So this year I feel free to celebrate my “name day” and commemorate it’s full meaning.

When I was studying at Lund University and had been to some class or lecture and was on my way home I often had to walk some blocks further down than usual, since the central parts were blocked by the police in preperation for the coming 30th November demonstrations. What are those? Well, certainly not protests against my name. It had to do with something completely different.

A group of extreme nationalists with Nazi tendencies had taken on the tradition to celebrate November 30th in memory of Charles XII, (Karl XII), the last Swedish king to rule Sweden as a superpower. He was shot dead during a siege outside Oslo, Norway, on November 30th 1718. The irony is that Charles XII had a multicultural army and also recieved help from abroad, got aid from the Russian Kazak chief Mazepa and stayed for several years as a guest in Turkey, visiting the Sultan. Anyway, the extreme nationalists had taken that king as a symbol for something purely Swedish, combined with race biology and their Nazi-influenced form of nationalism. This group used to gather outside the so called AF castle, put down flowers and having speeches according to their manifesto. Then they used to march through town, and people who opposed them demonstrated around them. The extreme views and the tensions became a direct clash with the views and attitudes connected to my name. We see the same kind of tensions today on many places on Earth, and now even more so. I wish that more people will consider the other aspects of humanity: affection, pity, understanding and acceptance for our diversity.

Anders Moberg, November 30th 2012

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