This young woman most people would consider beautiful. So do I. What you see here is a portrait I made some years ago, and partly this text will deal with different forms of beauty and ugliness respectively, but mostly about beauty and ugliness in human behaviour more than about looks. There are different forms of shallow beauty, and we’re attracted to different forms of looks. Maybe you’re attracted to the slender look, people who’re medium-sized, tall, short, voluptous bodies with curves, redheads, blondes, brunettes, brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Maybe you’re attracted to someone in your own age, someone older or younger. The important thing though is that, even though looks do influence us and are important for part of the attraction, we mustn’t forget the personality traits as well. For my own part I want to be able to speak with the woman I’m attracted to and if she has an uninteresting personality, beautiful or not, I quickly lose interest. Like most other people I have a beauty ideal and a sexual preference, but the looks of the women I’ve loved in my life have varied. The personal chemistry has been even more important to keep the mutual affection going.
As I explained in the beginning this is not meant to go on about sexual preferences or looks, but about beauty and ugliness in other ways. People who look good can sometimes be horrible, others are wonderful. Some plain ones have fantastic personality traits, and sometimes they’re horrendous. And this goes both for women and men alike. My point here is that things are not always what they seem to be. Beneath the surface lingers complex personalities molded through life by different upbringings, parents, friends, education, jobs and different experiences. Some people use their looks to make a career, others do not. Sometimes connections and the size of your wallet matters, other times the contacts you have prove only to be fair-weather-friends. The shallow contacts with acquaintences, colleagues etc might be good and useful in certain contexts, but the personality traits and skills ought many times to be just as important in the social life and careers we make.
These days are tough because of the restrained economy, financial problems for companies and the urban jungle of treachery and devious behaviour. In this kind of environment owners of and partners in rogue companies too often abuse the situation with shady businesses, internet scams, prostitution, job trafficking, slave contracts, arms- and drug deals. Criminals thrive and violent outbursts occur. Too many companies and authorities abuse the situation in the financial bubble, and the difficult situation that many people are in and who happen to be unemployed.
Yesterday there was this documentary on Swedish TV about a forest company that lured unemployed male workers from Kamerun in Africa to Sweden, and forced them to pay 6000 kronor each to the company owner’s private bank account to let them work for him. Then they discovered that he used shady tricks and lies in the contact with the Migration Authority and the Taxation authorities. He also neglected to pay the promised salary, but instead withheld much money, used two kinds of contracts and kept the Kamerun men in baracks as cheap labour. Modern Swedish slavery. I was so upset when I saw this. Luckily the police, media and the taxation authorities were given this information and now there’s a pending investigation of this rogue company and its owner. The men from Kamerun are now immigrants without papers and can’t go back to their families because of their debts, and the shame of having been fooled by this Swedish slave company.
The financial crisis have more serious effects. At the Children’s Ward for Intensive Care at Lund University Hospital 32 nurses out of 45 now leave their jobs in protest against how they are treated by the Hospital Board and Region Skåne. The Hospital Board recently introduced a new salary system that would reduce the nurses’ salary with 2000 kronor each month, and the union Vårdförbundet support the nurses in their demands that they should have their insurance contracts back. At the Children’s Ward for Intensive Care they recieve patients from all parts of Sweden who need new heart implantations. Mats Runsten, leader of the Scanian section of the union says: “We haven’t encouraged this mass leave of nurses, it’s simply a consequence of the employee policy.” The chief doctor of the ward Per Westrin is concerned. “The loss of two thirds of the working nurses would be a heavy reduction in care capacity. They do want to continue working, but their reduced salaries make them upset and that’s why they’ll leave”. Also in Malmoe reductions have been made and the staff at the hospitals here also say that the reduction in staff, equipment and rooms has made the situation dangerous for the patients who no longer are guaranteed a safe treatment. Already patients have died because of these reduced ward capacities. This is also how the financial crisis hit our societies in many countries. This is the ugly side of humanity, irrespective of looks.
The Malmoe Police now have presented their results from Operation Alfred. In 2011 and the beginning of 2012 Malmoe was mentioned in media time and again because of the many shootings where people got killed. Malmoe quickly got the reputation as a gangster city, a Swedish Al Capone Chicago. Some of it is true, other parts exaggerated. Malmoe like so many other larger cities have several faces. Good and bad, calm and violent, law-abiding and criminal, cultural and primitive, working class, middle class and upper class, and no class better or worse than the other. In 2011 and January 2012 ten people were shot dead, and the Malmoe Police and County Constabulary got 41 million kronor to deal with the murders. All in all 95 investigators were involved in trying to solve them. Operations Alfred and Selma were started. Five of the ten murders now have been solved. The killing of a 19-year old at Lönngatan, three sentenced to 15 years in prison each. The murder of a 48-year old man, one person sentenced to 15 years in prison. The killing of 49-year old illegal taxi driver with shady connections, one person sentenced to 18 years in prison. The murder of a 53-year old vegetable salesman killed on his farm, two people arrested. A 31-year old gang-leader shot dead, one person arrested. Five more murders remain unsolved, among them the murder of a 15-year-old school boy in Rosengård. The police have interrogated many, but don’t get many answers. The investigators say that they sense that some people know more about the shooting, but don’t dare to speak. Operation Alfred will continue during 2013, and I wish the police good luck! They are needed.
The work that the police try to do is a service for us all, trying to keep some law and order at least, and are in my eyes mostly every-day heroes. So are the nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers and all others who try to make our society into a little more humane and better place despite all the various problems we see in society. Let’s bow in respect and admiration for all these wonderful people, men and women, born in Sweden or abroad. This is also part of the inner and outer beauty.
Anders Moberg, January the 24th 2013.