Human democracy

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Too many of us humans   are unfair in our judgements.

We never try to learn    of other peoples’ lives,

or listen to the thoughts   of fellowhumans’ statements,

if they are strange to us – we kill them with our knives.

Tribal war or civil war, or war between some nations,

from this so many suffer  around our fragile Earth.

Despotic rulers gain from unfair regulations,

the prejudice and ignorance  give hatred ruthless birth.

The prejudiced ideas  of things we do not know

are based on evil rumours  when something bad is done.

The knowledge of the facts  are often very low,

with common suppositions     so many of us run.

When unfair things do happen, then people will react,

the unjust rules and cruelty    make people sad and mad.

Then power-hungry statesmen between them make a pact

that common laws of justice     they never really had.

Democracy is meant   to give the people justice,

and rules which are acceptable by people with a heart.

But many laws of this kind   are never put in practice,

because so many governments   just put them on a chart.

The racism is a problem   between so many groups,

the racist see the others  as creeps of lower value.

In certain cases too   they send their ruthless troops,

but their ideas so twisted   are certainly untrue.

Instead of see the fact  how many common traits,

which link us all together, with culture laid on top,

that we are same and different – diversity he hates.

If this is never realised – the hatred will not stop.

The colour of our skin is merely superficial,

inside we are the same – of common human race.

To stop the racist war – this view should be official,

respect for different ways   should really be in place.

Accept our ways and cultures, religions and our skin,

oppose the unfair things – in every single land!

Defeat the worldly violence, let human fairness win,

avoid the hateful thoughts – stretch out a helping hand!

I wrote this poem directly in English on Thursday, April 1st 2003, and two days later translated it into Swedish called “Mänsklig demokrati”. In many respects this poem is just as valid slightly more than ten years later. With this poem I want to describe the situation in the world as a whole, our common ancestry, but also the problems I see. To me democracy is extremely important, even if it is fragile. We have various beliefs around our world, which sometimes might co-exist together, other times are very different from each other which leads to different clashes between nations, inside the nations, between religions, political parties, between men and women as well as social groups. We are both alike and unalike, even though we all as humans have a  common ancestry. What world do you want to live in?

Anders Moberg, November 23d 2013

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Blinding hatred

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What power in our world makes all us humans blind?
It leads to destruction and cruel and hard demise.
Hatred it is called, which brings the wild and warlike mind,
and struck our kins with pain – hostility unwise.

When prejudice and greed are rulers of our ways

with blinkers for our eyes to stop a clear, wise view

that we are so alike, and wisdom put in place,
then hate destroys our fortune, what’s sound and what is true.

The greedy men they covet, and all the power seek,
and wish to rule as all – neglect a life in peace.
They walk upon our corpses, the ferocious and the meek,
usurp our realms for wars, compassion they will tease.

To lure us into wars, they fool us to hate others.
They fill us with their lies, and justice always smothers.
Since far way back in time – millennia in abundance –
we humans covet prejudice, and hateful words we spread.
Compassion though is strong, which gives the healing chance,
has also been there always – since we gave neighbours bread.
When humans knowledge seek, each other get to know
they crush the hateful mind so loving care might win,
and not our fellows burn, but understanding grow,
then wisdom in us all will help us see our kin.

The ugly face of racism, exaggerated polemic
which hates the various ways in culture, tongue, complexion,
the haters see it simple, believes in ruthless trick
that they’re always right – put others in bad section.
Among the humans all – in every single group,
we must defy the mental and military troup!!

(The poem “Hatet som förblindar” originally written by me the night to Sunday November 16th 2003, and which I translated into English on Sunday, September 13th 2009).

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Imprisoned Writers’ Day

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Last night on November 15th it was imprisoned writers’ day. It was commemorated with interviews with four and book sellings by two authors at Malmoe City Library. The event was an arrangement between Malmoe City Library, Internationell författarscen/International Author Stage and Swedish PEN. In the big hall Ljusets Kalender/The Calendar of Light at the library lots of people had gathered, both young and old, women and men who were interested to hear what the invited journalists/writers had to say. Those who arranged it all had put up one table for the book signings later, one with some refreshments: soda, water and potato chips and in the back towards the vast glass walls heading towards the street outside the stage was put. On the podium three orange chairs were standing and a small table in one corner. Per Bergström in the picture above, (project leader of International Author Stage), says: “Attacks, imprisonment and threats against a single writer is so much more than the oppression of the individual; it is also a threat against the democracy, the freedom of speech and freedom of press”. Swedish PEN had invited the Italian writer Roberto Saviano, but he was unable to come because of a court trial going on. All the same some writers had come to tell us their stories. They were the Russian journalist Alex Tor, the Iranian journalist, writer, poet now Asylum author here in Malmoe, Naeimeh Doostdar, the Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye and the Ethiopian journalist Mezgevu Habtewold. Rakel Chukri who is Chief of the Culture pages at Sydsvenskan/The South Swede, (born and raised in Sweden, but by parents with Assyrian background) interviewed Alex Tor and Naeimeh Doostdar. Per Svensson also from Sydsvenskan interviewed Martin Schibbye and Mezgebu Habtewold. The event should begin at seven p.m. and go on for a little more than two hours. At 5.30 I sent a message on Facebook to Naeimeh Doostdar that I would come and listen and she gladly welcomed me. We met on the stairs on the way up when she came with her daughter, and I greeted her husband too.

We in the audience learned yesterday that ca 700 journalists are imprisoned worldwide because of their writing, and last year in 2012 at least 44 journalists were killed also for their articles and investigations. Being a journalist can be very dangerous if you say or write something that powerful people do not like, if you critisize the government, the local rule, the corruption, or write about companies, maffia connections, pollution, human rights  etc. Rakel Chukri entered the stage together with the Russian journalist Alex Tor. That is not his real name, and because he has conceiled identity I won’t show any pictures of him.The first photo above that you see I took last night from a publication from Swedish PEN, called “Fängslade författares dag – Ryssland 2013″/Imprisoned writers’ day – Russia 2013”. It contains an introduction by Ola Larsmo, followed by texts in Swedish translation originally written by Aleksei Polikovskiy, Michael Shishkin, Arkadiy Babchenko, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Dmitriy Bykov. At the end a text by Larry Siems called “What’s wrong with digital espionage?” and one by PEN called “Declaration on Digital Freedom”. Alex Tor was an ordinary journalist who explained that he has been writing about the wars in Chechnia and Inguzia in northern Caucasus. But he explained that the press is censored, and it’s seen as very sensitive to write about the situation in Russia, about human rights issues, about the young protesting women in Pussy Riot. His colleague Dimitriy Bykov wrote earlier this year about it: “Believe me. I don’t know where ever something similar would have been possible: the world’s most famous Russian (after the president of course) is on some unknown place, and as long as it is so she might suffer anything – and all this within the framework of the law. Since Nadezjda Tolkonnikova was moved from Mordvinia it is legally kept secret her new residing address. Has her situation  worsened or improved? Does she get medical care? Do they unleash the other prisoners on her, as in Mordvinia? All these questions have no answers. “Never start messing” -That is, I guess, the signal they want to send, not only to the prisoners in the country, but to the nation’s entire population. Nadezjda Tolkonnikova can’t be assassinated, mutilated or beaten – she’s too famous. But they can, without breaking the letter of the law, poison her last three months in prison to such an extent that she, when once released, first must look for medical treatment for a long time, and then have to struggle with the torture of memory during her remaining life.” So far Dimitry Bykov, now back to Alex Tor. He has been writing for a long time, but he said for example that the national budget is hollowed out and destroyed by big sports events, and corruption, but also that free speech is hindered in many ways. There do exist a few inidependent papers like Novaya Gazetta and radio stations in Moscow critisizing the government and Putin, (though under surveillance), but in the Caucasus area it’s more or less impossible to make independent investigations or write anything not dictated from the authorities. He himself now has to live in exile in Europe with an alias in order to survive.

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Next guest was Naeimeh Doostdar whose book “Så småningom gick jag inte hem – Censurerade dikter och noveller”/After a while I didn’t go back home – Censored poems and short stories” I now read. Naeimeh (to the right above) told us and Rakel Chukri that she wasn’t a political journalist in Iran, but focused on social issues, family stuff, women’s issues, but that too was sensitive. According to Naeimeh the Islamic rule and religion was and is very oppressive when it comes to women’s rights and gender equality. There does exist a women’s movement in Iran, but it has in recent years become more and more oppressed by the government. Naeimeh told us about the censorship, about how they checked every letter and word and told the journalists and writers to take away words and whole passages from their texts if they wanted them published. She remembered e.g. how her love poems, erotic passages or only just tender and affectionate ones in her articles, stories or poems were harshly censored. Also when she wrote about women’s issues and when she once described a meeting where people in protest of the message had thrown papers on the floor. She was not allowed to write that. Naeimeh also told us that ca 20 years ago there was a wave of author-killings in Iran where the security forces assassinated many Iranian writers. Since 2009 the situation has worsened, but the dreams of true democracy hasn’t died in the population. The authorities censored her texts, put her in jail for a while, but she then applied for a job in the Czhech Republic. Eventually Naiemeh and her husband managed to get out of the country and fly to Indonesia. There she learned of ICORN, International Cities of Refuge Network, and she is 2012-2014 asylum writer here in Malmoe. She has contacts with some of her colleagues in Iran, and tries to write as well she can, is active on a Persian radio station and writes articles while she studies Swedish for immigrants, so called Sfi.

After this interview the actor Håkan Paaske entered the stage and read an article by Dawit Isaak who is a Swedish journalist with his roots in Eritrea. He has now been imprisoned in Eritrea without any court sentence for 13 years and three months. Before he was taken to jail Dawit Isaak wrote several articles and this one was about the spread and threat of HIV in Eritrea. Years have passed, but the fact that Dawit Isaak is in jail is now and again highlighted in Swedish media, and the Swedish authorities accused of not doing enough to get him free. His family, wife and children are still waiting worryingly.

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Per Svensson to the left in the photos above then interviewed the journalist Mezgebu Habtewold from Ethiopia and the Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye who was imprisoned in Ethiopia together with his colleague Johan Persson a couple of years ago. Mezgebu Habtewold has been writing for the newspaper Addis Nega in the capital city Addis Abeba, and was almost taken to jail, but managed to escape in time, and now lives in exile. He says that he loves his country, and would love to see it excell and thrive, and other countries make investments there to help it prosper. He all the same adds that many grand building projects are started, but many of them also are neglected, stopped or the processes prolonged by negligence or corruption. Habtewold has written many articles and seen the various good and bad aspects of his home country. Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson went in the summer of 2011 first to Somalia and then over the borders into Ethiopia to make reports about the situation in the region. There they were taken captives, accused of terrorism and put in prison. The Swedish state tried to intervene, foreign minister Carl Bildt made diplomatic efforts with the Foreign Ministry, while the Ethiopian authorities maintained a harsh line. I remember a journalist conference here in Malmoe in January 2012. I was then working with some journalists so I participated, and we then gathered money to the release of Schibbye and Persson. Carl Bildt’s involvement in the company Lundin Oil has been a problem though, since they are active in Ethiopia, and the fact that our Swedish foreign minister has stock holds in that company became sensitive.

Martin Schibbye told us that he and Johan Persson had invented a language with abbreviations, J for journalism, T for terrorism, M for the leader of the country etc to keep the content of their discussions secret. They knew that they were spied upon, and the prison atmosphere harsh to say the least. Prisoners snitching on each other to get benefits, and the two Swedes also realised that they shouldn’t try to get free by telling that they were journalists, not terrorists. In the same jail there were several journalist as captives,  simply because they were journalists. These were treated very harshly. Schibbye has a great belief in the younger generations of Ethiopia where he sees another awareness, modernity and eagerness for democracy. He also told us that many things were smuggled in and out of the prison: cocain, hashish, weapons, but one thing was more or less impossible, because the leaders were so frightened of it: books. Some books were accepted such as stories by Astrid Lindgren, “The Old and the Sea” by Ernest Hemmingway, but most magazines and books were labelled as forbidden.

At the end of the evening Naeimeh Doostdar, (whose anthology I’ve written about a few weeks ago here on this weblog) and Martin Schibbye were signing copies of their books for those who wanted to buy them. Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson have written about their experiences in the Ethiopian prison. That book can be seen here below. I didn’t have the possibility to buy it yesterday, but I certainly will. It’s an interesting topic. Maybe also something for you to at least consider the importance of free speech for our present and future societies?

Anders Moberg, November 16th 2013

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Monica Zetterlund in memoriam

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Monica Zetterlund (September 9th 1937 – May 12th 2005) was a famous Swedish jazz singer and actress. Yesterday evening I went to the movie theatre and saw a dramatized version of the first part of her career on and off stage. The movie “Monica Z – A lingonberry twig in a cocktail glass” had its sneak opening on August 10th on Way Out West, but for real on September 13th this year. It has already become the most seen movie this Autumn here in Sweden. It is directed by Per Fly and with a manuscript by Peter Birro. The leading part as Monica Zetterlund is played by the young singer Edda Magnason in the photo above. She not only very much resembles Monica Zetterlund in her looks, but also in her voice when she speaks and when she sings. In recent years it has become a trend to make movies about either still living or recently deceased famous people. Movies about Princess Diana or Grace Kelly, Che Gue Vara or Malcolm X to take just a few examples from the Anglo-Saxon and Hispanic world. The trend exists here in Scandinavia too. In 2010 we could see the movie “Cornelis” about the troubadour Cornelis Vreeswijk (1937 – 1987), the Dutch who came to Sweden at the age of 13, and as a young man began his career as a performing artist in the 1960’s. In Denmark last year came the film “Dirch” about the Danish comedian Dirch Passer (1928 – 1980). That movie too focus on his career from the late 1950’s until his death in 1980.

Monica Zetterlund was a performing artist for a long time, but the movie focus on the years 1959 – 1974, but the manuscript writers have taken some liberties in cronology of certain events in Monica’s life, and her only child Eva-Lena is a small girl at about ten all through the movie. Monica was married three times. The first marriage was with Torbjörn Zetterlund whom she had Eva-Lena with. She was only 18 when they got married in 1955 and it lasted for three years. Her second husband, the bass player Lasse Petersson 1964-1966 is not even mentioned or shown specifically in the movie. Her third husband, the bass player Sture Åkerberg, 1974-1983, has an important role in this film. They knew each other for years and had an affectionate, but troubled long distance love before they got married. The movie ends with their marriage in 1974. In December 1962 she met the movie director and script writer Vilgot Sjöman, and very quickly they became lovers, and moved into a big villa. Vilgot couldn’t cope with her wild life and her constant alcohol drinking however and moved out already in March 1963. Between 1967 and 1971 Monica Zetterlund had a relationship with Steve Kuhn. 1985 – until her death in 2005 she lived together with Magnus Roger.

In the film we get the impression that Monica had a very harsh and troubled relationship to her father Bengt. He is in the film portrayed by Kjell Bergqvist as constantly against Monica’s artist ambitions, ambitions at all, and angry because Monica always leaves her daughter alone or with her own parents. They more or less fostered and took care of  their grand daughter. Tom Alandh, movie reviewer who knew the family well has protested of that portrayal and said that Bengt was much more loving and supportive in reality, even if they had their family skirmishes. He added: “If she (Monica) had been alive today she would have been first in agony, then very angry. And then you would have suffered her fury”…”There was so much respect and tenderness in her relationship to her parents. I felt very strongly that her parents were important in Monica’s life.”. Her artist friend Monica Dominique has said about Bengt Nilsson: “He was absolutely a very loving father, but a bit sulky as fathers were mostly”…”She always called home and told them both good and bad things”. In the research work before the movie the manuscript writers didn’t talk to Monica’s six year older sister Margareta Nilsson, but in most parts the movie has become successfull all the same.

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Monica Zetterlund grew up in Hagfors as daughter of painter and musician Bengt Nilsson and his wife Margareta. When Monica was a child she injured her back and came to suffer from scoliosis all through her life, an illness which grew with time and at the end of her life she had to sit in a wheel chair. After lower-secondary school graduation Monica began working for Hagfors Järnverk and then as telephone connecting assistant for Televerket. She also began singing in her father’s band when she was 15 years old. In 1958 she at the age of 21 came to the music palace Nalen in Stockholm where she performed. There she was discovered both by Swedish and American artists and she performed both in Stockholm and New York. She used to play with Arne Domnérus and his orchestra here in Sweden, and she made a first attempt to get an American break-through in 1960 when she was invited to play with Thad Jones and Zoot Sims. But the white American audience couldn’t accept a white female singer performing with Afro-Americans. Ella Fitzgerald neither accepted Monica’s performance of “black music”, and gave Monica the advice to sing in Swedish instead and things taken from her own life. That attempt to break through in the US is shown in the beginning of the movie and both the blunt racism from the American audience and the words from Ella Fitzgerald, (in the film played by Amelia Fowler), hurt Monica but also influenced her. She nevertheless made an LP in the States with Thad Jones and Zoot Sims in 1960 which was released as late as 1996. Edda Magnason portrays Monica very well as I can gather, and the various complex aspects of her personality. We see the ordinary Monica, her ambition, her egocentrism, her bad conscience towards but also love for her daughter. We see her affections, her troubled love affairs, her growing alcoholism and biased attitude to the stage and audience.

In 1961 Sture Åkerberg who later would become her third husband introduced Monica to the poet, artist and writer Beppe Wolgers. Monica began singing jazz in Swedish to Beppe Wolgers’ poems and other lyrics, and he loved it. He also wrote the Swedish lyrics to “Sakta vi går genom stan”/Slowly we walk through town”,   (originally “Walking my Baby Back Home” by Fred Ahlert and Roy Turk). In December 1962 she met Vilgot Sjöman. In the film they meet first at a party, but in reality they both were involved in the same film project. She at the time also was singing at the jazz club Gyllene Cirkeln/The Golden Circle. Vilgot and Monica were instantly attracted to each other and quickly had a love affair. When he met Monica’s parents in Hagfors Monica’s father and sister didn’t really like Vilgot, while her mother did. He was polite and mature. In the beginning of 1963 Monica bought a large villa on Oskarsvägen, Lidingö, Stockholm which she kept until 1972. They both moved in, but Vilgot wanted a calm life, while Monica was a wild social being. After several quarrels but a passionate brief love story Vilgot moved out. In 1969 Vilgot Sjöman had made a theatre play called “Pojken i sängen”/The boy in the bed” showing a couple breaking apart called Anders and Silla. That play was based on his relationship with Monica Zetterlund. She saw one of the last shows and recognised it immediately. Her own alter ego in the play Silla was however portrayed as a drug addict too, which Monika never was and resented a lot.

1961-1965 Monica Zetterlund was working a lot with Beppe Wolgers, with Arne Domnérus, Povel Ramel, Georg Riedel and not the least Tage Danielsson and Hasse Alfredsson. Hasse and Tage were prominent comedians, film makers, book writers, revue makers and artists during mainly the 1960’s and 1970’s, and Monica became an appreciated artist in their team. Hasse and Tage started the company Svenska Ord/Swedish Words and through the years made many productions. Especially Tage Danielsson and his amiable personality became important for Monica. He supported her a lot, also in her down periods. In the film he’s played by Jörgen Thorsson. In 1967 Tage wrote the poem Det Eviga/The Eternal about Monica. He described in that poem Monica Zetterlund as “A night club queen smelling of barns. A lingonberry twig put in a cocktail glass. A blond Negress from the lady siren visited forests of the county Värmland”.  When Tage Danielsson died from an illness in 1985 he recieved a state burial, because of his popular status in the Swedish heart. Monica then was devestated from grief.

Monica Zetterlund performed in the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest in 1962, 1963 and 1972. In 1963 she won the Swedish competition but recieved  zero points in the international competition with the song “En gång i Stockholm”/Once upon a time in Stockholm. The newspapers were condemning her, and Monica sad for her loss. However in 1964 she recieved a new American invitation and went performing in the USA with Bill Evans, Tommy Flanagan and Miles Davis. In the movie portrayed by Randal D Ingram, Clinton Ingram and Rob Morgan. Now she was accepted and she sang her own jazz tunes in Swedish too. All through the movie we can see Monica’s long distance affection to her husband to be Sture Åkerberg, played by Sverrir Gudnasson. When she’s singing in the USA and it’s broadcasted also for Swedes to hear it, she dedicated one song to Sture, which made his fiancée at the time jealous and furious. Monica also co-operated in the USA with Louis Armstrong, Stan Getz and Quincy Jones, but her closest co-operation was to Bill Evans. Her last album from the year 2000 was called “Bill remembered – A tribute to Bill Evans”.

Monica Zetterlund was born the same year as my mother and I remember Monica from my childhood and early teen-age years mainly. For my parent generation she was mostly a jazz singer, but also a comedienne and actress. I remember her mostly for those later things, as a revue artist and film actress. She performed as singer and comedienne in Hasse and Tage’s stage shows from Gröna Hund in 1962 to Svea Hund på Göta Lejon in 1976. She made small and larger roles as a movie actress, “Att angöra en brygga” /”To chast anchor” from 1965, “Äppelkriget”/”The Apple War” from 1971, the role as the loving and wise maid Malin in TV’s “Söderkåkar”/”South Side Houses” from 1970. She also that year played the part as the former prostitute Ulrika in the filmatization of Vilhelm Moberg’s (not a relative of mine) big epos “The Emigrants” and “The Immigrants” about Swedes who were leaving Sweden for the USA in the late 19th century. She recieved a prize for that role. In 1979 Monica Zetterlund played the step-mother of the Romany girl Katitzi in the TV-series with the same name, after Katarina Taikon’s auto-biographies for children and teen-agers. In 1993 she acted in “Morsarvet”/The Mother Inheritance” for Swedish television. Beppe Wolgers who wrote texts for her in the early and middle 1960’s also made lots of things for children. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s he made the Swedish voice to the bear Baloo in Disney’s “The Jungle Book”, child programs like “Beppes godnattstund”/”Beppe’s good night hour” where he was laying in a large bed with dolls around him. He also made a mixed cartoon and live acting film called “Dunderklumpen” about a mysterious charachter who kidnapps his small daughter’s teddy bears and dolls and their chase after. Beppe also would die too early in the 1980’s, but Monica lived on.

As the years went by Monica Zetterlund suffered more and more from her scoliosis and had difficulties to move properly. On May 12th 2005 Monica had been visited by her old friend Doris Stråhlman who stayed with Monika to the beginning of the evening. She also helped her friend to bed. Then something happened. Monika must have been smoking in bed, dropped the cigarette and the bed took fire. She managed to send a desperate call, but she died in the flames. When Doris came back the next day she was met by police officers outside the apartment. Monica Zetterlund died a horrible death, but she was a great artist, and she will be remembered as such, and of course remembered in love by those who knew her well and appreciated her. Tage Danielsson’s co-companion Hans “Hasse” Alfredsson still remembers his old mates, Tage Danielsson, Gösta Ekman, Beppe Wolgers, Povel Ramel and Monica Zetterlund. When I left the movie theatre yesterday evening I recalled some of my own memories of Monica Zetterlund, the marvellous identification by Edda Magnason, and my own beloved family. The movie Monica Z is worth seeing.  It’s well made and good handicraft with good actors and actresses. If you haven’t seen it yet, why not do it? Here on this link I add a small clip from the movie for you to enjoy: “Monica Z” http://tv.aftonbladet.se/webbtv/noje/film/article15291.ab

Anders Moberg, November 9th 2013

Halloween / Allhelgona

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The word  Halloween might be traced back to the 1550’s and is a Scottish version of  All-Hallows-Eve or written as “ealra hālgena mæssedæg” in Old English. The tradition though is much older than that. The ancient Celts in Ireland and parts of Scotland 2500 – 1500 years ago had four big divisions of the year which they notified. After the harvest season on October 31st the winter season began and the Celts believed that spirits and ghosts of old dead people could return to Earth on the night after October 31st. To keep the deity of Death Samhain and the ghosts away the Druids lit big bonfires  and the people could come to the Druids and get coal to light their own house fires that night. One tradition connected to this was that people who were out walking brought a hollowed pumpkin with lights inside and a carved face. That pumpkin head was eventually called “Jack o’-lantern”, and symbolised Jack the Smith who had been very cruel and forbidden to come to Heaven. Jack also tricked the Devil and wasn’t allowed in Hell either. That’s why he had to walk around the globe as a zombie with a lit pumkin light. A bit like the pumpkin head in the drawing above which I made last night.

The Celts had various gods, but in the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. the Celts were Christened by Anglo-Saxon and German missionaries. Europe gradually turned Christian over the following centuries, and the Christians did not commemorate the death-god Samhain, but they did commemorate the memory of their dead relatives and especially Christian martyrs, the Saints. Pope Gregory I asked his missionaries not to try to wipe out the old traditions, but instead use them and make them Christian by merging Christian ideas and traditions with the Pagan ones. In the 8th century Pope Gregory III moved All Hallow’s Day (All Holy people’s Day) from May to November 1st. Hence October 31st became All Hallow’s Eve. In 998 the Christians again tried to wipe out the Pagan Samhain festivities, but didn’t succeed. However the Pope moved All Hallow’s Day to November 2d to make it a day for commemorating dead relatives, just as we do today.

From the 1840’s to the 1860’s there was a severe famine in Ireland, due to rotten potato harvests, the so called potato plague. Many Irish people migrated to the USA and took their own traditions with them, among them Halloween. The American Halloween celebration has however also been influenced by other European groups in the USA. Dutch immigrants e.g. had a strong belief in spirits and super-natural beings. Germans in Pennsylvania celebrated Christmas in a way that resembled Halloween, and the Brittish immigrants or descendants celebrated Guy Fawke’s Day on November 5th. Their celebration derived from the early 1600’s also looked a lot like Halloween. They built a big doll which they put on fire, candy was eaten, they used fireworks and the children were allowed that day to tease the adults. The Scots in America disguised themselves on Halloween and walked from door to door asking for presents. At the end of the 19th century rationalism began being important and old folklore traditions and superstitions were out. All the same the celebration continued. During the 1920’s the Lions, the scouting movement and Rotary kept the Halloween alive, and from the 1950’s the commercial powers saw the tradition of trick or treat as a topic to make big business of so Halloween turned into a child-accepting family holiday of light and spooky costumes.

To Sweden Halloween came to a few places in Stockholm in the early 1960’s with American merchants, films and an Americanization of the Swedish youth culture. In 1961 the police was called to interfer with a wild Halloween party in Stockholm. It would take another 30 years though before Halloween would begin to enter the Swedish society for real. By 1997 the Swedish newspapers began to notice the Halloween festivities, along with shops and larger malls. From the early 21st century until today Halloween has become a widely spread phenomenon all over Sweden, sometimes separated from other times merged with the Swedish Allhelgona Celebrations. Halloween in Sweden is mostly a youth phenomenon, seen at Halloween parties, in primary school and sometimes trick or treat-walks, even though not that common. The Swedish equivalent to that – small kids dressed as minor witches walking their candy walk from house to house at Easter is much more common.  This celebration of Halloween is nothing that I as a follower of Jesus Christ can accept, and I happen to know that this mostly pagan day and night is used by Satanists=Luciferians, witches and other dark magicians to perform dark cermonies, putting hexes on people, sacrificing kidnapped animals and humans (especially children), in Diabolic blood rituals to Satan. This is no innocent holliday, but should be neglected alltogether, or be used for honouring our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

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In Swedish we call All Hallows Eve / Alla Helgons Afton or Allhelgona afton. Hence All Hallow’s Day is Alla Helgons Dag or Allhelgonadagen. When All Hallow’s Day on November 2d 998 was made officially a Christian day for remembering and honouring our dead relatives that day has become an important day for Christians in the Swedish society. Sweden gradually was christened during the Middle Ages, and officially between 1000 and 1100 A.D., even if old Pagan beliefs lingered on in folklore here too under the surface and merged with the official Christian dogmas. The date has changed slightly, but from 1772 Allhelgonadagen was proclaimed to be November 1st. In 1953 it was proclaimed to be the first Saturday in November. The Friday before the real Alla helgons dag is called Allhelgonaafton. The entire weekend Friday to Sunday is referred to as Allhelgonahelgen. Lights are lit on the grave yards, a tradition since the early 1800’s. This weekend is in many Christian countries also used to celebrate the Christian martyrs and/or Saints. Which saints vary from different parts of the Christian world, the Roman Catholic, the Greek, Serb, Russian Orthodox, the Syrian Orthodox, the Egyptian Coptic, the Ethiopian, and other churches. Since the Swedish church belongs to the Reform Lutheran tradition since the 1500’s the Saints are played down, and more focus has been put on remembering our own deceased relatives and other people who have passed away. So did I today when I went to the local church to light candles for my dear ones in memoriam and others as well as for some contemplation. The texts used in the Swedish church this weekend are Job 17: 15-16, Matthew 5: 1-16, Luke 20: 37-38, John 6: 37-40, The Corinthian letter 15: 35-49 and the Book of Revelations 7: 17-19. All the same the Saints have been and are important for many different churches and I end this piece with a wish of peace for you all, and a couple of sketches of Christian Saints from the beginning of the 3d and 4th centuries A.D. Take good care whether you are Christians or not, believers or not. However, I wish to once again warn the readers for celebrating this dark holiday Halloween which actually in its essence celebrates death and Satan. The dark spirits are real, Satan is real, and he rules the world through deceptions, temptations, lies, alluring and enticing life styles and customs, but they have damning and dangerous consequences. Jesus Christ is our only Saviour, he is the Way, Truth and Life itself. Follow him, and turn to him instead of Satan. Jesus the Messiah is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of us and the whole universe. Follow him, not the Dark guy, because he is a decieving fake.

Anders Moberg, November 1st 2013

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