Happy New Year!! Today it’s December 31st 2013 and in a few hours we’re going into the next year 2014 – according to the Christian counting that is. Other cultures and religions have other new years and countings naturally, but still. The bus is a vehicle which might take us into the future, bringing us comfort and security with lights in a sometimes dark and troubled world. It’s also a vehicle that might make the pollution less bad, and therefore preferable for the environment. Since the dawn of human existence we as creatures have been problem solving and resourceful in various ways. Building bridges over waters has been one way of creating safe passages to move to and fro in our natural habitats, just like the bridge above near the Central station here in Malmoe. These photos which I took on December 14th may here represent these topics, bringing us hope, fighting-spirit, but also remind us of how important it is to shape inter-human bridges in the present and continous society building which we all must participate in.
Now it’s 4.30 in the afternoon, Swedish time, and in seven and a half hours the new year 2014 has just begun. We have many reasons to worry and be cautious during the coming year, but also reasons to be joy- and hopefull. Every year is always a mix of good and bad events, personally, locally, nationally and internationally. Naturally we might expect new tragedies, accidents, scandals and problems of various sorts, but also many things which will bring happiness, reasons to be proud, happy and hopeful about humanity and the world we live in. One tragedy in my eyes is that “we” too often look for flaws and mistakes in others, in dissidents, people with other thoughts or life styles than our own, interpreting someone’s actions as being wrong, scandalous or devious, while that particular individual might not have had any devious hindthoughts at all, but simply acted according to his or her ideology and conviction. What annoys me is the joy many seem to feel in looking for mistakes, coming up with abusive expressions, condemnations and thoughts about individuals or groups they don’t like – and we see it everywhere in all groups. Shouldn’t it be better to try and see what might be done to solve certain troubles and what we have in common instead?
Something that troubles me greatly is the growing Fascism, Neo-Nazism and racism in society. Extremism both to the right and left, religious extremism of different sorts is also deeply problematic. We live now in a time with continued unemployment, cut downs in our wellfare systems, in schools, on hospitals, increasing violence and crime, difficult times for companies to survive and a cynical treatment of people. The anger and frustration in society, the minimized hope and depression which exist in many groups is not strange at all. However it leads to escalating frictions between individuals and groups, and that is dangerous. In September 2014 there’s the next election here in Sweden, and the now seven political parties in Parliament/Riksdagen and the Government/Regeringen are preparing for it. In days of social turmoil groups tend to blame each other or be put against each other by those who would love to see a further division in society. However pointing blaming fingers on this or that group or this or that scape goat will not really solve any deeper society problems. Here are however some of the things in my eyes which ought to be remedied, or at least attempted to be solved on shorter and longer terms:
- Finding finances to get people into employment so that they get a better financial foundation to stand on. This will improve their self pride, lessen the risk for domestic problems: partner battering, child abuse, alcoholism, gambling and prostitution. All these things are connected. Make the unemployment as short as possible.
- Look to the human resources, not as “free” unpayed workers but as soon potential payed employees. That will make the risk less prominent for disloyalty, troubles at work, rebellion against bosses, authorities or government.
- Listen in with respect also those who do not share your own views.
- Stop harrassing and abusing those who don’t share your own ideology.
- Stop using political terrorism, bombs, assassinations, assassination attempts. and crude threats.
- Try to see what we have in common.
- For employers: treat your employees well, show them appreciation and respect. That will improve their loyalty and REAL respect.
- Make it easier for small and medium-sized companies to survive and thrive. Lessen their tax burden and make it easier for them to employ people, that will lessen the risk for corruption, improve the economy not only for the company, but for the region and nation as well.
- Look to both natives and people with immigrant background, both women and men as well as different generations. We all have skills and good perspectives on things. Find a balance to easen the conflicts.
- Improve the schools with a combination of settling grades, modernization, combined modern and classical subjects, trust for the teachers’ competence, improvement of the teachers’ status, a combination of national survey of grades, parent talks, and discipline.
These are some of the things I want to see done. 2014 will not be perfect and neither will we as individuals. We will see a combination of successes and failures, but we will nevertheless have the persistence in doing what we can for the world we live in. I am proud of being a Swede, proud of my country and city I live in, but improvements can and must be made. We can all do our own part. That is absolutley vital. Not just a little bit, but exceedingly so. Let’s face the new year 2014 with hopeful anticipation and do the best possible of what will come. I will do what I can to make our world at least slightly better. I will not give up! Please, join me!!
Anders Moberg, December 31st 2013