A new year has begun and with it new ideas and hopes about what will come out of it, but also fears and cynical comments. In any case like all years it will be a mix of good and bad events and struggles between people of various sorts. Before I begin describing some of the latest events I wish once more to pinpoint the fact about our shared common heritage despite our differences. We live in a globalized world which might be both good and bad, the natural resources are beginning to run out and the struggle for the resources are intensifying as years pass by. Nevertheless there is something in our ways of being humans which connects us and makes us resourceful and good. As it is now there’s high unemployment rates in many countries, and people who are unemployed tend to after a while give up, become bitter and are easily recruited to extremist movements of various colours where the answers are simple and black and white. When we suffer we are most vulnarable, and if we are badly treated we as humans in different ways will protest sooner or later, violently maybe if nobody listens. It might be done through unwillingness to work hard, hateful comments on the Internet, apathy, alcoholism, violent behaviour on bars, domestic violence, suicides etc. Social exclusion and or bad treatment is a feeding ground for anger, frustration, rebellion and clashes between different ideologies. It might be socialism contra capitalism, liberalism contra extremist movements, religion against religion or against secularism or even atheism, young against middle aged or elderly people, men against women. There are many variables. Since the world economy is what it is there are many things which ought to be done in order to easen the problems. On New Year’s Eve I came with a few suggestions on this weblog, but it won’t be easy because of all the tensions and society problems. However we mustn’t give up! Last week a middle-aged unemployed man in his mid 50’s told me that he was very angry about the situation in society and intended to vote for the Sweden Democrats, instead of the other parties. That made me sad, since I still work for building bridges between groups, and have some ideas which hopefully might contribute with some improvements if I’ll get the possibility to see them through.
Three days ago, on Thursday January 9th, three things happened which I will mention here and which might put some lights on the present situation. At about three o’ clock in the afternoon a 16-year old girl was walking through a tunnel in central Malmoe. She was active in the Social Democratic Youth Organisation SSU. Suddenly a group of grown up men attacked her. They had shaved heads and short jackets. The men began shouting angrily and beat her up. They had heard this girl having a speech about immigration and shouted that she had the wrong ideas and called her a “dirty feminist cunt”. Another woman saw the attack and when she approached the small group and asked what was happening the men ran away. How brave. NOT! The girl reported the attack to the Malmoe Police, but yesterday morning noone was yet arrested. The girl is now very scared and shocked and does not know what to do with her political commitment. It is absolutely despicable that someone is treated like that simply for being who she or he is and for her values. We ARE different from each other, and not even in the same family the family members share the same ideas all the time since we also are individuals. Then consider the human diversity around the globe. Still we DO are the same in many respects and that we must never ever forget. I am not member of the SSU, or a teen-age girl, but I feel for her and this incident made me very upset.
The same day we learned through media that the photographer and journalist Magnus Falkehed and Niklas Hammarström had been released after having been kidnapped in Syria. They had gone to Syria in the beginning of December to make reports from the civil war, and a few days later on their way home they were kidnapped by bandits at a road blockation. The two Swedish reporters were badly treated, beaten up and went through several mock executions. Absolut terrror. A few days ago they were however released after serious diplomatic efforts to get them loose. Now Magnus Falkehed and Niklas Hammarström are back home with their families. The situation in Syria is extremely complicated and extremely dangerous. Various groups standing against each other, kidnapping and killing each other. As in all wars absolute havoc and degraded humanity. But also in wars kindness and brave efforts are made to make something good, but that goodness are often in serious situations mocked, mutilated and killed too – leaving us a depraved, degenerated and cynical human existence. Still that embryo of shared human bonds within the groups, between the sexes and cross the borders are necessary for our best traits of kind human kind.
Also this last Thursday I had a conversation on Facebook with a young woman in Israel. Between 2000 and 2003 she had me as one of her teachers in lower secondary school. Back then – when she was 14-16 years old – she wasn’t exactly dilligent, even though absolutely not stupid. She was a nice girl and with high integrity. This young Jewess was special in some ways. She was pupil in a school where most families were muslims and the antisemitic ideas were strong. Despite this she became very good friends with a Persian girl and two Arab girls in the parallell class. I happen to know that their friendship lasted all through upper secondary school too since I continued talking with them occassionally. I loved seeing their friendship and their strong integrity despite the hate, suspicion and prejudiced notions. I admired and deeply respected these young women for this. It also inspired me to describe this friendship briefly in my second novel Heder eller samvete? which is set in the summer of 2006, the summer when they just had graduated from upper secondary school. The novel exists in two versions from 2009 and 2010 respectively. The Jewish young woman then met a man from Israel two years later and moved down there, studies medicine at University, got married and started a small family. She told me three days ago that she still has contact with her Persian friend who also was at her wedding. Marvellous! I love it! The picture above is Ester, the Jewish Biblical heroine who saved the Jews in Persia from extinction. Here below you see another painting which I once made for the Jewish Student Club in Lund showing another scene related to their history.
Yesterday we also learned that Ariel Sharon who was Prime Minister of Israel has died. He was a man who was both loved and hated. He was born on February 26th 1928 and was as a young man member of the organization Haganah during World War II and in the war of 1973, Milhama ha-Yom Kippurim, he was in command and defended Israel against the surrounding countries who tried to annihilate the Jewish state. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 Ariel Sharon was in charge and also responsible for the massacre on refugees in the camps of Sabra and Shatila. This horrible massacre on Palestinians led to that Ariel Sharon had to leave his post the following year. Ariel Sharon was also one of those who founded the conservative party Likud in 1973 and in the hostile environment of neighbouring countries who wished and still wish to see the annihilation of the Jews and the Jewish state he took a just as harsh and brutal approach against the Palestinians. For many Israelis he was and is a military war hero, defending the Jews against their enemies, while the Palestinians see him as a devil and war criminal. In 1999 Sharon became party leader for Likud and in 2000 he initiated the walk to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where the Al Aqsa Mosque is located, which angered the Muslims and started the second intifada. The first began in December 1987 and lasted several years. Sharon supported for a long time the Jewish religious settlers in Hebron and other areas, and in 2001 he became the Prime Minister after Ehud Barak. With time he began to feel that the hard line approach against the Palestinians had to stop and wanted negotiations with the PLO, Asha’f. In 2005 Ariel Sharon left Likud and started the more Liberal party Kadima/Forward, and also initiated the forced migration of Jewish settlers from Gaza while Palestinians were given Jericho. This made the Jewish settlers very angry and in 2006 Sharon suffered a stroke and has since then been in coma. As Prime Minister he was succeeded by Ehud Olmert.
The rub here again is extremely complex. The Jews and Arabs share a common history and as proven by anthropologist Yossi Nagar Jews and Arabs are genetically through their DNA the same people. There is no genetic difference at all between them. When our ancestors left Africa some time 70 000 years ago they first came to what’s now Yemen, and in a few thousands years groups had settled in what’s now Israel. People tend to move and create new customs, languages and notions. 4000 years ago the Ismaelites/the Arabs and the Jews were divided and became two different cousin peoples. The Jews and Arabs have continued to strife about the same area for thousands of years. The Jews see themselves as the original and chosen people, while the Arabs who spread Islam through Mohammed see their religion as the last and best, (which I as a secular Christian with partly Jewish roots disagree with). Islam has several holy places where Jerusalem is one of them, while the Jews only have one country and one holy city, Jerusalem. The struggle here is a continued fight about who owns the land, who has the right to the holy places and the Temple Mount, but also the houses and natural resources. We have a tendency to put blaming fingers on this or that group and saying that if this or that group moves away or disappear from the face of the Earth things will get so much better, while in reality all we see are different reflections of ourselves and our own families. If we are to survive as a human species we have to reconsider a lot, and try to see how we might work together in this tough world. Will we ever see each other as fellow human beings instead of contra human beings? I will later dive into the notions of employment, dialogue and education. Please follow that. You may also read these two earlier texts from this weblog: http://www.andersmoberg676.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/different-but-the-same, and http://www.andersmoberg676.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/our-different-values-behaviour-and-judgement-of-others. With this I wish you a good day. Bless you all, and take good care!
Anders Moberg, January the 12th 2014