An October concert

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It was a beautiful Autumn evening that Friday night on October 10th this 2014 when I was walking to a concert in central Malmö. I had recieved the invitation from one of the women who was going to perform that night – Tanja Naranjo, singer, composer and piano player born in Chile, but living since several years back here in Malmö. I  can’t say that I know her very well, but I have met Tanja on a few occassions and have her as friend on Facebook. The first time I met her about ten years ago she was having music courses for pupils at the school where I used to teach. She had invited me now to one of her concerts that she was going to have together with another exquisite female musician, Minna Weurlander who plays the accordion.

Minna Weurlander was born in Finland in 1973 and began playing at the age of four. When she was 14 years old Minna started at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. She plays everything from Bach to modern classics, Finnish tango and Argentinian tango nuevo. The classical accordion player Astor Piazzolla has been one of her inspirations, and Minna has also won The Astor Piazzolla Award together with Trio Fatale consisting of Minna herself, piano player Berit Johansson Tange and cellist Berit Hessing. The trio was formed in 1997. You find more information about Minna Weurlander on http://www.minnaweurlander.com, and might reach her on info@minnaweurlander.com.

Minna and Tanja crossed paths some years ago and began a friendship via their love for tango nuevo. Tanja Naranjo’s debut CD was called “La industria del miedo” which was recorded at the STC Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. Tanja too has been working with a trio called Tanja Naranjo Latin Trio, consisting of Tina Quartell on drums, Mats Ingvarsson on bass and herself. You find more about Tina on http://www.tanianaranjo.se and reach her on contact@tanianaranjo.se.  In August 2012 Tanja was performing on Faeroe Islands at the festival “Súmmartonar” and in October the same year at the Ethorera Festival in Poland. In 2013 she was playing at the European Festival of the Night. She is used to touring both Europe and Latin America.

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These two women have been performing together for some time now as “Duo Naranjo-Weurlander”, and are co-operating very well together. The music they play is a combination of tango nuevo classics and pieces they compose themselves. Tanja Naranjo and Minna Weurlander both have a passion and intensity in their musical performances. They seem to be musical souls and kindred spirits in how they combine their individuality and inspiring each other at the same time.  The combination of Chile and Finland is exquisite, no doubt.

They now have released a new CD named “Entwinedand have begun a European tour with their music, starting here in Malmö. In November 2014 they will continue in Paris, France and then move on to Hamburg, Germany. The following concerts will be held in Strömstad, the Danish capital Copenhagen, then touring Sweden with concerts in Eksjö, Sävsjö, Värnamo, Vetlanda, Huskvarna, Nässjö och Gislaved.

At the Victoria Theatre/Victoriateatern Duo Naranjo-Weurlander had a great performance. I arrived there around 7.10 pm and took my seat. It was a picknick concert so the guests were bringing food and drink which we were eating and drinking while we listened to the performing artists. By the table next to mine were three Finns enjoying the perfomance. On February 17th 2012 journalist Alexander Agrell wrote a music review in the newspaper Sydsvenskan/the South Swede about this duo. Translated into English he wrote: “Beauty and drama in intense coexistence. Here the rhythm and combined tones never fail… Naranjo’s composition “Andes” was very beautiful with harmonies and a feeling which had lots in common with Piazzolla’s tango nuevo”. After having listened to Tanja and Minna performing on October 10th I can only agree that these ladies really know what they are doing. The two hour concert including a fifteen minute break was well worth the money and honey for the ears and soul.

As I walked back to Gustav Adolfs torg to take the bus home my mind was filled with the beautiful music which was well combined with the feeling and air of that night.

Anders Moberg, October 24th 2014

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One week after the Swedish elections 2014

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Exactly one week ago, on Sunday September 14th 2014 I was standing outside the Kirseberg school not far from my home handing out voting notes for the People’s Party the Liberals. It was election day in Sweden. According to the Swedish democracy system we have new national elections to municipality boards, called kommunval, provincial boards, called landstingsval and the national Parliament, i.e. Riksdagsval every fourth year. The last three elections were held in 2002, 2006 and 2010. September 14th 2014 was a sunny and beautiful day, almost Indian Summer. The first photo in this article was taken that day at 6.45 p.m. My second photo was taken eight days before the election day in Limhamn, western Malmö. Last Sunday I took the voting notes for my party and walked to the school yard, handed notes to the election staff who handled the procedure locally and then took up my post outside the school building together with representatives for the other parties. The first general election for ALL adult Swedish citizens, both men and women, was held 93 years ago in 1921. The Swedish parliament as such was generally formed in the 17th century, but has developed over time. In the beginning the Swedish Parliament, i.e. Riksdagen, was divided into four states called Adel, Präster, Borgare och Bönder, Aristocracy, Priests, Bourgoisie and Farmers. The modern form of the Swedish Parliament though has existed for about 200 years.

The Parliament, Riksdagen, today has MP’s from eight political parties: the Left Party, the former Communist party. Then there are the Labour Party the Social Democrats, and the Environment Party the Green in the left red-green bloc. Then we have Centern, the Centre, the former Farmer Union, originally a party for rich farmers and entrepreneurs in the rural areas. The People’s Party the Liberals, a social liberal party for entrepreneurs, teachers and bourgois intellectuals mainly, the Christian Democrats who were formed by representatives from the free churches in the early 1960’s and Moderaterna, the Conservatives. Since 2010 also the ultra nationalist Sweden Democrats with originally Nazi roots have entered the Parliament in 2010. Since they do have Nazi roots and a quite xenophobic agenda the other parties look upon them as a kind of pariah. When they got votes enough to get MP’s in Parliament in 2010 the basic national law was changed to say that Sweden is a multi-cultural nation in order to defy their goal of ethnic cleansing and white supremacy policies. Apart from the parties in Parliament there are also many other smaller parties such as Feministiskt Initiativ, Piratpartiet, Kommunisterna, Sveriges Pensionärers Intresseparti and others. A party must be able to break the four percentage bar in order to get representatives in Parliament.

During last Sunday citizens in the area came to vote. Some went straight into the school to make their political choice, while others took notes from all of us who stood there handing them out. Other voters showed very clearly which bloc they prefered by taking notes from only one side, but disdainfully neglected the other. Some people who came to vote made remarks. Some were nice and merry while others looked stern and decisive. The atmosphere among us who handed out vote notes were mostly rather cheerful, and even a young Communist man was chatting along with a representative from the Sweden Democrats. During a few moments you could sense a tension between some of us because of the different ideologies. Representatives from Feminist Initiative, The Animals’ Party and the Direct Democrats who are not represented in Parliament also showed up to hand out their notes. At one point some police officers showed up to check that all was well. When I talked to them they explained that they were checking all the local election halls in town and said that there were no troubles anywhere in Malmö, and that everything was handled with professionalism and calm. I remember that I read a comment on Facebook that an immigrant somewhere in Sweden had talked to one of my party fellows and said he was so surprised about the calm atmosphere in the election hall. He had said that in his home country there would have been strong conflicts, abuse and lots of blood, maybe even murders. Almost 86 percent of the Swedes voted last Sunday, and in most places nationally all went well, but with a few exceptions. In some areas of Stockholm Nazis from Svenskarnas Parti, the Swedes’ Party stormed into elections hall, intimidating, stealing notes and destroying things. In Rinkeby, a suburb with lots of immigrants people were harrassed by sympathisers of the Islamic State, and Hizb ut-Tahrir.  Hizb ut-Tahrir has the goal to abolish democracy and introduce shari’a laws in the country. These people tried to persuade passers-by in that area not to vote and participate in the democratic system. Apart from these few extreme cases all was calm.

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The evening came and the votes should be counted. I went to wait the results out with my party fellows at a hotell in central Malmö. I was discussing with several of them and the tensions were building for what was to come. We have members from all kinds of groups, also ethnically. A group of Liberal Kurds also visited the hotel. One of them, a young man in his early twenties used to be one of my pupils some years ago and we chatted along amically. In the beginning the mood was high and also the first results seemed to be good for us, but as the evening progressed it became quite clear that our party and the Centre-Liberal-Conservative Alliance would loose the power after eight years in Government position. Almost all parties in Parliament made worse and sometimes much worse results than expected. Only one party gained lots of votes and became Sweden’s third largest party and that was the Sweden Democrats. A smiling Jimmie Åkesson was cheered by his followers while all other parties were in shock. The Sweden Democrats ended on 12.9 %, and in most places here in southern Sweden they got between 13 and 30 % of the votes and quite high also in many other parts of Sweden too. At the end of the evening Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Conservative Prime Minister said that he would hand in his letter of resignation the following day and also proclaimed that he intends to end his time as party leader for the Conservative Moderaterna this coming Spring 2015. Shouts of dismay and protest came from his party members.

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The atmosphere in the rooms where me and my fellow party members were were not exactly joyful. Gloomy is a more accurate word for it. On Monday September 15th 2014 Fredrik Reinfeldt resigned as Swedish Prime Minister along with the Alliance of Moderaterna, Kristdemokraterna, Folkpartiet Liberalerna and Centern. Now the Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfvén was asked to form a new government. This past week has been full of events and different ideas in social media about what has happened and what is to come. Stefan Löfvén first met Jonas Sjöstedt from the Left Party, the former biggest Communist Party. They have been campaigning together, but Löfvén instantly told Sjöstedt that he doesn’t want to have him and the Left Party in government. He wants to be free to seek co-operation with the smaller bourgouis parties Centern and Folkpartiet Liberalerna. Stefan Löfvén and the Social Democrats has to present a viable and plausible budget, but the bourgois Alliance parties intend to present a common budget in opposition this Autumn. The Sweden Democrats now have 47 seats in Parliament and will gain the Vice Spokes Man-role. Per Westerberg, the Conservative Spokes Man in Parliament shook hands with all the party leaders but Jimmie Åkesson from the Sweden Democrats. Anders Borg, Conservative Moderat and now former Minister of Finance has just like the Moderate leader Fredrik Reinfeldt said that he now resigns from politics, and the Party Secretary for my party Folkpartiet Liberalerna, Nina Larsson, proclaimed the other day that she will leave that position in order to be replaced by Maria Arnholm, the former Minister of Gender Equality.

Stefan Löfvén has had talks with the party leaders from Miljöpartiet de Gröna, Centern, Folkpartiet Liberalerna and Kristdemokraterna. Maybe he and the Social Democrats intend to rule only with a small minority government party, maybe together with the Environment Party the Green. In any case he has discussed to keep co-operation in certain issues with the bourgois Alliance parties, such as nuclear power, defence and the school system. The idea is to continue blocking the Sweden Democrats from influence. Löfvén has a problem though, if his red-green budget is presented and voted down, the Alliance parties present their budget in opposition and the Sweden Democrats vote for their budget instead Löfvén’s government will fall and there will be a re-election. Löfvéns problem will continue in every single case during his time in power for every issue.  Something will happen, the question is  when.

During this last week there have been many articles written and theories presented about why the Sweden Democrats have gained 13% of the votes nationally and in certain areas 17-35%. Then again in other areas they have almost no representation or none. The real Nazis, Svenskarnas Parti has gained zero % in the elections since they are so extreme, while their slightly less extreme counterpart Sverigedemokraterna has gained much more. SD-sympathisers have in recent years been bullied and harassed by left-wing sympathisers, in the press and by other parties. Still they have grown. Some of their voters have now explained in articles, on weblogs, interviews on Radio and TV why they have voted for the Sweden Democrats. It seems that angry and frustrated people who have lost their jobs, seen factories and companies shut down, have voted that way since they dislike the foreign competition. The Sweden Democrats have their strongest support in 1) areas close to suburbs with lots of immigrants in the cities, 2) in villages and communities on the rural countryside. Their voters say that they have been neglected and forgotten, and out of frustration have voted that way. The beheadings made by ISIL terrorists these last months, the attacks on Christians, Yazidi Kurds and other Muslims abroad, along with the planned IS attacks in Australia, Norway and the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium have also been strong influences. Also the former Social Democrat Prime Minister Göran Persson mentioned earlier today the struggle between the big cities and the countryside considering what preferences they have. In the three largest cities Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö the other parties are strong, even some who are not even in Parliament such as the left-wing Feminist Initiative. Many people in the cities find gender equality, green issues and healthy living important, but on the countryside it’s more important to have cars, bus lines and train stations in order to go to and from work or visit friends and relatives.

Real racism too does exist in the Swedish society and some of their voters really are racists and have very foul ideas about people with other skin colour, and very prejudiced notions about foreigners in general. The Migration Authority has said that they need another 47 Million kronor extra to deal with the immigration the next coming years. The sometimes lack of integration and lack of free flats and houses to take on the new immigrants have also contributed to the changed attitudes. Protest marches against the SD progress have been held this week in several places, and immigrant organisations around Sweden have claimed that they intend to go on a strike on October 1st to show people that without their work Sweden will stop. There do exist problems with the integration and cultural collisions, and not all SD-sympathizers are racists. We must also open up for true discussions about prosperous and good examples of integration, but the problems with housing, religious and cultural beliefs, honour-related oppression and murders as well. If we do not discuss these things and try to deal with them accordingly the problems will increase, never doubt that.

However, we must remember…Blaming immigrants for being who they are aren’t okay, and we do have a responsibilty to take on refugees and other immigrants… At least to some extent. Racism and xenophobia exists in all countries and religions, just as family values and wisdom. We are all humans of the same human race all over the world with both similarities and differences. How we will deal with both the problems as well as good development of integration, competition and co-operation in society is an open question as yet. How the political parties including my own will develop and deal with the troubles and excesses of the world is another. One good thing today though was yet another kippa-walk held against antisemitism. This time performed in Gothenburg in western Sweden. Will our future be a rising journey to better models on a clear blue sky or will the Swedish and human road become solemn, Fascist and dark with just a few beacons of light?

Anders Moberg, September the 21st 2014

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The excellent school example in Landskrona and Liberal school politics

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The city of Landskrona, on the Scanian west coast, an old town with a shipbuilding yard, ro-ro ferries to the island Ven in the middle of Öresund, industries, an old fort and also in recent years quite a few immigrants from both other parts of the country and other parts of the world was during the 1990’s and early 21st century known as a quite troublesome town. Quite often there were fights, racism, people who behaved badly, damages, burglaries and other serious crimes committed. The schools in Landskrona too had lots of problems. However, improvements were on the way. One strong politician who dared to deal with the problems in a constructive way was the liberal politician Torkild Strandberg. Landskrona was in the 1990’s and first years of this millennium ruled by the Social Democrats, but Torkild Strandberg and his party colleagues from Folkpartiet Liberalerna/the People’s Party the Liberals had 3-7 seats in the Municipal Board, and they thought that the Social Democrats had too little focus on knowledge acquiring and education and too much focus on seeing the pupils and families as victims.

Then in 2006 the People’s Party got the chance to rule locally. Landskrona has the last eight years been ruled by the coalition Folkpartiet Liberalerna, Moderaterna, (the Conservatives) and Miljöpartiet de Gröna/the Environment Party the Green. Folkpartiet has an old tradition to work for schooling. (In fact public schools for all Swedish children was introduced already in the 1840’s after suggestions from the Liberals). Of course there still are problems in Landskrona, but since 2006 the local schools and the education system has gradually improved. Here is part of the story.

In the first photo above you see Lisa Flinth. She is Head of Landskrona Municipality Education Board/Landskrona Stads Utbildningsnämnd. What Lisa and the others did when they got more power behind their words was to put more focus on learning and believing in every pupil’s positive potential, from the kindergarden to the adult education. The People’s Party succeeded in getting a broad acceptance politically for their plan, despite sulky comments and intitial objections from the local Social Democrats. The plan has put focus on several items:

  • Knowledge acquiring
  • Language development
  • Mathematics
  • That the grades should heighten to at least the national level.
  • Less vandalization and calmer school environment.
  • Improved relations between pupils and teachers, school and family, school and local business companies and municipality.
  • Notice and support pupils with problems.
  • Believe in the pupil’s capacity to learn and improve.
  • Less crime going on in Landskrona.

Every year a document of excpectations is signed by the Head of the Education Board and the schools. At the schools in Landskrona there is a high priority to aid the pupils with the worst conditions, co-operate with the families, include pupils with immigrant background and develop educational methods. The schools do this by frequent evaluations and analyzes. One goes through the pupils’ development month for month, discuss with the education teams, the school leaders and listen in the teachers’ experiences. Everyone try to be a good role model according to their competence. Most teachers in Landskrona nowadays have proper education for teaching, career opportunities for those who want to and also lecturers on a high level. The schools in this municipality have become increasingly attractive in recent years. So called quality dialogues are being used as tools in the development as well as the so called Parent Alliance. A few years ago also a digitalized way of showing and following up the development for each pupil and class semester per semester, school year per school year in every single subject was introduced. It has become so successfull, and the pupils have developed so well the last four years especially that this digitalized model tool SkolFam developed in Landskrona now is exported to other communities and municipalities in Sweden.

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Grown-up pupils studying Sfi, Swedish for immigrants in Landskrona follow a system now when they study Swedish in school 2,5 days a week and the other 2,5 they have work practice at a local company. The Landskrona schools have developed a good form of co-operation with local companies, especially for upper secondary schools, Sfi, and other adult education. The former ship yard OHIAB for instance have arranged apprentice places for those who want that kind of education. Landskrona co-operate with Lund University about an education in Marine Biology. Upper secondary school education in order to become electricians or other forms of industry programmes are well developed.The ship yard and other companies often take apprentice students to make them excellent craftsmen. Pupils in primary- and lower secondary schools have class weblogs, and they too have developed well. Many more pupils and families in Landskrona get a hígher standard on their education and better chances to inclusion, work practice and jobs both on a shorter and longer term than just a few years ago. This much thanks to the Liberal education development of this city.

The Liberals worked hard during the 1800’s to make the schools public so that all Swedish children should have the right to educate, not just a selected few. A law was passed in the 1840’s, but it would take several decades before the full implementation of the new school system with school for all children in Sweden was completed. The Liberals back then also fought hard for the emancipation of women, and women’s right to vote. The first time a Liberal Swedish Member of Parliament suggested that was in 1884, five years before the foundation of the Social Democratic Party. In 1912 the Liberal Prime Minister Karl Staaff again suggested that women should have the right to vote, but it was Nils Edén, Prime Minister in 1919 who in co-operation with the Social Democrats passed the law about the right to vote for all Swedish adult men and women. The first general election was held in 1921… Gender equality and school issues have always been important for us and still are.

As it is now Sweden has a new grading system from A-F introduced by this government in 2011. Some parties want to abolish grades altogether while the People’s Party the Liberals also want to reintroduce a grading system or at least comments about order and discipline. Those were abolished in Swedish schools during the 1960’s, with a disastrous effect. Since the 1970’s the discipline and order, as well as general knowledge in Swedish schools have descended in a tragic way, along with the status for the teacher profession. It just has got worse and worse. In 1989 the then Social Democrat School Minister Göran Persson, later Prime Minister introduced the Municipalization of the Swedish schools, which also many times have been disastrous. Now the Liberals want to make the school system nationalized again. Some teachers sigh over more grades and paper work, concerning grades in order and discipline if that was reintroduced, but the idea is also that the national tests which now are heavy burdens on the individual teachers should be corrected by external censors instead.

When I met Jan Björklund, our party leader, Education Minister and Sweden’s Vice Prime Minister, in Helsingborg a few weeks ago I reminded him of when I in the summer of 2002 sent him and Lars Leijonborg, who was party leader of Folkpartiet Liberalerna back then a suggestion about a new grading system, with more grading steps than what we had in 2002 and also a system for grades in order and discipline. When I reminded him of this Björklund smiled and said that I could say that my suggestions partly had become reality.

Anders Moberg, August 31st 2014

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Trying to keep a sensible line on a global scale

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Since I started this weblog on November 4th 2012 I have written more than 200 articles on it. In the beginning I wrote every day, after a while two to three times a week and now more sporadically. However, as anyone might gather who read my articles I try to be a voice of knowledge, sensibility and reason on the Internet. After only three weeks of blogging this website was discovered by the web page A Better People outside Boston, USA, and they helped spreading most of my articles globally via their site too for six months. Two weeks after they found me I was discovered via Twitter in India and Pakistan. After three months of blogging in January 2013 I had readers on all continents. Now in August 2014 “Swedish heart and soul” has readers in 129 countries all in all. What you see here above is a photo of my blog map as it looks like right now.  Last week one of my readers wrote a comment and said that she wanted to recommend my blog to a competition.

Now and again I get comments on my different texts. Some have been written below my texts directly on the blog, others have come via Twitter. Here are some of them qouted:

“Excellent submit, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure you have a huge readers base already”. (Journalist on Aftonbladet)

“Dear Anders. Your text is historically correct and well written. I do agree with your last paragraphe”. (Johan Magnus von Toll, Switzerland)

“Interesting write-up. I’m particullarly interested in Sami for the obvious reason that there are parallells with Native American populations”. (Daniel Bramshick, Alaska, USA).

“We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with helpful information to work on. You’ve performed an impressive task and our entire neighbourhood can be grateful to you”. (Buy Blackline Elite, Australia)

“Thank you. Find your blogs very well researched and interesting, Thanks for writing about Pakistan.” (Meera Ghani, Pakistan)

“Yes, he writes brilliantly. I’m yet to read this one, a fine man with a lot of knowledge on sub-continent.”…”I’m so moved. You have a magic to create. Each post of yours is a master piece”. (Shivangini Pathak, New Delhi, India)

“Måndagens föreläsning hos MiROi återgiven med bravur av Anders Moberg och på engelska dessutom!”, (Paul Juhlin, polisinspektör, Malmöpolisen).

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What you see here above are the countries where my readers were two days ago. Usually this weblog tend to get visits on a daily basis by readers in approximately 8-17 countries. The countries where I have most readers are those in my photo below.

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Balancing various perspectives in a diversity  in order to keep some form of equilibrium isn’t easy, but that is exactly what I try to do. This however does not mean that there are no rules or limits, because they are important, and sometimes necessary. My hope is that my thoughts and knowledges might have some impact on improving or at least saving some of the more positive aspects of being human, being Swedish and the world we live in. Building inter-human bridges is sometimes easy other times much more difficult… Nevertheless a necessary thing. Those who so wishes also might contact me on my e-mail anders.moberg676@gmail.com. Take good care.

Anders Moberg, August 16th 2014

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Persecutions, competetions, kindness and a complex humanity

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Human kind is not always kind. Many times the contrary. The young man in this photo above is Ali Reza, a Hazar from Afghanistan. Ali has come to Sweden as a single refugee child/youngster after having been persecuted, harrassed and badly treated in his home country Afghanistan. Since he belongs to an ancient aboriginal minority group in that region, the Hazars, Ali and his kindred have been treated as vermin and persecuted. Ali Reza left on a stressful, harsh and dangerous journey through Asia and Europe. Being a refugee is not a simple thing, and he experienced many traumas on his journey here. Many refugees suffered greatly, were beaten, became ill, didn’t get treatment, were abused and tricked on money, used as slaves and prostitutes. Many refugees are left to die, maltreated, die from cold, diseases, are beaten to death or commit suicide from pure agony. In Turkey the police took Ali’s cellphone, and he was arrested. Eventually – after 21 000 miles- he ended up in Sweden, and he says that Sweden is the best country in the world. Here he has found people who have tried to understand and help him, who have listened to his story and treated him with respect. No man is an island, entire of itself. Here in Sweden Ali Reza came in contact with the organization Sweden’s Lone Refugee Youth Organization and has become an appreciated member. In the summer of 2013 he and many others participated in a march on foot from Malmö in south-west Sweden to the capital city Stockholm in the east, a little more than 600 kilometres away. That march was called The Asylum Relay Race 2013 and a new march was held this summer, this time to the annual Alm Valley Week on the island of Gotland when the politicians, journalists and businessmen visited the place. I saw the beginning of that march through my apartment window, and have sent greetings to the participants.
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Being human is no easy matter, prejudiced ideas and hatred, group narcissism and individual narcissism too quite often become obstacles on the way. It has been like that ever since our first human ancestors trod the East African soil 200 000 years ago and before. On this weblog I have dealt with this subject on many occassions in various ways. Read for example

http://www.andersmoberg676.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/the-janus-face-of-every faith/

http://www.andersmoberg676.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/combat-our-inner-dragon-of-fear-and-resentment/

http://www.andersmoberg676.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/avoid-a-new-world-war/

Our human behaviour, both the cruelty, the competative nature, our cunning, but also affection, helpfulness and kindness are two sides of the same coin. To feel a certain group belonging is natural, and as human creatures we tend to keep approximately 2000 -2500 people in our memory, since that is about the size of the larger clans from the olden days. Our humanity has grown since the stone-age and now many groups, nations and ideologies stand against each other.

The problems will increase, never doubt that, the competition and the polarization. But within this humanity kindness, affection will also be important for the very survival of our human species. In every human being there are many traits combatting. We must be kind and helpful for our individual and group survival, but also harsh and sometimes violent in order to defend ourselves and our off-spring. The question is how and where we define our limits individually and as a group. The conflicts today tend to be based as much on group-belonging as on ideology, but also on other people’s perception of how they THINK we are, many times exaggerated and misinterpreted, other times fairly well percieved.

In the world today there are many conflicts and wars going on, Mali, Afghanistan, the clan wars in Libya after the downfall of Muammar Al-Qadhaffi in 2011. The Syrian civil war where many thousands have been killed. In present day Iraq the wars also continue. Now Iraq has two Prime Ministers, Nuri al-Maliki who has been on the post since 2006 and now also Haider Al-Abadi. The Arab League and Saudi Arabia have turned their backs on al-Maliki, and the Islamic, but not Arab country of Iran has supported the introduction of the new Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi. Nuri al-Maliki though refuses to step down. In Iraq and Syria the Jihadists within the IS, the Islamic State continue their slaughter and persecution of non-Muslims, of Yazidi and of Christians and other Muslims. The idea is to implement a strict Islamic Caliphate in first Iraq and Syria, then the Levant, after that southern Europe, then…The Christians in the region are almost entirely wiped out. The Jihadists have painted the Arabic letter “Nun” for “Nasara” on the homes of Christians in Iraq and Syria, but also the Christians in Egypt, on the West-Bank, in different African countries are persecuted, Churches destroyed. The Jihadists have given Christians three choices: pay the punishing tax for non-Muslims called Jizya, convert to Islam or be executed. Captives have been taken, men been crucified, shot or beheaded, while women mainly have been taken or sold as sex slaves or forced to conversion, or killed. The Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers though in co-operation with PKK and the YPG oppose the Islamic State Jihadists and fight back, since the Kurds are seen as less worthy and as enemies by the Jihadists. Right now Yazidis have taken refuge to the mountain of Sinjar in Iraq, since at least 300 of their women have been taken captives by the IS forces and sold as sex slaves, many men killed, but aid has been sent from the USA, France and the United Kingdom to save refugees or at least give them water bottles. Here you some of the latest events:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/13/world/middleeast/iraqi-who-made-emotional-plea-to-help-yazidis-is-injured-in-crash-of-relief-flight.html?_r=0

Recently an IS-sympathizer in Sweden calling himself Sheykh Ahmed expressed his thoughts on the TV-station Al-Hayat in the Arab world. It was hosted by Rashid Hmami, a Moroccan former Muslim, now Christian. It has been noted and spread on social media and the other day another blogger Torbjörn Jerlerup wrote this article on the subject

ligator.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/svensk-is-isis-sympatisor-i-tv-pratar-jihadism/

Does this mean that every Muslim is a terrorist or a potential terrorist? Of course not. There are as many differences on an individual level as within any other group. Extremism and radicalization though is always dangerous, irrespective of skin colour, ideology, religion or ethnic background. Among the three Abrahamitic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam Judaism is the oldest and not at all missionary, which the two younger religions are, in different ways.

Every religion and secular ideology has good aspects and rules for behaviour, family life, good behaviour, respect, decency and self-respect for their own believers. Most people within a group, any group, are good, decent folk and it’s wrong to accuse anyone or hate anyone for being born into a certain culture, with a certain skin- or hair colour, being born into a certain religion or social group. We can’t help being who we are, and love is always preferable from hate. Respect and self respect is of the essence. The word “respect” by the way is Latin and means “Looking back”/”Paying attention to the other”. Trying to appreciate or at least show some kind of understanding for the other person or phenomenon. In the best situations also admiration and love. The ideologies however vary, and sometimes a lot.

Hatred of foreigners and different society groups is a major problem today. Here in Sweden we see Islamophobic hate crimes, burnt mosques, Muslims attacked both women and men, veils torn off and foul words shouted. Anti-Christian hate-crimes: people who show that they are Christians are attacked by people of other faiths or atheists. Anti-Gay and Anti-Lesbian hate crimes. Mainly people on the far right wing, and also strictly religious people from various groups are here often the culprits. Afrophobic hate crimes. People of African descent are being attacked, persecuted, hated, beaten up and sometimes killed or almost killed. The attackers are often people from the extreme right and Neo-Nazi movements. “Vit makt – Negerslakt” /White power – Nigger slaughter” is one of their foul slogans. Antiziganism, hate crimes against people of Romany background. Romany people are being persecuted all over Europe and often outcasts from the society. Romany people have been in Sweden since 1514, and is also one of Sweden’s five officially protected minority groups according to Swedish law since 1999, even though it’s difficult to believe sometimes, considering their status and the treatment of them. Some improvements have been made though in later years. On July 3d 2014 a Swedish delegation was in the death camp of Auschwitz to honour the memory of the captivated and executed Romany prisoners during World War II 1939-1945. On August 2d this year a ceremony was held here in Malmo to commemorate the horrendous “Gypsy Night” in Auschwitz when many Romany prisoners were killed by the Nazis.

As it is now however the Antisemitic hate crimes are among the most luring and wide-spread. The Jews have been in Sweden since the 1700’s and is also one of Sweden’s five protected minority groups under law, but that too is hard to believe. The most aggressive haters and culprits here are Neo-Nazis, people within the left-wing movements: Communists, Environment Party Members, some Social Democrats along with Muslims. The anti-Semitism is fierce, sweeping, deep and with a wish of total annihilation of all Jews. Adolf Hitler is mentioned as a hero and global genocide is preferred. Even if many of these people say that they are anti-racists, that must be taken as extremely partial. On July 31st the Malmö synagogue was vandalized for the third time this year and two days later, on Saturday August the 2d the Rabbi Shneur Kesselman was attacked twice in the evening together with another member of the congregation. The following day a spontanous kippa walk was arranged via Facebook in protest of the hate crimes. I participated for the third time and we were a little more than 100 people who joined this walk. During these kippa-walks with both Jews and non-Jews walking through town together with the male Jewish hat, the kippa, there are no loud protests, no large signs and no hatred. It’s simply a silent protest for the right to be who you are without being attacked.
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Both the Arabs and the Jews belong in the Middle East. It has also been proven scientifically a few years ago that according to their mitocondrial DNA they are originally the same people, even if they separated ca 4000 years ago. Clan division, life styles and religion has seperated them during the millennia and they fight over this region in constant blood-shed. Israel today is biased, the Israeli treatment of the local Palestinians are hard, rough and often disdainful, a wall was built some years ago and very religious Jews have settled on various areas in Yehuda/Shomron. i.e. the West bank. The Gaza strip was left by the IDF in 2005, but Israel has continued to be constantly under attack with rockets from the Gaza strip, Syria or Lebanon . The country’s hospitals as well as Magen David Adom also gives medical help to Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze alike. They also give medical help to the victims in the Syrian civil war between different Muslim fractions. Israel is a democracy where both Jews, Christian and Muslim Arabs, Samarians and Druze contribute, have the right to vote, have seats in the Knesset, and enroll in the army. Egyptian leaders now accuse Hamas of being the most guilty part for the present war on the Gaza strip. It has been said that Israel is an apartheid country. It is harshly divided, and Palestinians are harshly treated, but it’s not an apartheid state like South Africa once was. Israel in modern days was founded in 1948, which the Palestinian Arabs refer to as An-Naqba, the Disaster. Palestinian Arabs were driven from their homes locally, and Jews were driven from their homes in Arab countries. An immense suffering on both sides of the conflict. All the same the Jews belong in the region, Israel was and is their homeland, and Jerusalem is and always has been their holy city. During the long exile the phrase “Next year in Jerusalem”/Bashaná ha-baa birushalayim” was always said. The conflict about Gaza is now fuel for the old and foul antisemitism that spreads like a disease around the world. The Arabs and other Muslims want to annihilate all Jews from the face of the earth, kill EVERYONE around the globe, and wipe out the state of Israel.

Right wing hate groups, Neo Nazis and extreme nationalists are also a grave danger. We see this radicalization grow, and extremists of all sorts, nations, religions and secular ideologies find fuel from each other in many countries. Extreme nationalism instead of more sensible forms of the same thing tend to grow right now. However sense and sensibility in humanity, moderation and wisdom still has a chance. Expansion, narcissistic forms of nationalism, antifeminism, misogyny, hatred of foreigners are common notions among the radical groups. Neo-Nazis, extreme right wings, certain Muslims, extreme left-wings and other radical forms are very similar to each other. They might hate each other, but they are often very similar in many values and perceptions. Exchanging one oppressor for another isn’t perhaps the best choice though. In the end it will lead to the self-annahilation of humanity as a whole as we know it if we aren’t careful….We decide the future.

The Swedish EU-minister Birgitta Ohlsson is very much opposing these kinds of groups. “Different kinds of brown” as she sometimes is calling them. I had the honour to listen to her last weekend in Helsingborg. Also our Minister of Integration Erik Ullenhag is working seriously with these issues. They both belong to the People’s Party the Liberals/Folkpartiet Liberalerna.

Yesterday there was a protest meeting at the Mill Field Square/Möllevångstorget here in Malmö. Yazidi people mainly held a protest meeting against the IS, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and their persecution of Yazidi people who originate from that area. IS sympathisers in Malmö had called some of the Iraqis and threatened them not to go to this protest meeting, but ca 300 people showed up on the square. Kurdish people, (among them Yazidi), some Iranians and Iraqi Christians entered Möllevångstorget. A quarrel broke out among the participants about which flag that should be most prominent. The Kurdish flag or the Iraqi one. Someone also had brought the American Stars and Stripes. Police cars arrived to the square and the rest of the demonstration had to be cancelled.

Being human is no easy matter and human kind is not always kind. What we never ever must forget though is that we ALL belong to the same human race with a shared common ancestry way back in time. We all have ONE Tellus, one Terra Firma, ONE Earth to inhabit and share. Will we do that or kill each other and the Earth? Will we learn to be fellow human beings instead of contra human beings?

Anders Moberg, August the 14th 2014
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The beauty of Swedish summer

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Sweden is marvellous. This country has a great variety of landscapes and climates. Sweden today consists of 25 counties from north to south and in summer time Sweden flourishes in many ways, despite the society problems that also do exist. The avarage temperature in Summer time vary between 15 and 32 Centigrades, and most commonly between 15 and 27-28 Centigrades. In early summer especially the days are long and the sun sets between eight and 9.30 in the evenings. The photo you see in the beginning of this article I took on Midsummer’s Eve in north-west Scania near a place called Höganäs. What you see is the top of a may pole, or Midsummer pole. If you want to learn more I suggest that you read two of my blog articles from last summer http://www.andersmoberg676.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/swedens-national-commemoration-day-last-week and also http://www.andersmoberg676.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/midsummer-celebrations.

When I participated in the celebrations of our national commemoration day June 6th a couple of months ago I also listened to a school choir singing a famous summer psalm. That particular psalm, “Den blomstertid nu kommer”, Psalm No 199 in the Swedish psalm books, is almost always sung when the schools have their gatherings to celebrate the end of the school year and the coming of summer. The lyrics were written a little more than 300 years ago in 1695 by a bishop in Visby on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. His name was Israel Kolmodin. Especially the first two paragraphs of the total six are usually sung nowadays. Since Kolmodin wrote his texts 300 years ago minor alterations have been made in the spelling and a few words exchanged since his days to make it more accessible for the present day Swedes. The melody was already known and also used for other psalms as well when Israel Kolmodin wrote his lyrics. In translation it appears in Norway’s psalm books too as number 763 and in Finland translated as “Jo joutoi armas aika” as number 571. When I heard the school choir sing this Swedish psalm on the Mayor Square/Stortorget here in Malmö two months ago I then decided to make an English translation or interpretation of the text. Here are the two first paragraphs:

“The flower time is coming
with joy and splendour great.
Now lovely summer’s roaming
with green and fertile fate.
The warming sun is giving
a new life to the dead.
The pastures green are living
and rebirth it has spread.

The fairest flower meadows
and seed on noble ground.
The rich and herbal shadows
and all the trees so sound,
will for us be reminders
of wealth so rich-Devine.
Let all of us be finders
of mercy long and fine.”

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This summer has been great for me in many ways. I have made new contacts, got a new job, have been socialising with family and friends and experienced various cultural things. I’ve been enjoying the beautiful landscapes, been swimming on warm summer days, been to theatre, cafés, restaurants, concerts and other events. There are many things to do and to enjoy. I would like to conclude this article with some more photos of Swedish summer.

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Anders Moberg, August the 11th 2014

Important to vote in the EU Parliament elections

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Those of you of my readers who live in Europe, any European country, I humbly ask you…Nay, implore you to go to the election halls in May and put your votes for a representative in the EU Parliament. It is exceedingly important to prevent an even darker and negative development of the political landscape in the different European nations – also in my country. In my photos above you see the EU flag and the Swedish EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson, from the People’s Party the Liberals. She was born in 1975 and has led a long career as a politician, and has the heart in the right place so to speak. In different European countries today we see a sinister and worrying development with different kinds of extremism on the move, Fascism, Nazism, ultra ultra conservative nationalism with totalitarian racist ideologies despising democracy. Also religious extremism of various sorts is another danger which, in my social liberal eyes, ought to be opposed and prevented. That could be done by putting your vote on a party which might do some good in the European Parliament. Not long ago, just a few months ago conservative forces in the EU voted against the rights for women to decide over their own bodies if they needed abortion. The Left-wings, the Green Environment Parties and the Liberals in the EU Parliament voted for this right, while the Conservatives voted against it.

What kind of Europe do we want?  We do have a choice, a Parliamentarism which is of the essence. Certain ideologies want to turn the clock back and abolish human rights, abolish free elections, free choices, want to stop further female emancipation and the development of society. What we see too often now is hate, hate, hate. That might be at least partly prevented by attempts to continue a sensible development of European treaties, international trade and MOSTLY a peaceful process. The European Union is mostly that kind of a peace project, even if it isn’t entirely successfull. If we look back in retroperspective though we see even more wars and persecutions on the continent and in the world. If it hadn’t been for the EU, the peaceful treaties, the free trade, the laws and negotiations we most likely would have had a much worse situation than what we have today. During the National Convention for the People’s Party the Liberals the weekend March 8th and 9th in Örebro t-shirts and coffee cups were sold with the party election poster from the Swedish national elections in 1936…Three years before World War II began. The text on the poster said: “Abolish every tendency to attempts for dictatorships….Vote with the People’s Party”. We now know the outcome. In 1939 World War II was a fact, but they saw the dangers years ahead. The message on the poster wasn’t very popular in 1936, because not enough people had realised the danger with the Nazi rule and with Communism… Still it was very important.  Here below you see a photo of that poster.

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After World War II people were tired of wars and the negative and destructive effects of them. Partly as a peace project what would become the European Union began to take shape. On May 9th 1950 the French foreign minister Robert Schuman signed a document which created the European Coal and Steel Union, consisting of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany. That was the beginning. Instead of fighting on the battle field international, Pan European trade. Eventually it grew and developed even more. In 1950 the Rome Treaty was signed, and in 1985 it turned into the European Economic Community, the EEC. A vast bureaucracy has developed and many problems exist due to differences in national mentalities, préstige, tiresome and complicated documents, expensive journeys etc etc, but still…without it Europe likely would have seen even more wars than what it now has since 1945. For a period of 69 years we have had almost no wars in the region, but a relatively stable development. Let’s continue in that direction as much as possible.

Sweden joined the European Union after a national referendum in 1994. 52 % of the Swedish population voted for being part of the EU. In May 2014 it’s the fifth time we Swedes will participate in the EU elections. 750 representatives will be elected all in all from 28 different countries. Sweden has 20 representatives there now from different Swedish parties. In the EU Parliament they are placed in eight different groups depending on which ideology they mostly share with others within the EU. The Communists take their seats in the GUE/Egl group, the Social Democrats in the S & D, the Environment Party in the Greens/EFA. The Centre Party and my party join ALDE, i.e. “Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe”, http://www.alde.eu  headed now by Belgian Guy Verhoefstadt. The Conservative party Moderaterna sit in the EPP group, the Christian Democrats among other conservative Christians in the ECR, and the ultra nationalists and other minor parties in the EFD and NA assemblies. Our Swedish EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson is very much concerned about human rights, feminism, environment issues and free trade. Here in Sweden she a few years ago established the Liberal Feminist Network “Felisa”. Birgitta Ohlsson is also a vegetarian. We also have other important Members of the EU Parliament, such as the coordinator of Legal Affairs, Cecilia Wikström, Olle Schmidt, an elderly gentleman from Malmoe who has been working with Economic and Monetary Affairs. Now we also have a Liberal candidate originally from Bosnia i Herzegovina, namely Jasenko Selimovic. He is working hard for a continued peaceful Europe. I have discussed this with him now and again and he says that he grew up with Communism, has experienced the horrors of war on the Balkans, the cruelty and madness of ultra nationalism and he does not want to see it happen again. We now also have other new candidates such as Tina Acketoft here from my region Skåne/Scania who like Birgitta Ohlsson is working hard for human rights, against human trafficking, against organised crime, for developed gender equality, and a green development of food resources. However, our most prominent candidate is still Marit Paulsen, an elderly lady who is well liked in various camps. She is mainly into agriculture issues, green issues, food supplies, treatment of animals etc, and she is very efficient in her work, (despite or thanks to her years, sharp wits, and winning personality). Marit Paulsen is also a well liked icon in my party. In the photos below you see first Birgitta Ohlsson, then Cecilia Wikström, Marit Paulsen and Jasenko Selimovic being interviewed, followed by their group selfie.

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Some of the main priorities for the People’s Party the Liberals, Folkpartiet Liberalerna in the EU Parliament are these:

  • Safe guard the right for women to decide if they want or need to make an abortion
  • More jobs on the inner market
  • More women on the labour market
  • Increased free trade
  • Make it easier to study or work abroad
  • Development of scientific research
  • Continued reforms of agrarian policies
  • Combat the legalization of drugs
  • Combat organised crime
  • Combat human trafficking, prostitution, child prostitution
  • Work for increased gender equality
  • Development of a European FBI
  • Development of a European law to protect the safety of animals, and opposing abuse of animals.

I hope that many will participate in the elections in May. Here in Sweden the election day for the EU Parliament will be Sunday May 25th, but you might put your vote on a candidate already on May 7th. Anyway, if you want to safe guard a fairly human dignified Europe instead of increased totalitarianism and ultra extremism then please participate in the elections. For the preservation of a roughly sensible Sweden and likewise Europe.

Anders Moberg, April 23d 2014

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