FATTA! – A massive protest work against rapes

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Would you like to get a bottle up your anus? No? Would you like that people, either someone you know or a stranger forced himself on you, mutilate or abuse you? No? Of course not. Then why do that to others? Not all are rapists, but we all have limits within ourselves to consider so that we don’t become rapists. Last weekend I visited an evening arranged in protest against strange and upsetting court sentences where men who have been accused of rape, and the cases strong and severe nevertheless have been acquitted. We have seen several cases of that lately which has sent waves of anger and opposition in the Swedish society. This particular evening was arranged by Femtastic and Crossing Borders. As a former member of Swedish Men for Gender Equality I had been invited and I quickly decided to come, listen, support and report. Christer Karlsson from Män för Jämställdhet (Men for Gender Equality) had invited me and we met when the doors at Moriska Paviljongen had been opened at six o’ clock last Saturday evening, on January the 25th 2014. The young feminists Cleo and Vanessa Marko from Femtastic were those who had taken initiative to this particular political discussion and performance in protest against the rapes and acquittals in Swedish courts. You may contact and discuss these things and others with them at info@femtastic.se; info@fatta.nu and info@ungafeminister.se. We now see a massive protest wave against the rapes and acquittals among women in all ages around Sweden as well as around the world. This campaign has been called “FATTA!”, roughly translated as “COMPREHEND!” or “GET IT!”. FATTA!, http://www.fatta.nu is meant to unite women all over in this protest movement along with those who support them and back them up in various ways. According to Brå, Brottsförebyggande Rådet/The National Crime Prevention Council in Sweden and their research about 100 rapes are committed every day nationwide, but not all are reported or taken to court. Sometimes the one who has been victimized feel ashamed, let down or not believed. Sometimes reports about sexual harrassments and/or rapes are withdrawn. Roughly 6000 reports have come in to the police in Sweden annually the last few years, but there are only 200 court sentences. Moreover many who are tried in court accused of rapes or sexual abuse are acquitted, and the amount of acquittals have risen lately. Some very strange sentences the last two years have provoked an enormous flood of anger and opposition from especially women, but also from men. Inside the hall I walked up to a table belonging to Tjejjouren/The Young Women Shelter Service, http://www.tjejjouren.se. I conversed the young woman behind the table a bit and took a leaflet about sexual harrassments, abuse and rapes written by one Linn Engblom from Tjejjouren Ronja in Västerås.

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Last Saturday evening a panel had been invited where Ida Östensson from Crossing Borders to the left in the photos asked the questions and led the discussions. The young feminists had invited a senior activist in this field, Madeleine Leijonhufvud, former professor in Criminal Law. She has been struggling for the rights of women and against abuse for decades. She is not at all content with the attitudes among her peers within the judicial field, how judges and lawyers behave and think. Sissela Nordling Blanco from Feministiskt Initiativ, a left-wing political party also had been invited. You see her just left of Madeleine Leijonhufvud in two of the photos. Alan Ali from Elektra and Sharaf heroes was the only male in the panel. He is a Kurdish man who was fighting in the streets as a young boy, came to Sweden, lived according to traditional macho values in his youth, being a boxer. Eventually Alan Ali began studying gender issues and became a group leader for young immigrant boys learning to behave well and how to quit the bad attitudes towards the opposite sex. How to be a man all the same. Martina Skrak is a Left Party politician here in Malmoe with municipal responsibility for gender equality issues. The discussions were interesting, but also severe, because of the serious topic.

The last straw which provoked this massive protest was a court sentence from two weeks ago. A 27-year old man had violated a young woman, and during the sex she had repeatedly protested, said “no” and “stop”, but he had continued. He replied “I’m not finished with you yet”. In Lund Crown Court when the offender was standing trial he claimed that he had believed the young woman had wanted domination sex and therefore neglected her protests. He had “recognized the protests” from earlier women, but said that it must have been part of the act. The court believed him and let him go. On January 19th hundreds of people had gathered outside Lund Crown Court in protest against the acquittal. Also in Stockholm and Gothenburg big demonstrations were arranged where feminists of all ages and political colours participated. 3000 in Stockholm. Our EU minister Birgitta Ohlsson, from the People’s Party the Liberals and Liberal feminist was one of those who took part in the Stockholm demonstrations. She is also one of those many women who work hard for improvements. Birgitta Ohlsson mentioned earlier feats, the Swedish law against child abuse from 1979 and the Sex Buying Act from 1999 which makes the purchase of sexual favours illegal, but claimed that the work continues. Yesterday on February 1st there was a new demonstration at Medborgarplatsen/The Citizen Plaza in Stockholm which assembled 6200 people.

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Madeleine Leijonhufvud said that she is very disturbed about the negligence and arrogant attitudes among too many lawyers and judges. Rape cases are often percieved as “women issues” and minor offences instead of serious felonies. The rape victims are often asked degrading questions about how they had been dressed, about their sexual behaviour and sexual record, if they had protested or not, if so how and how much. Those who stand charged for rape seldom get questions like that. There do exist laws against rapes in the Swedish judicial codex, but they have to be sharpened. The Canadian system was mentioned as a role model for cases like these. According to current Swedish law the victim of rape must have been in a “particullarly exposed situation” which is very vague and might be interpreted in various ways, and seldom in favour of the victimized. What’s now demanded is a law of consent for sex. That focus should be changed from the behaviour of the victim to the offender. What did he do, how did he (or she in some cases) behave?

In May 2013 another case occured when a group of teenage boys at the end of a party had been gang-raping a 15 year old girl. She had been drunk, and the boys had taken her into a nearby room, locked the door, taken her cellphone and forced the clothes off her. Then they had taken turn raping her. In court the boys were…acquitted. It could according to court not be proven that the girl wasn’t willing despite her weak protests. What court didn’t pay heed to was that a rape victim might react in three ways; 1) fight back, 2) “play dead” and freeze from fear and shock or 3) play along in order not to get even more hurt. Another case this last Autumn 2013 was a 46 year old man in Gothenburg on the west coast who had met a 21 year old woman on a bar. She had been very drunk and he had followed her outside. There she had fallen to the ground, and the man had taken her to his own flat where they drank some more and had sex. According to the woman he violated her. That man too was acquitted.

According to the information from the women’s shelters and girl shelter services most rapes occur in the homes, and the rapist is in most cases someone known to the victim, a friend, a class mate, a boyfriend, a husband, a coach, an uncle or someone else in the victim’s life. Sometimes it’s a group of people. In more rare cases the rapist is a stranger. It might be a stalker, someone with strange lusts or in crisis. In most cases like these the offender is a man or a group of men, but also women might be sexual offenders.

Femtastic and Crossing Borders had arranged an interesting and important event and I sincerely hope that it will have impact on the situation. The suggestion/demand for a law of consent to have sex has provoked various responses politically. The Left party, Feministiskt Initiativ, The Environment Party the Green on the left wing, along with bourgois the People’s Party the Liberals and the Centre quickly responded positively. Then followed the Social Democrats, and reluctantly the Sweden Democrats and finally the Conservative Moderate Party agreed that it might be good. This last week Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask, Conservative, has agreed that a new commission will work for a new law of sexual consent added to the sexual offence laws.

After the two and half hour debate there was a break. At nine o’ clock artists would perform with Spoken Words, Nasteho, Clara Stjärna, Kristin Amparo, Cleo, Quitto, Behrang Miri and others. Every number performed was somehow connected to the topic of the evening. The artists were good and their message food for thought. I hope that this will contribute to an improved situation in the world we live in.

Anders Moberg, February the 2d 2014

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In remembrance of the Holocaust victims

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Today it’s January 27th 2014 and it’s 69 years now since prisoners from the death camp of Auschwitz were liberated in 1945. They were the few survivors from the Holocaust during World War II. The Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg had one year earlier prepared his last journey to Budapest, Hungary during the Spring of 1944. This in order to save Hungarian Jews from being transported to the death camps by the Nazi régime and their local allies – The Arrow-Crossers. In the Holocaust during World War II, 1939 – 1945, more than six million Jews were killed in various horrible ways. They were persecuted, robbed, beaten, tortured, shot or gassed to death. The Nazi ideology said that the blond German “race” was superior and all other people less worthy. Some people neither had any right to exist at all, but had to be put to death. But not only the Jews were killed like this. Also about half a million Romany people were executed. Later this year we will commemorate the memory of the victims from the horrible “Gypsy night” when more than 3000 Romanies were killed on August 3d 1944 in Auschwitz. Handicapped,Communists, people active in unions, political enemies of the Nazis, dissidents and other intellectuals were also persecuted and killed, ended up in prison or conzentration camps. All in all ca 11 million people were murdered in the Holocaust. In 1999 our former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson took the initiative to make January 27th a day of annual remembrance in the Swedish calendar, and in 2005 the United Nations also chose to notify the importance of this day on a global scale.

Both yesterday and today the remembrance of the victims from the Holocaust were commemorated on many places in Sweden, also in Malmoe. Yesterday there was a service of commemoration in the Jewish synagogue in town. I had contacted them a couple of days earlier about it and was invited to come. So yesterday afternoon I took my darkblue kippa with white edging, and walked away to the synagogue. The service should start at four o’ clock. Two high-ranking police officers were present as invited guests, just as our top politician in town, Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Social Democrat, and Head of the Municipality Board. She was also one of the speakers. Among the approximately 200 guests were Björn Lagerbäck, from the People’s Party the Liberals, who initiated and untill recently was the leader of the Municipal inter-religious and inter-cultural Dialogue Forum. There the different groups in Malmoe meet and try to find solutions on different conflicts: hate crimes, schisms etc, and instead create bridges through meetings: education, seminars and co-operations over the religious and ethnic borders. In the Jewish synagogue yesterday I also saw two representatives from the Pakistani Ahmadiye Muslim congregation in Malmoe, and two others from the Romany Information and Knowledge Centre, Romskt Informations- och Kunskapscenter. We warmly greeted each other when we shook hands. We all use to meet and discuss sometimes.

Yesterday’s programme began with a song by Leonard Cohen called “Dance me to the end of Love”. The singer Adrienne Mannov from Copenhagen, Denmark was accompanied by the guitar player Mikkel Andersen. After that two girls in their early teens walked up to the big Menorah, the seven-armed candlestick in front of the altar and lit six candles for the six million killed Jews and one for the other victims. Fred Kahn, chairman of the Jewish congregation in Malmoe held the initiating speech. Fred spoke of all those who had been killed, and how Raoul Wallenberg saved tens of thousands of Jews in Hungary during 1944, but also how millions were put to death in the vast, cruel genocide in different parts of Eastern Europe mostly. Also how antisemitic notions were parts of the mentality in our society in those days. As Fred mentioned with a famous qoute, it may start with the Jews, but it never ends there, but other groups will allways be persecuted and killed after that, no matter what. Fred Kahn reminded us that the situation today is dire, and not unlike the days leading up to World War II. Antisemitism is growing in several ways: we see Nazis marching in the streets again, Nazi propaganda published, hate sites on the Internet, antisemitism among people’s from and in the Middle East, reflecting the situation also in Sweden and Malmoe, as well as antisemitism in the Swedish church partly. But as Fred also reflected, also other groups are targetted in Malmoe and the rest of Sweden, the Romanies, the Muslims, and other groups too. Transgender people, Christians, people of African descent. Groups are put against groups. In Europe Neo-Nazis are growing in strength along with other extreme so called nationalists, while the Middle East, some African countries and other parts of the world right now are bleeding from internal and external hate and strife from ideological and social turmoil.

One old antisemitic myth used by Christians against Jews in the Middle Ages 600 – 1000 years ago was that the Jews drank blood from Christian babies, which is pure nonsense. The same myth has been reproduced by other peoples from the Middle East in our days. As late as the other week a representative from the Muslim congregation in Örebro had said that Ariel Sharon at a wedding had taken the blood from a baby to drink and serve. Ariel Sharon was no angel and performed many cruel things, but that legend was nothing else than an antisemitic myth. On his way to synagogue yesterday Fred Kahn noticed a sign in central Malmoe which said: “Blood pudding, yummi – Ariel Sharon”. The Mosaic/Jewish congregation has to lay lots of finances on safety measures, guards etc because of all the hatred. About 50% of the local Jews do not always openly reveal their identity because of all the harrassments and all the prejudiced hatred in Malmoe and Sweden. That is why the dialogue is so important to oppose the hate. Earlier today, Monday January 27th, a suggestion was published in the free sheet City, a suggestion about a combined kippa and hijab walk, where both men with Jewish kippot and women with Muslim female hijabs would walk through town as a symbol of mutual respect and acceptance. The last kippa-walk was held in May 2013 when the photo below was taken.

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After Fred Kahn’s speech the traditional Ladino tune “Durme, durme” was sung by Adrianne Mannov and then Katrin Stjernfeldt Jamme entered the podium. As head of the municipality she has emphasized the importance of a secure city, with diaologue, education, green values, social welfare and medical care. She too talked about the victims of the Holocaust, but also reminded us of the Danish Jews which almost all of them were rescued by Danish and Scanian seamen and other ordinary people in October 1943. About ten thousand Jews were then rescued from being transported by the Nazis to their death camps in central and eastern Europe from the occupied Denmark. The Jewish refugees then ended up in Malmoe and Helsingborg mainly. Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh also emphasized the importance of putting light on the horrors experienced by different groups in society, the war and genocides in former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, the worrying growth of Facism and Nazism in today’s Europe. The Neo-Nazi party Jobbik in Hungary where Wallenberg saved Jews from Jobbik’s predecessors the Arrow-Crossers in 1944 has now taken place in Parliament and ordered to make lists on all Jews in today’s Hungary, of Romanies, and political enemies. In Greece Neo Nazi party Golden Dawn has persecuted and killed oppositional people and immigrants there. Here in Sweden the so called Social Conservative party the Sweden Democrats which has Neo Nazi roots and connections now has ten percent of the votes, and more distinct Neo Nazis create disturbance, intimidate and perform hate crimes. The phrase Social Conservatism also is eerily similar to National Socialism, i.e. Nazism. It’s a party with very conservative, race biological and cynical notions, extremely xenophobic and with outspokenly misogyn attitudes. During the Crystal Night on 9th – 10th of November 1938 the German Nazis persecuted and killed 400 and persecuted thousands of Jews all over the realm as a prelude to World War II. In November 2013, 75 years later in the Swedish capital city Stockholm when the Crystal Night was to be commemorated a Nazi group arranged a demonstration. When a couple of Jews with Israeli flags came to the ordinary manifestation in memory of their great grandfathers and others in Stockholm they were angrily told to take away the Jewish symbol by other demonstrators with Hammas banners and red flags. This made the descendants of the victims from 1938 very upset and sad since the day was in memory of their old loved ones.

Willy Silberstein was the next speaker. He told us that his father had been among those who were put on lists by the Hungarian Arrow-Crossers, but managed to get out of Hungary in time, and so escaped a certain death. Gerry Eilenberg, head of the Jewish Culture Association 1945 in Malmoe came here as one of the rescued people at the end of the war. Here he settled, formed a family, got children and grand-children and now a fourth generation has began to grow up. After Gerry Eilenberg’s speech Adrianne Mannov and Mikkel Andersen performed “Gracias a la vida”/Thank you for life”. Finally Rabbi Shneur Kesselman with his black robe, black kippa and big black hat came up to the podium. The Rabbi has a big black beard too and speaks with an American accent. As the Rabbi entered the podium we all rose from our benches and he then read the prayer for the dead, “El Mole Rachamim”. With that he concluded the service and walked out of the room.

Keeping a vicious wheel of hatred, prejudice and evil schemes going in order to kill and mutilate is part of human nature, but the worst traits of our human nature. Since we now live in a time of modern weapons of mass destruction it threatens to turn our world into an increasing globe of death, destruction and wasted lands. Ruined cities, villages laid waste, destroyed infra-structures, scarce groups of people here and there, poverty, famine, small bands of bandits and robbers…maybe. A few good people…maybe, wild animals, lots of dead decaying human corpses –  a human desolation. Then vicious storms, cold blizzards and deep snow destroying remaining technical equipment, killing people and animals. Even more wounded and no medicine. Then earth quakes, drought, heavy rains and floods. Maybe some destruction from the skies? Where will we go? This will be the future for us or our children if we continue on the road of hate. Dialogue is needed for all of us as well as using our ideologies for a good purpose.

Anders Moberg, January the 27th 2014

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GLOBALscandinavia

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In the central parts of Malmoe, a few metres from Lilla Torg/Minor Square from the 16th century, at Hjulhamnsgatan 3 a translation bureau called GLOBALscandinavia has its premises.  You may contact them on info@globalscandinavia.se, +46 (0)40 30 47 47, and follow the company on facebook.com/GLOBALscandinavia. They might be found too at twitter.com/globalscandinavia and on LinkedIn as well as their weblog Global Språkglädje, www.globalscandinavia.blogspot.se.

On Friday November 22d 2013 I had booked a meeting with them in order to make this report. The premises are tidy, neat, fresh and in light colours. The atmosphere is modern, professional and cozy. The walls are white, there’s a common kitchen and dining room, followed by small offices, a bigger room in the middle where some of the translators sit by their computers, the boss in a room next to it, while there are other meeting rooms as well. GLOBALscandinavia has been here for about a year now, and in Malmoe since 2007. The company though is much older. This is the story.

In the early 1980’s the founder of this company, Ralf Hohle Hansen, was studying at Handelshøjskolen, (now CBS Copenhagen Business School) and took a Bachelor degree in linguistics there. Ralf became an authorized translator and interpreter to and from German and English. He started a small firm and got some minor customers in and around Copenhagen, Denmark. Soon Ralf had two partners in the firm SprogData A/S for a while. The company grew and already back in 1983 SprogData A/S got translation assignments from the bureau Bohnstedt-Petersen A/S which imported cars from Mercedez Benz in Germany. That was the beginning of the long-lasting co-operation with Daimler/Mercedez Benz which has been going on for 30 years.  After 17 years in Copenhagen Ralf’s company grew even more and had 25 professional translators translating between mainly Danish and German, Danish and English, but also some other languages sometimes. In 2004 the company won the Danish Gazelle Award for being economically prosperous. About the same time the company changed its name to GLOBALscandinavia Translation and employed some Swedish translators to the office in the Danish Capital City. The Swedish employees had to travel across Öresund to and fro Copenhagen for a few years. According to Delbert Jonsson who has been with the firm since 2003 it was nice to work in Copenhagen. In 2007 however Ralf Hahne Hansen decided that Global Scandinavia had to develop and get an office in Sweden too for the customers there. So a new office for the Swedish translators was opened in Malmö. GLOBALscandinavia also employed freelancing translators to Finnish in Finland, and in 2010 they bought a Norwegian translating bureau in Norway’s Capital City Oslo. A new office for GLOBALscandinavia was opened there. In Malmö GLOBALscandinavia moved its premises to the house next to the first one in 2012. This is where they are now located at Hjulhamnsgatan 3.

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Lisa Åhlén in the photo above is the Country Manager for the staff of the Swedish office. According to the translators I’ve talked to Lisa is a good Manager, both strict, focused on the development of the company and their success, but also on the well-being of the local staff. She came to this company in the summer of 2009. In her youth she studied economics in upper secondary school and then leadership. Between 1993 and 1998 Lisa had her own gym in Hässleholm. Later she got a job at Greif in Perstorp. There Lisa was working first as Chief Financial Officer and then moved on as Sales Manager. While she was working full time for Greif Lisa studied extra progressive leadership at Båstad Academy. Greif after a while realized that three sections in Scandinavia was one too many and closed the office where Lisa was working and Lisa lost her job. Soon however she got the new position as Country Manager for GLOBALscandinavia. When she came here in 2009 the staff had managed the office themselves until then and shared the responsibilities between them. However it was a good decision to get Lisa in place, because under her leadership GLOBALscandinavia is still struggling on. From July this year they have begun to get new customers. Lisa has put focus on management, and has also made GLOBALscandinavia into one of 18 companies within Malmö’s Företagsakademin 3.0/The Company Academy 3.0. That Academy has become an important partner and aid in the progressive work.  Last year Lisa also took in Anna Tinglöf as Marketing Manager, and those two have managed to keep the company flowing.

At GLOBALscandinavia under Lisa Åhlén and Anna Tinglöf the company has put much focus on the CSR-work (Corporate Social Responsibility). In that process they have put up five values working according to and which they try to follow as golden rules: happiness, dialogue, smartness, fighting spirit and sustainability. Each Monday at their weekly meeting they go through what has been done, what is to be done and situations during the last week to see if they might improve even more. GLOBALscandinavia has 12 full time translators at the office, and freelancing translators in different countries as well. To help unemployed youngsters with a suitable background GLOBALscandinavia in Malmoe also has had five trainees of immigrant background from the University this summer, and now two youngsters who want insights in the working field. Lisa and Anna furthermore have lectures in CSR-work at seminars in order to inspire other companies how to succeed and improve.  It’s important for Lisa to keep the staff intact without having to let anyone go. The times are tough, but at GLOBALscandinavia they have the important strength that they quickly and professionally might get translation assignments done because they have several workers in place at the office who divide the jobs between them, and they don’t only have to rely on freelancers here and there.

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Lina Weilemar above is translating texts from German, English, Danish and Norwegian. She studied linguistics and English at Stockholm University. In 2000 Lina was in Amsterdam, Netherlands studying with ERASMUS and a woman there who used to teach Lina welcomed her back if she wanted to. Lina continued her studies at the Institute for Interpreting and Translation/Tolk- och Översättarinstitutet, TÖI in Stockholm where she studied to become a professional translator. In Amsterdam Lina made her Master paper and in the summers of 2005 and 2006 she worked in Norway. Back in Stockholm Lina saw a job application for a Danish translating bureau in Malmö called Inter-Set Translation and stayed with that company for three years. In January 2009 she came to Global Scandinavia.

When Lina comes to the office in the morning she roughly knows what she has to do. She begins with checking her e-mail to see if any new assignments have come in and what the priority for the different translations are. The types of texts vary greatly: technical texts about car models, motors and other engineering material and marketing texts. Also other types of material sometimes. Lina has e.g. translated a text about epilepsy in dogs, and another one about the medical treatment of the skin. Right now she’s working with Mercedez Benz’ home page. The staff at the office has over the years built a data base with lots of words and phrases from previous texts, and apply that when they have to check the accurate expression and word usage. The translators have varied special fields and tend to take certain kinds of texts when possible, but they have to be prepared to take on most sorts. I ask Lina what her preferred texts are, and she explains that it’s marketing texts, sales, brochures, animals/veterinary texts. As we sit there talking Lena explains that they have a good comradeship at the office, a laid-back but professional atmosphere and high working moral.

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Henrik Sundberg is one of the project leaders. Several of the translators have project leader parts, which makes the office flexible both on ordinary working days and in times of crisis. Henrik too is translating from German, English, Danish and Norwegian. The rule is that the translator only translates into his or her mother tongue. Henrik explains that they are a combination of researchers, but also editors, copy-writers as well as translators. As project leaders Henrik and his colleague Elin take in the assignments, quotations for word taxations and hire translators. Half his time goes to keep the projects going and the other half to translating texts. On my question how much each translator is doing each day, Henrik explains that roughly 2 500 – 3000 words would be a good estimation.

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Delbert Jonsson has been a translator since 2000, and employee at GLOBALscandinavia already from the days when the Swedes were hired to work for the office in Copenhagen then called SprogData, before the change of name into GLOBALscandinavia. When the company moved to the new office in Malmö in March 2007 Delbert also became father for the second time. The reason for the new office was of course to easier attract new customers in Sweden. When Delbert was younger he lived in Bonn, and had a relationship with a woman from East Germany. With her he has his first child, a now ten year old son whom he visits in Berlin every month. Also Delbert begins the working day with checking his e-mail. As it is now the translation bureau has one major customer and some minor ones. Delbert too studied at TÖI in Stockholm to become a professional translator, some more studies in Växjö and Lund, and then as exchange student 1994-1995 when he studied politology/Political Science in Bonn. In 2000 Delbert got his first translator job in Uppsala. There he was working at Star Translitera for two years before he began working for SprogData/GLOBALscandinavia on January 6th 2003.

No doubt GLOBALscandinavia has lots of competent people working for them, and they would never have kept a really big car producer in Germany as customer for 30 years if they hadn’t delivered high quality translations. Could this company be an interesting business partner?

Anders Moberg, January 24th 2014

In true honour of Fadime and other victims of “honour”-related violence

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Last night at a quarter to ten it was exactly 12 years since the young woman Fadime Sahindal was murdered by her father Rahmi. Why was she murdered and what had happened? Fadime Sahindal was a Kurdish young woman who was born in Kahranmanmaras, Turkey on April 2d 1975. When she was seven years old her family fled to Sweden. As she grew up and became a teenager she noticed that her male relatives began to controll her more and more, and even more when she became 18 and older. At the age of 18 a person in Sweden becomes grown up and officially mature and is allowed to make one’s own choices. You’re allowed to drive, vote in official elections, to chose what to work with, line of education, travel anywhere. You’re also allowed to chose whom you want to love, live with, get married if and when you want to. That was just the problem. Fadime’s closest family and other relatives didn’t allow her that right. They were annoyed that she had become too Swedish and too Western-oriented. Fadime rebelled and went public at the turn of the new millennium. She spoke up for her rights and her situation in newspapers and TV-shows. Her father and brother beat her up, which she reported to the police. When she began studying to become a social worker she fell in love with a Swedish man called Patrik. They began seeing each other, but she kept her relationship with Patrik secret. Eventually her family found out about it. On the day Fadime and Patrik were supposed to move in together Patrik died mysteriously in a car accident. Fadime was heart broken, and made contacts with leading politicians and organizations who pinpointed honour-related violence.

In November 2001 Fadime Sahindal had been invited to Riksdagen/The Swedish Parliament to present the problems with living within a group where the women are guarded and kept as prisoners from making their own free life choices. She held a long and moving speech. It ended like this: “I have chosen to tell you my story today with the hope that it will aid other immigrant girls so that they don’t have to suffer in the same way as I have. If everyone contributes this does not has to happen again. Independent of what cultural background you have it ought to be evident for every young woman to both have your family and the life you want for yourself. But sadly this is not evident for many girls. And I hope that you won’t turn your back on them, that you won’t turn a blind eye to them. Thank you for listening”. This public speech in Parliament would become famous, but for her also fatal. She was studying in Östersund at the time and was going to Kenya for six months to conclude her education as a social worker. On January 21st 2002 she took the train to Uppsala to say goodbye to her mother and younger sisters. She arrrived in the flat of her sister Songul in the afternoon. She spent the evening with her mother and most sisters and expected the youngest to come home from her training. Then her father and brother appeared outside the flat. When Fadime and the others thought they had gone she tried to leave. Her father waited outside and shot her with one bullet in the forehead and one in the cheek. Fadime died on the spot. She was 26 years old. In the police interrogations Rahmi explained that Fadime had dishonoured her family and relatives by telling the entire world and let them know how some Kurdish women are treated. Fadime’s father was sentenced to prison. Fadime Sahindal has become a symbol for this kind of collective so called “honour”-related violence. She lies buried on Uppsala old cemetary. Ten years after the murder a monument in her honour was raised on the cemetary too.

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One person who Fadime had contacted a few months before her death was Sara Mohammad, another Kurdish woman who had her own personal experiences of this kind of maffia-similar “honour” codex and life style. Sara Mohammad had herself been threatened by her brother when she was a teenager. He had put a kalashnikov to her head when she refused to marry a chosen man. She ran away when she was 17 years old and ended up in Sweden too. Sara Mohammad had in 2001 started an organisation against honour-related violence commemorating another Swedish victim, a girl named Pela Atroshi who at the age of 19 had been lured to Dahouk, Iraq and there shot dead by her father and uncles on June 24th 1999. Originally Sara Mohammad’s organization was called “Glöm aldrig Pela”/Never forget Pela, but after the murder of Fadime Sahindal in 2002 a new name was added; “Glöm Aldrig Pela och Fadime”, GAPF. For years Sara Mohammad has relentlessly worked hard day and night to prevent and stop honour-related violence, saving lifes, inform and educate. After the death of Fadime 12 years ago the Swedish society has become much more aware. Politicians, social workers, nurses, doctors, school staff, police, lawyers, volunteers all have gone courses and learned about it. Several non-profit organizations also work with it in a true way. Alongside GAPF, http://www.gapf.se I would especially mention ALMAeuropa, http://www.ALMAeuropa.org, VHEK, Varken Hora Eller Kuvad/Neither Whore Nor Subjugated, Tänk om!/Reconsider and others. 2006-2013 we also had a Minister in the present government who pinpointed these issues. Nyamko Sabuni was Minister of Integration and Gender Equality. She was one year ago replaced though by Maria Arnholm as Minister for Gender Equality, and before that by Erik Ullenhag as Minister of Integration. You see Sara Mohammad on a TV screen in one of the photos above.

The memory of Fadime is commemorated every year since her death on January 21st 2002 and this year three days have pinpointed her memory on several places in Sweden. I was yesterday at the town hall here in Malmoe at a seminar with a panel debate. The seminar was arranged by Humanisterna Syd, http://www.humanisterna.se, http://www.humsyd.blogspot.com in co-operation with Glöm Aldrig Pela och Fadime, http://www.gapf.se, kontakt@gapf.se. Magnus Timmerby from Humanisterna Syd was conferencier and discussion leader. It all began with the troubadour Lennart “Lennie” Ekdahl who sang a couple of songs, among them En sång till modet/A song to bravery. After that a film was shown simply titled “Heder”/Honour”. The film makers and some of the actors were present yesterday, young actors from Landskrona with different immigrant background. The film was fiction but based on different true stories. It was about a teenage girl who is seen talking to a male friend whom she wants to take a few dance steps. Another guy intervenes, a friend of her brother, and she is forbidden to talk to her male class mate. This is blown-up into horrendous proportions, and the girl’s life becomes more and more guarded. Her father defends her, and her brother wants to stand on his sister’s side, but he also guards her and is told by his male friends and other relatives to become tough and a real man. The girl’s father is seen as weak by his sister who has moved in instead of the dead mother. The aunt is hard on the girl and contributes to maintaining the honour codex and hard surveillance.   The school psychologist is involved and tries to speak with all parties, but things get worse and worse. Relatives nearby and abroad continue spreading rumours, calling her names and egging the foul development on. I think you might guess the outcome of the story.

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After the film there was a panel debate about the subject of honour-related violence. The panel consisted of Hillevi Larsson, Member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, but from Malmoe, Mariam Taheri from GAPF region south, Anja Sonesson, member of the party board for the Conservative Moderate Party, Ezzedine Zein, film maker and producer of the film “Heder”, and Jenny Wanhammar, activist from FEMEN Sweden. Magnus Timmerby led the discussions. All in the panel maintained that they had been moved by the film, and all had some form of knowledge on the matter, seen the honour-related oppression, come in contact with it in one way or the other. The two politicians, both the Social Democrat and the Conservative agreed on these matters and tried to do what they could. Hillevi Larsson told us that there now exists a policy handbook in Malmoe for how to deal with such errands, money for women’s shelters, further education and co-operation with social authorities and non-profit organizations on a local basis. Anja Sonesson, Conservative told us about a survey and mapping out of the situation which is made to see how serious the situation is and what must be done further. In recent years we have had at least four cases in Malmoe of so called “balcony girls”, women who just happens to fall from balconies, but most likely are honour-killings. This is just a few of many mysterious deaths and devious killings, alongside the threats and surveillance on a daily basis. This kind of lifestyle is deeply xenophobic, maffia-like and built on enclavization. Keep to the own group, the own religion, your own original countrymen. A kind of clan in, but separate from the rest of the society. Stray but a little outside it, fall in love with someone outside the group, make your own choices then you are in deep trouble. Ezzedine Zein said that when they prepared the movie-making young girls from different parts of Sweden had come to them not so much for the audition but to tell their own stories, about their own experiences. Jenny from FEMEN has been mocked on social media, as late as two days ago on Twitter and Facebook for her commitment against honour-related violence and oppression of women. She has been called islamophobic, racist, whore and no true feminist by other feminists. Jenny also said that what lately has been called culture relativism when it comes to the approach towards honour-related violence rather would be called conservative moral relativism. No doubt this is a subject which provokes feelings in many quarters. Anja Sonesson also said that she sees it as unprofessional to now let certain children in school skip classes  in sexual education, or not go to gym class, or have separate swimming classes for Muslim women, since that risks keeping the separatism alive and the patriarch honour codex too.

Exactly one week ago, on Wednesday January 15th, there was a demonstration in Stockholm against the leniency towards rapists. Sara Mohammad and GAPF was supposed to be one of the co-arrangers of the event, but a group of Internet activists began accusing her of being Anti-Islam and islamophobic, and worked hard to block her from the event. They succeeded and Sara Mohammad and GAPF was suddenly not allowed to participate. The same group also wanted to boycot the Fadime days. For them it was not okay that white middle class people should honour Fadime, and Parliament was not a good forum to honour her memory either according to them. So yesterday on January 21st Feministiskt Perspektiv and Terrafem arranged an alternative Fadime-day in Stockholm. What was the agenda? Not much about honour-related violence, but instead focus on the two-year-regulation. That regulation is shameful too, but has very little or nothing to do with what Fadime was fighting for. The two-year-regulation is a regulation which allows someone to let a woman come to Sweden, marry her and keep her here for two years to see if the marriage works out. Certain men, both ordinary Swedes and immigrant men have abused this regulation to import some woman, marry her, keep her as house- and sex slave, keep her in secret from real human rights in Sweden, then divorce her and after two years get a new one. This is another bad regulation which must be changed, but what had it to do with Fadime and others like her? – Nothing.

The liberal-conservative government has now come with a new proposed law which most likely will be passed before the summer. It will become illegal to get married before the age of 18, but also to force or put pressure on someone young to get married, and even prepare something similar. That will give you four years in prison. Also if you take someone out of Sweden and have a marriage abroad will be criminilized, which will send a signal to priests and imams, families and others what the Swedish system allows. Beatrice Ask, Minister of Justice gladly presented this last Sunday in Parliament during the first Fadime-day this year. Nyamko Sabuni, the former Minister of Integration and Gender Equality will become Head of a foundation for gathering money to GAPF. Our EU-Minister Birgitta Ohlsson also had a speech in Parliament in honour of Fadime Sahindal and all others who fall victim for this kind of collective oppression and abuse. We have had a similar mentality in Sweden before, but during the process of democratization and work for gender equality many things have improved. That’s why this is so important. The honour-related oppression and honour-related murders are unacceptable. Those who keep it alive are both victims and culprits, while those who oppose that foul system, sometimes under threats and with life at stake are the real heroes.

Anders Moberg, January 22d 2014

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A new year has begun – A struggle for life, identifications, jobs and resources

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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.

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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.

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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

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Happy New Year! 2014 – A time for new challenges and efforts

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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

I wish you a Merry Christmas

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Today it’s December 21st and soon Christmas is here. Various kinds of Midwinter cermonies have existed around the world, different cultures and different times have had various ways of celebrating or notified Midwinter, the shortest day of the year, and the return to longer and lighter days of the year. Last year I wrote about it on this weblog, “Midwinter cermonies of light and kindness – A mix of traditions”. I also wrote the text: “The birth of Jesus – When, where and perceptions of purpose?” In those texts I tried to explain how we humans have met and mixed and merged our various ideas and notions through centuries and millennia, but also by making up new descriptions and traditions. That’s how our humanity works.

We are in a time of year where we are expected to be good to each other, showing kindness and mutual respect. Some celebrate Christmas while others do not. If we do that it varies how it’s done. Here in Sweden some go to Christ Mass in church, others do not, some watch Disney and Karl Bertil Jonson’s Christmas Eve on TV, while others do not. Most people have tradtional dishes on the Christmas table: ham, saussages, mustard, Jansson’s temptation, herring, cabbage, apple purré. Beer, schnapps and wine are common drinks, but also water and a kind of soda called Julmust/Christmas Must. Coca Cola tried to introduce themselves as a  Swedish bevarage some years ago, but they couldn’t match the popularity of Julmust. One big problem is that too many like the alcohol too much, and don’t know when to stop. This has led to many domestic problems such as partner battering, child abuse, car accidents and rapes. We see the same problems every year. Therefore I implore all adults and teenagers who might read this, try to be a bit careful with the booze, you won’t turn happier or more attractive if you drink too much, only more pathetic. Try to be wise.

Another common tradition is the decorated Christmas fir tree. In some families they dance around the tree, in others we do not, but the Christmas gifts are often put under it. It is also common if the children are small to have a Santa Claus/Father Christmas coming to visit with a sack of gifts. Saint Nikolas of Myra/Izmir saved a family from selling their daughters into prostitution by giving them money. Christmas gifts have existed for centuries. Read more about that in my text from last year, “Midwinter cermonies of light and kindness – A mix of traditions”. In the early and middle 1800’s the Swedish bourgois homes were visited by a Christmas Ram instead of Father Christmas. The poem “Tomten”/The Gnome” by Viktor Rydberg from1881 is also still a loved piece which evoke feelings in the Swedish soul: “Midvinternattens köld är hård, stjärnorna gnistra och glimma, alla sova i enslig gård, djupt under midnatts timma. Månen vandrar sin tysta ban, snön lyser vit på fur och gran. Snön lyser vit på taken, endast Tomten är vaken”. If I interpret that first part of the poem into English it would go roughly like this: “The Midwinter cold is harm, the stars twinkle with power, everyone sleeps on lonely farm, deep in the midnight hour.  Silent the moon its path will stir, the snow shines white on pine and fir. The snow shines white on the roofs, only the Farm Gnome moves”. With this Midwinter poetry I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas.

Anders Moberg, December 21st 2013.

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