Four Hundred and Sixtyninth Asic- I am a Londoner!

Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Press, are all manifestations of our right to express ourselves in our democratic society. Those rights enable us to be exactly the persons we would like to be. It took hard work by previous generations to reach this level of freedom for ordinary citizens and it is worth fighting for. In my country it is possible to express oneself without fearing repression.

Terrorism strikes unpredictably and kills and hurts innocent civilians, with no chance to protect themselves. We cannot know where or when will be next time. Lately, terror attacks in arenas or crowded places have proven that terrorists strike towards not just the democratic rights, but towards a certain free lifestyle where we enjoy cultural events such as concerts, soccer games and so on.

When we choose to stay at home because we fear terror, never meet in cultural events or have a coffee or beer with a friend, the terrorists win. Let’s fight them in a peaceful way! My goal for today will be to meet with a friend or two and have a Swedish ”fika”. That will be my humble protest in a world of terror. #fikaagainsterror

Four hundred and fifty-forth åsic- For my democratic right to write!<3

Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Press, are all manifestations of our right to express ourselves and our right to be exactly the persons we would like to be. Any violance directly connected to those rights is a violation towards mankind, a step backwards in a process that needs to go forward! This is a serious situation in communities where democratic values allow people to stand up for their own view of life. Countries where these absolutely necessary rights are not allowed, should be questioned by the rest of the world, not once or twice, but over and over again! 

I live in a country where I am allowed to have an opinion of my own and I understand that I am very fortunate. In the aftermath of the Stockholm terror attack the 7th of April 2017, several good examples of empathic actions took place. People formed groups for different purposes. All those friendly acts right after the terror attack is a true sign of a healthy democracy and to me they also show some hope:

We help each other in times of trouble

The terrorists want us to feel insecure, to fear crowds, fear going to public events. They want us to stay at home, not attending any concerts, any football games etc. Terror acts, whether they are in London, in Belgium, in France or like now, in Stockholm, is a global problem. Stockholm was hit yesterday but not later than tomorrow democracy strikes back in its own lovely way. Tomorrow a planned soccer game between the team Hammarby (from Stockholm) and Kalmar (from south of Sweden) will start off with a manifestation against terrorism. What a lovely initiative! I am not a soccer fan, but I am a fan of democracy! ❤

We can all contribute in different ways by using our democratic rights. My contribution will be writing. What is yours?

One hundred and fortyeighth åsic- Freedom is a gift to cherish!

fa2ab1f01d-300_306_jorden.jpg (299×305)

Freedom is not to be taken for granted. It is a gift to cherish! Freedom of what? one may ask. To me it is definitely important to have a chance to change things in my own life and thus there are many aspects of life where I think the individual needs freedom to make decisions. Freedom is one of the most difficult expressions to describe, along with a few others, such as democracy, equality or justice. In my opinion freedom is essential, freedom of thought, of religion, of press or maybe the freedom to choose a way of living, whom to marry and even IF to marry? In my profession I meet many students who have not had the chance to make decisions of their own although they are adult students. Many of them have come to Sweden from countries with weaker Governments or with no Governments at all, OR they have come from countries where the Government decides almost everything and leaves very little for the individual to decide.

When I get to know young adults from other countries I notice first of all, that they have struggled a lot with many things in life in their past. Some of them started to work as ten-year-old to finance their schooling. Others didn’t have an opportunity to go to school at all, since they were girls. In many countries girls don’t have the freedom to go to school. Instead they are married off early to a future as mothers of many children. Some other countries seem to have the tradition of first educating girls and then as they become mothers they are supposed to stop working and be housewives from then on… If I had been one of those young women, I would have missed my work for the rest of my life! I am happy to have a chance to stay at home with my children when they are newborn and then get back to work again. To me, being at work if I like to, means freedom. Freedom of choice is to me the most important of all aspects of freedom as a basic condition for life. Choice is however individual and we may come to different conclusions when given similar options, simply because our conditions for life are completely different if compared between cultures or countries or socio-economical groups.

Vägval.jpg (849×565)

Some of the adult students from other countries I have met in my profession, shared with me that they could not do otherwise but to follow their parents’ decisions without questioning them. They haven’t had the opportunity to decide whom to marry, what to become, if they like to be a parent or not and in that case, how many children they would like to have. Some of them come from countries where genital mutilation is reality. Giving birth to a child is matter of life and death in such a country. The freedom to use contraceptives or the possibility to have an abortion, along with a chance to go through IVF are taken for granted in my country, but it is prohibited in many countries worldwide. Despite bad health conditions or poverty along with a lack of general education for all children young students in some countries achieve their goals. I think they may need to be more determined than many Swedish students. I admire them for not giving up!

Taking things for granted may be contraproductive for achievements or grades in school. Almost all young adults in Sweden pass through twelve years of schooling without needing to think of their safety, or whether they will have enough food for the day or not. Many of them (but not all!) are supported by their parents and earn extra money after school in parttime jobs, where they save almost all the salary for luxurious consumtion, lazy holidays or other things that wouldn’t be possible in many other countries. Then some of them plan, too, for a profession where a long education in a university is necessary. It is possible through a national loaning system open for all citizens, to finance studies although your parents are not wealthy. Not all choose to go on to university, but the point is that there is a built in opportunity for everyone who likes to try.

If I take a look around, I notice that many people around the globe has a limited access to the freedom I cherish in my everyday life. I realize that being born in an industrialized country means being privileged. As I get older, I want to share some of the good opportunities with others. Yesterday a volunteer from Amnesty International called and asked for a contribution. It was in fact very easy to become a member. Easy both in mind and thought and moneywise. Right now I haven’t got a lot of time to be an activist, but with my membership I will recieve updates from the valuable work worldwide and I look forward to knowing more. Maybe I will be able to find a suitable way to a more active contribution in the future? I hope so!

One hundred and fortyforth åsic- Je suis Charlie

Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Press, are all manifestations of our right to express ourselves and our right to be exactly the persons we would like to. Any violance directly connected to those rights is a violation towards mankind, a step backwards in a process that needs to go forward! This is a serious situation not just in France, but everywhere in communities where democratic values allow people to stand up for their own view of life. Countries where these absolutely necessary rights are not allowed, should be questioned by the rest of the world, not once or twice, but over and over again! 

I live in a country where I am allowed to have an opinion of my own and I understand that I am very fortunate. A blogger in Saudi Arabia who was sentenced to ten years for setting up a website for public debate, will apart from the ten years in prison also be flogged 1000 times. His ”crime” was helping fellow citizens to express their minds. I have lately had the chance to learn more about the conditions in a few countries with strong dictatorships. The  meaningless killings the last few days in France was connected to democracy and our right to express ourselves in different ways. It is not a multicultural problem or a religious problem in Western societies, but terrorism with extremistic features. Blaming a certain religious group is contraproductive. Blaming militant extremism is however to see what it’s all about. Violence created in the name of the religion is not the same as THE religion. But when innocent people are killed we are frustrated and sad and may seek for a scapegoat to blame instead of manifesting our strong will to end violence in general and terrorism in particular.

Today the tragic events in France reminded me of how many relations one single person is involved with and how many roles each and one of us have. As an example, I am a daughter, a mom a wife a sister, an aunt, I am a teacher a friend and a lot more of course. The impact of the terror acts in France is thus very much a global problem. We need to be responsible for our acts.

If we are not Free to Live if someone else has an opposing viewpoint, we might need to address the issue of how easily weapons are spread worldwide? No guns means fewer killings. Terrorists with no guns will not stop being terrorists, but at least we give them a hard time. Sadly enough Swedish weapons are used worldwide, although it is said that ”we” are not selling to countries at war… If Sweden stop selling weapons and starts producing something more useful in Bofors, at least we made a contribution for peace. Yes. I know. Many of you will say that if there is no weapons, how could we fight terrorists???? I don’t know. Do you? If we are not Free to Live if someone else has an opposing viewpoint and we do absolutely nothing to prevent the continuous killing, we will lose in the end. Let’s not lose! My contribution will be writing. What is your contribution?

main.jpg (300×225)

#Carl-Fredrik Reuterswärds ”Non-Violence” is placed outside the UN Building in NYC