Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Tribute to a Tiny Hero


The story began in early spring. A mother of three noticed a bump on her youngest son's back. She saw doctors, made tons of phone calls, begging for help. Everyone, including me, said that it was probably nothing, maybe just an enlarged muscle and his crying could just be colic, nothing to worry about. But she didn't give up, she knew something was wrong. When everyone tried to convince her of not to worry, a feeling inside her developed. A couple of months her own father, my grandfather, had passed away in cancer and she got convinced that her newborn too, had some type of cancer. Us near and dear ones became worried, not for the baby, but for her. Her anxiety paralysed us, while it encouraged her to get the help she needed.

One day, the baby's legs went limp. He was constantly crying, couldn't get any rest. At last a doctor sent us to the hospital, where more doctors examined him. Yes, the bump was still there and his legs did in fact not work as should be normal. They said that it could just be an enlarged muscle, something harmless, but they couldn't rule out other reasons. Off we went to Queen Silvia's Children's Hospital in Göteborg, where an MRI was performed. The waiting for the results was painful, to say the least, but it was nothing compared to when the results finally came. Yes, it's a tumour. The baby has Neuroblastoma, cancer.

The following months consisted of cytostatic drugs that put down the baby's immune system and a lot of the family's strength and happiness. Still, no one gave up, because seeing his smile even when he was at his lowest, gave all of us the courage to continue, to do what needed to be done both for him and for his mother and brothers. As sick as he was, he was the source of our will, the one that lead all of us back and forth to hospitals, to take turns in handling the daily tasks, to keep life going even when it was at its darkest.

One autumn day, we were waiting for an answer from the latest MRI; either there would be more cytostatics or there would be a surgery. Either of the options would mean more hard work, more difficult feelings to handle, more struggeling. Then the doctor finally called. The baby didn't need any more treatment - and non surgery either! My first thought was that "shit, so there's nothing more they can do for him? This is it?". But no, what it meant was that he was done. The tumour was no longer a threat to him and the tiny bit that was still tucked in in his back would do him no harm. Eventually it would turn into harmless nerve tissue.

One more thing needed to be taken care of; the CVC, a tube in his chest where he had gotten his treatments through. It was there as an evil memory of a nasty disease that could have resulted in something unimaginable. Then two days ago, we finally got an appointment for the simple surgery that would remove the CVC. All that remains now is a tiny, healing wound in his chest and a plaster. Maybe he will get a small scar, but who cares? The cancer is gone, it will be no more and he will get to live a completely normal childhood, loved by so so many. This baby, and his mother, gave me hope. They proved to me that even when things seems hopeless, everything can still be alright in the end. Sure, the road there can truly suck, it can make you suffer, be in horrible pain and anxiety, but you can get through it.

Jamie, you are my hero; a tiny tiny hero that have accomplished much more than most adults I know of. You will have no memory of what you've (and all of us) have been through, but I hope you will always know how very special you are!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To Think of Nothing


At times I find myself in a state where I appear to think of nothing. Most of the people I've spoken to say that they've never experienced it, so I decided to do some digging to find out if it's possible or not. Let's start with Rene Descartes' idea of "Cogito ergo sum," which means "I think, therefore I am." If we accept that, then it should also be true that if I don't think, then I don't exist, or at least that thinking is fundamental for the human consience to exist. 

In DaMo Qigong, (here simplified) excercises can teach you how to think of nothing. By first focusing your thought of darkness, a void where nothing exists, you return to the time before your birth. Before birth, you could have no conscious thought since you have seen or heard nothing; your mind had not enough "food" to develop thoughts as we know them. Similar experiences can be achieved through meditations practiced around the globe and what's similar between these experiences are that the people who have gone through them still describe to have been in a state of hightened consciousness. How is consciousness possible withouth though?

If you sit/lay down and decide to focus your mind of nothing, then that's exactily what you're thinking of. Nothing is the opposite of something and in order to undo the thought of something in your head, you first have to be aware of the "somethingness", leading to an impossible task since undoing the something actually is a thought process. There is always a stream of consciousness rushing through your head and if you find yourself unaware of the thoughts, then they've been running on a subconsious level. My question, however, is what's really going on in your head when you find yourself in that empty state, i.e when it's not forced or something that you've consciously tried to achieve. I haven't found an answer to this so far, but my guess is that I do, in fact, think of something. A void for example, even though I'm not aware of it until when I "wake up" from the state. Maybe I even return to that time before birth without being aware of it. It's a mystery yet to be solved!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Swedish Christmas Traditions II

Saint Lucy
Early in the morning on December 13th, a woman dressed in white and with a crown of candles on her head, can be seen in the front of a procession of white dressed female attendants, "star boys" and brownies. The front woman is called Lucia and she represents a Sicilian martyr and saint that died under emperor Diocletianus persecutions. Legends claim that before her death, the virgin ripped her own eyes out and sent them to her betrothed. The mother of God then provided her with a new set of eyes that were even more beautiful.

In English, this feast goes by the name "Saint Lucy's Day" or "Feast of St. Lucy." Kindergardens, schools , churches and choires arrange these processions which parents are attending. Different Lucias are voted for in cities around the country, usually based on their looks and voice, similar to beauty contests.

A recurring problem during Lucia celebrations in Sweden seem to be fainting. Some claim that the cause of fainting is that the candles in the hair "eats up" the oxygen in your brain. This, however, is a myth. The explanation behind the phenomenon is simply low blood pressure from heat, psychological pressure and from standing up for a long time. So if you plan to delight your neighborhood by spreading the light of Lucia, make sure to drink lots of water and sit down with your head between your knees if the dizziness creeps upon you!



The initial song that the Lucia procession sings as they enter the room is "Sankta Lucia", which is also sung as they exit. Here's a translation in English:


Night walks with a heavy step
Round yard and hearth,
As the sun departs from earth,
Shadows are brooding.
There in our dark house,
Walking with lit candles,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Night walks grand, yet silent,
Now hear its gentle wings,
In every room so hushed,
Whispering like wings.
Look, at our threshold stands,
White-clad with light in her hair,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Darkness shall take flight soon,
From earth's valleys.
So she speaks
Wonderful words to us:
A new day will rise again
From the rosy sky…
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wake up World!


I have to say it; no matter if your for or against WikiLeaks, it's clear that the witch hunt of  Julian Assange and the organization is far more freightening than the information that is being leaked. The world has participated in elections on false causes. How can a state claim to be democratic when we don't have the correct information to base our votes on? No, thanks to WikiLeaks, leaders around the world are standing with their pants down both in the sense of being ready to be fucked in the ass by USA and for their citizens to see them for what they really are. Except for PayPal's and Amazon's guile, both MasterCard and Visa now refuse to accept payments to WikiLeaks, saying that it's against the companies rules to directly or indirectly promote illegal actions. Now this is strange. WikiLeaks hasn't been prosecuted or condemned with any crime. Is it really a crime to tell the truth? Yes, in dictatorships.

Julian Assange turned himself in to the London police earlier today. It's still unclear if he will be submitted to Sweden, but he's being held in jail and refused bail until December 14th because of a "high risk for escape." Assange write in a public letter:

We are the underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn't want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings.

It's sick and highly alarming. The west has never been in such an obvious malfeasance, bent by the mighty USA that rather lets their own people starve and suffer than give up their aggressive foreign policies, anything to let the rest of the world understand who is their true leader and what happens if they would refuse to bend themselves to their will. I want to see more democratic journalism, that serve the readers and not the banks or governments driven by their slimy lust for power and money. People are worth more than that and it's time for us to make use of the power of the masses. 40 years from now I don't want to sit in a constantly monitored old people's home with cracked concrete walls and crappy food, and through my barred windows watch a world that fell apart and know that I could have done something about it. 

This is my way of taking a stand. Spread the information and support WikiLeaks in any way you can. Demonstrate, write letters, boycot the cowardly companies that think they can judge what is legal and what isn't to gain respect from Big Brother. Even though the press are too afraid to give their support, you don't have to be. Make your children and grandchildren proud, give them the opportunity to one day tell their children how brave their grandmother was, to stand up for democracy, free information and freedom of expression.

Edit: The witch hunts for Assange and WikiLeaks are as far as we know two different cases (Assange is being accused for sexual assault, but some believes it to be a setup). I do not claim that Assange is either guilty or not guilty, which I write more about in my previous post Freedom is Slavery. I do claim, however, that WikiLeaks, as an organization, is doing the right thing by spreading the documents given to them. Wether that's legal or not doesn't really matter, I still believe it to be right and a step in the right direction for true democracy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Freedom is Slavery?


Winston Smith lives in a society where the people at all times are subordinated to the state; everyone is under constant governmental surveillance, both physically and mentally. Mind control and a new language, Newspeak, is developed to prevent the people from critical thinking. Through a telescreen, propaganda is streaming in every home and public place and monitors the people. Throughout the society posters of Big Brother warns the people: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. 

This dystopian society is described in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and was written in 1948-1949; a fantastic novel, but it is so much more than that. Orwell's intention was to warn people of the effects of the Eastern states that were forming during the time of writing. But the warning was not solely of Communism and Fascism, but of a future development that would affect all nations, no matter of their political foundation. His visions about oppressing dictatorships are slowly creeping upon the West today; we are being monitored, media is far from impartial, freedom of information and expression are only pretty words that governments use to manage the masses.

As no one can have missed: WikiLeaks' publishing of classified documents have caused governments to sway. Hillary Clinton describes the leaks as "an attack on the world" and WikiLeak have been cut out from Pay Pal for "violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity." The organization have also been dropped from Amazon.com Inc. that acted as a website host for breaching terms of service. In Sweden, the public is expressing it's outrage for PayPal's cowardice. WikiLeaks have not been proved guilty of any crime, on the contrary they have published documents that by all means concern the public. Governments have been revealed to commit crimes against humanity in these documents and any information that directly affect our societies are our concern. We are being monitored by governments and now WikiLeak, in a way, monitors the governments. I salute them.

WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
- Slogan of the Brotherhood, Nineteen Eighty-Four

WikiLeaks' frontman, Julian Assange, is being accused for sex crimes of two Swedish women. Many believes this to be a setup and I'm not qualified to judge what is true and what isn't. But what is  true is that Assange is merely a face of a much larger organization. His actions or personal qualities have little to do with the values and distinctions of WikiLeak. The fight for freedom and democracy will continue with or without him. The world is finally reacting now that the disclosures are on tabloids all around the globe. It is my sincere hope that the leaders will realize that their actions no longer can be done behind our backs, that they will be forced down on their knees and see that governments are meant to serve the people, not the other way around.



Do the world a favor and cancel your accounts on PayPal and Amazon (and tell them why). Ways to donate to WikiLeaks and support their struggle for free information can be found here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Swedish Christmas Traditions I


It's now 4PM and the temperature is holding steady at -2 degrees Celcius. Powder light snow corns are circling peacefully in the air and the light of the day is now a memory. My head is throbbing with pain of an approaching migraine, but I swollowed a painkiller and endure it; this Sunday marks the beginning of the coziest of the Swedish holidays. Four weeks of warm hearth fires, hot chocolate and mum's Christmas bread lies ahead. No other holiday is so full of joy as this one; no other holiday brings families and friends together than this one.

Christmas season generally starts around 1st of Advent, the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. The word advent derrives from the latin word adventus, meaning "arrival" which indicates the coming of the Lord. Sometime during the 1930's the Swedes started to hang Advent stars in their windows, a tradition coming from Germany and symbolizes the star of Betlehem that lead the three wise men to the child Jesus. On this Sunday, a candlestick with four candles start to decorate the Swedish homes and the first candle is lit. Every Sunday until Christmas, one more candle is lit. An electrical candlestick is placed in the windows, usually with seven candles in the shape of an upturned V. Traditionally, lights are lit in the windows around this time to light up the way for people on their way to the early Christmas-morning services in church.

At the same time the "Julskyltning" starts, a word that could be translated as "Display Sunday" and refers to the time when shops start to decorate their windows for Christmas. Where I live, in a small village in the south-western parts of the country, this is an important and popular occurence. There aren't many shops in the village, but this has been compensated with a small fair, with lotteries, sale of traditional hot mull wine and gingerbread biscuits and a Santa parade which ends with Santa Claus himself is giving out sweets to the little ones.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Independence for Western Sahara

Outside Laayoune, Western Sahara

The Moroccans are a proud people, with a relatively open society that is steadily moving towards a just legal system and acceptance of diversity, except on one matter. If you're planning of going there, I only have one advice; do not discuss the status of Western Sahara unless you're prepared for a heated argument. The opinion of the rest of the world lean towards the recognition of the area as an independent state, but in Morocco, even the most educated and aware people refuse to accknowledge the suppression of hundered thousands of people.

The region had been under Spanish rule for almost a hundered years when the International Court of Justice in 1975 decided to reject Morocco's and Mauretania's claims of the territory. Spain agreed to arrange a referendum, as the International Court of Justice recognized the Saharawis' right to self-determination. But Morocco countered with the "Green March", sending 300.000 Moroccans into the territory for settlement. But the Moroccans' version of the story is a tiny bit different:

On the 6th of November 1975, civilian Moroccans marched across Moroccan Sahara seeking independence from Spain. This was known as the "Green March", because green symbolised peace. Spain finally came to an agreement with Morocco for independence of Moroccan Sahara.

This happening forced Spain to a settlement with Morocco and Mauretania - the Madrid Agreement. Morocco got two thirds in the north and Mauretania got the left-overs, ending the Spanish colonial rule. A couple of months later, the Polisario declared the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Two years later, the Mauretanian government made a peace deal with Polisario after a coup, and resigned all territorial claims, resulting in further Moroccan occupation.

Guerilla wars between Polisario and Morocco occured until 1991 and an attempted referendum lead by the United Nations Mission for a Referendum in Western Sahara  (MINURSO) failed. Talks and negotiations between different parties have been an ongoing process ever since, without any progress. A couple of weeks ago blood was shed during a clash between Moroccan security forces and what was reputedly preaceful protesters near Laayoune, the capital of Western Sahara. The protesters had gathered at a camp outside the city to protest against the harsh Moroccan rule and were raided by the Moroccan army and police. Some 20.000 Sahrawis had gathered at the camps for over a month, mostly ignored by the press. According to Morocco, 10 out of 12 dead belonged to the security forces. Polisario however, claims that 20 died and around 1000 were wounded in the clash. Spain are now accusing Morocco for war crimes against humanity.

The situation today according to Morocco is as follows:

Although Moroccan Sahara gained independence from Spanish control, a small group known as "Polisario" (supported by the Algerian government and some communist countries throuout the cold war), refused to be governed by Morocco. This led to many Moroccan Saharawi civilians being kidnapped by the Polisario, taken to Tindouf in Algeria and kept as refugees.
Although some have managed to escape and return to Morocco, many are still under the control of  the Polisario and Algerian government.

The UN recognize Polisario as the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people. The EU, although not recognizing the SADR, supports the right of self-determination of the Sahrawi people, but does not recognize the Polisario front. The African Union (AU) fully recognize the SADR. The Arab League supports Morocco's claims of the region.

Whichever way you look at it (and I'm not going to write down more things that can be googled) it's clear that neither Morocco or Polisario are playing clean - crimes have been committed on both sides. Rabat is currently offering Western Sahara autonomy, but Polisario are still demanding a referendum for complete independence. The region is occupied, there is no better term for it, and it is my opinion that Morocco should recognize this and give the Western Sahara the independence they have sought for so long. It is my wish that the people of Morocco will realize this, have the courage to stand up and put pressure on the government.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

How one Person can Change the World

"I've got power!"

Billions of people live their lives convinced that their actions are insignificant, that there is no way that a single person's choices can actually change anything. Those billions of people are wrong, and this is my attempt of proving just that.

Once upon a time, a boy was born into a colonialized country. His childhood was ordinary, maybe with the exception of having an influential politician as a father. He got the chance to study in London and work in South Africa, where he experienced discrimination, racism and prejudice first hand and helped form a movement to improve the rights of his people. During a mass protest against the discriminating laws, he called for a non-violent protest and acceptance of punishment when defying the law. His concept spread and he was soon an influential representative for his home country, where he returned to, among other things, help his people to independence. His weapon was a non-cooperative, non-violent and peaceful resistance which became widespread throughout the society. Violence occured, however, and he was imprisoned for two years. A few years later, in a protest against the tax of salt, he begun his 388 km long march to make salt himself. Thousands followed him and the act upset the government, resulting in 60.000 political prisoners who was later released. During the following years, the man got arrested, went on a six day fast, almost got assassinated three times, fasted for 21 days in protest, got arrested again and was finally shot dead during a prayer meeting. The country was finally liberated from the British and his name is closely associated with the accomplishment. His name was Mohandas Karamchad Gandhi.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
-Gandhi 

Agnes Gonxa Bojaxhiu was born in Skopje, Macedonia, in 1910. At an early age she felt a spiritual calling and joined the Loreto Sisters, a Catholic order, and was eventually sent as a missionary in India. There, she noticed the poverty in the slum and wanted to do something about it. She didn't have any money, so she started an outdoor school for children in the slum and soon got both volunteers and funds. With the funds, she expanded the charity, reaching the elders and the lepers as well as abandoned and orphaned children. Her goodness and her felt duty to mankind was always unselfish and her charity is now spread throughout the world with funds from all over, including the Vatican. Today she is known as Mother Teresa.

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
- Mother Teresa 

Born into a wealthy Swedish family, a man became a diplomat in Budapest, Hungary. Together with a fellow diplomat, he rented 32 buildings throughout the city, declaring them extraterritorial, protected by diplomatic immunity. In these buildings, he secretly provided shelter to around 10.000 Jews and providing them with passports, rescuing them from the Holocaust. In 1945 he was suspected of being a spy for the USA and was called to a Soviet military commander. Two months later he was announced dead, killed by either the Cross Arrow Party or the Gestapo, but his death was suspicious. In 2000, a Soviet historian and politician announced that the man had been executed in 1947 in Lubyanka prison. The hero's name was Raoul Wallenberg.

If people have such great expectations, then it can only help them. From their faith and confidence, they'll gain the strength to resist. If they believe the passes are legitimate and powerful, then they may convince others, even the police, that they're powerful.
- Raoul Wallenberg

In 1948, a young man interested in boxing and running, became active in politics opposing a law that segregated blacks from whites in his home country. As a lawyer, he and a collegue started a law firm providing free or next to free services for black people that lacked attorney representation. He initially adapted Gandhi's concept of non-violence resistance and was arrested for treason along with 150 others but later became leader of an armed wing of the left-wing party, arranging sabotage of military and government targets (even guerilla wars should this fail) in an attempt to end the segregation. He was imprisoned for 27 years, during which his reputation as a black leader grew. In 1990 he was released from prison, a happening that was broadcasted all over the world, and returned to the leadership of the party. Four years later his party won the election, making him the country's first black president. His name is Nelson Mandela and recieved the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

A man does not become a freedom fighter in the hope of winning awards.
- Nelson Mandela 

People like these live among us today. They could be your neighbours - they could be you. All it takes to make a difference, big or small, is a committment to change what you think is wrong, not for the sake of fame or recognition, but for the sake of the goodness in your heart. Think of your word or action as a snowball that you start to roll from a high mountain top. In the beginning you won't see much difference, but after a while the ball will grow larger and larger, ending up in a huge globe that will take down anything in its way; buildings and forests, whole villages. It doesn't take much. A single world of solidarity, or an argumenting against something unjust, can be that small push that will cause the snowball to roll.


Still not convinced? Check this out:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You Shall Rise



In 2007 Mattafix released this song, "Living Darfur", to raise funds and awareness of the situation of the war stricken, torn and suffering people in the western parts of Sudan. The video was shot in eastern Chad on the border of Darfur and was funded by Mick Jagger. More than 200.000 people have died in the conflicts and over one million have been forced away from their homes. Whole villages have been burned and the UN have accused pro-government Arab militia for ethnic cleansing against non-Arab locals.

What's going on in Darfur has been called genocide, although too few people are aware of the seriousness of the situation. My heart is breaking for the suffering people that have lost their families and friends, forced away from their homes and suppressed by the government. It's unbelievable that something like this can happen today. We've said "never again" so many times that words turned empty. We don't need more words, written agreements and peace talk. What we need, is action.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Culture Crashes


There's been a lot of talk about Sweden's  failure in integrating its immigrants. Some blame it solely on the Swedes, that they are discriminating and unsympathetic. This may be true, but it's only one reason of a complex situation. To get a better understanding of the difficulties of integration into a new society, all you have to do is to travel abroad, to any country which some of the immigrants are representing in our society. The only societies outside of Sweden that I can claim to have some kind of knowledge about is Morocco and Sudan, in which the latter is the one that is furthest away from my own.

When I found out that I was going to Sudan, it was on pretty short notice, but I did my best to get as prepared as possible. Except for the traditional travel preparations like basic phrases, some 15 different vaccinations, passport and the like, I did some reading about the culture. I was already aware of the culture crashes I would experience, although I didn't have a clear picture of which these crashes would be. Which ever way I looked, I always ended up focusing on the Muslim society. I had never lived in one before and had all the expectations, fears and prejudices that everyone else has that don't have a closer knowledge of it. I was going to the capital, Khartoum, and was a 100% sure that I would have to cover my hair whenever I stepped out of the house, that I shouldn't look men in the eye and that I couldn't discuss politics or religion as such.

I landed on a midnight in the end of August. It was some 40 degrees Celcius, humid and a minor sand storm, haboob, was brushing my face. We went straight to the house, which had lost the electricity because of the haboob and it wasn't until the next morning that I got to see where I had landed. I wanted a cold drink, so nervously I covered up, wrapped my head in a scarf, carefully tucking in all visible hair strands, and went out to look for the closest shop. The houses in the neighbourhood were all secured with high walls and guards, the dust road was uneven and the sun was merciless and - everyone was looking at me. 

Not long after, when I had befriended several westerners in the area, I learned that it wasn't required to cover your hair, at least not for a westerner. Looking a man in the eye or shaking his hand was usually not a problem either. Sure, there were those that were more conservative than others, but those were a minority. Basically I learned that most of the things I had expected and feared about this society, weren't true at all. 

The conclusion is that even though I eventually found my place in the Sudanese society, accepted and got accepted, I never got integrated. True, I didn't live there long enough to get the chance to fully integrate and I didn't have time to learn the language fluently. And truth his, even if I would have had the chance, I don't think I'd ever be able to integrate fully. I would, of course, follow the laws, live among them, befriend them and love them, but I would never become a Sudanese. But what's more important is that it wouldn't matter, because I would be accepted anyways. Even if I would never be exactily like those who were born there, they would still see me as an equal and welcome me into their society. So, if the immigrants in Sweden do the same, which most of them do, why can't we treat them the same way as they would treat us?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sudan - Love thy Neighbour!


In January 2011 there is planned to be held a referendum for independence for Southern Sudan, but the UN and various NGOs are already stocking up emergency equipment and food, preparing for conflicts. The chances are big that the referendum will either be delayed, or that the results of it will cause the peace agreements to be jeapordized. It's very likely that the Christian south will vote for independence and many are thought to vote in protest of the Muslim-ruled Khartoum government. I even think that it's likely that there will be pre-election conflicts; the shed of blood because of peoples' insecurities before the results. The Muslim north are afraid of loosing control over the oil rich south, and the Christian south are afraid of the north to not let them go no matter of the government's promises of respecting the outcome of the election.

It's a tense situation already and it's not likely that it will get less so. I'm still hoping of being able to go there to write my final thesis in pedagogy, but if things go as experts have predicted, it doesn't seem like a very good idea. Maybe things would be less violent in Khartoum, if a conflict would rise, but it's still an uncertain situation. Protests and demonstrations will probably not be very peaceful and there are bound to be deaths in even the safest places in the country. 

It breakes my heart. A country that has already seen so much suffering and death are now balancing on the border of yet another civil war. I hope with everything I have, that the weight will tip the mass to the right side of the border of peace and war, and that no more lives will be lost because of something that should be the beginning of a new, peaceful chapter. Sudan could be the good example for neghbouring countries to follow. This could end so well, yet history seems to repeat itself. UN are stocking up with food supplies in critical areas and Ban Ki-moon says that the potential for "unintended conflict" is high.

My dear, beloved Sudanese friends: Show the world the goodness of people. Be patient and consequent, love your country and everyone in it, Christian or Muslim, oil-rich or not. A new border is not something that should cause death and suffering to your neighbours, or yourself. If the south votes for independence, then be happy that a just, democratic election was seen through and that the masses got to have their say. Share the oil supplies fairly and continue to love one another. But don't take anything out in advance. The outcome of the election is yet to be shown.

Practice what you preach; your religion is one of peace.
Muhammed said: Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.
Jesus said: Love thy neighbour.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweden - Not so Perfect

"A helping hand"

According to Newsweek, Sweden is the world's third best country to live in. Many thinks of the Swedish society as an idyll, and that for many good reasons; you can express your thoughts and feelings however you want, you can criticize the government openly, demonstrate against what you think is wrong. You can be openly bi- or homosexual, practice any religion you want to, have the right to form and join work unions. Marriage is not a necessity to form a family, nor is it an issue to be a single parent. Anyone can study at the university - and get a student's loan. If you get sick, you get sickness benefits. When you become a parent, you get parental allowance and if you loose your job you either get unemployment benefits or social assistance - you don't have to worry about becoming homeless or go hungry.

It's agreed that it's hard to find many societies as free and democratic as the Swedish, but to what cost? Mayhap Sweden is a paradise, but how are the government and major companies using this concept? I have listed a few publicly disclosures that may change your view of the perfectness of Sweden:

  • Lundin Oil is blamed for contributing to the vicious civil war in southern Sudan when they decided to explore and extract oil from an area called Block 5A, which triggered a bloody fight for control over the area between 1997 and 2003. The company is accused for knowing of the war crimes they have caused; ranging from mass rapes to people being forced to displacement.
  • Saab signs a 4,5 billion kronor deal with Saudi Arabia this fall. This specific deal was concerning advanced early warning radar systems. Military products were also sent in March, April and May, most of which were classified as combat material, which can include "missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, etc." A subsidiary, Saab Bofors Dynamics, were earlier in the year reported to have sold anti-tank missiles to the same country. “We’re talking about one of the world’s worst dictatorships. We can’t send weapons to dictatorships that should be buying food instead,” Green Party defence policy spokesperson Peter Rådberg says.
  • WikiLeaks publishes a document revealing Swedish weapons to be used in the war in Iraq, not only by Americans against the Iraqis, but also the other way around. WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, was denied recidence permit in Sweden earlier this year.
  • Furniture company IKEA are revealed to use child labour in the Philippines and Vietnam in 1997.
  • Managers from Scania, a truck making company, are charged for violating United Nations sanctions for being part of bribing the former Iraqi regime of Sadam Hussein. The bribes paid reached millions of Swedish kronor.
  • Atlas Copco Group is a mining equipment and services supplier that have been accused of repeatedly violating human and environmental rights and standards. "NGOs have charged that AGC has forcibly evicted, persecuted and killed local villagers, destroyed villages and destroyed water and agricultural land by discharging cyanide and other heavy metals." says OECD Watch.
  • Clothing giant H&M use certified organic cotton that isn't actually organic, making the company guilty of fraud. They also got a lot of criticizm for discarding unused clothing instead of giving it away to charity.
You can continue to dig and search for corruption and violations and certainly find whatever you're looking for and I'm aware of that this small list is somewhat to pull information out of it's context. But my point with this is that even though something seems good, even perfect, there is always room for improvement. This applies to everything in life and I think it's a good rule to live by; don't ever take things for granted.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Self Punishing Drama Queens


If one wonders why I keep on publishing less than polite comments in my blog, it's because I don't feel the need to hide anything. True, I have chosen to not publish a few, comments that shed a bad light on my person and the people around me, but the rest are out in the open. As I've stated earlier; I refuse to be censured and will not censure others unless I have a very good reason to. This is after all, my blog, where I choose the contents and write about what's in my heart and on my mind. No one is forced to read it, and if one for some reason would feel bad/sad/upset/annoyed/insert any other negative emotion, then I suggest you simply forget the address and stop reading right here. 

I'm living my life in honesty. Days of denial and lies belong to the past - they lead nowhere but downhill. I have had my fair amount of people around me that have seemed to be drawn to any kind of drama - anything to relieve them of their dull every day life. These are people that gossip, fish for information (true or false) and keep on punishing themselves by doing things that really don't make them feel any better at all. They read their partner's texts and emails, they tell all their friends about their suspected alcoholic neighbor, they keep track on their exes and devote their lives to make life hell for anyone that don't want to share their drama.

This blog has turned into a soap opera - far from my initial intentions, and for that I appologize. I'm partly guilty for it, for I have encouraged the drama by trying to "defend" myself from stupid and meaningless comments. By giving them the attention, I have encouraged them to continue. I'm aware of the consequences this post might have, but my point in writing this is simply to state that I'm done. No more of that. I'll continue to publish comments if I find them suitable, but I will not reply to rude or impolite comments.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Modern Layla and Majnun - Part II


If you haven't already, read A Modern Layla and Majnun - Part I first. Now, let's continue the story...

On the return to Sweden, the woman went straight to looking for an apartment that they both could be happy in. The man was still in Sudan, but on a cold October night he stepped out of the airplane in Stockholm. A new chapter of their lives had just begun.

Shortly after their longed for reunion, the woman, who had suffered from depressions for many years, was again stricken with the dark cloud of angst. It became more and more difficult for her to see through it and eventually she ended up blind to the world's happiness. She was so blinded by her angst that she failed to see the slow fall of her beloved. The man was new to the country and the culture. He didn't understand a word of what was being said in the streets and his pride took a punch when he realized how difficult it would be to get a job in this cold country. 

The relationship was going down and neither the woman or man had the strength to save it. One cold evening, about a year after he first arrived to Sweden, he went to the bus station and left.

Three years went by. They met occationally and the atmosphere were always tensed. The tension sometimes escalated to hate. The man was upset with the way the woman lived her life, and the woman was upset because she thought that it no longer was his concern.

Then one day, the man decided to leave Sweden. Since he had developed a good relationship with the woman's family, he came to visit more frequently now that he knew that it might be a long time that he could see them again, if ever. The woman, who realized that the man was about to leave for good, slowly started to soften to his words. The days grew closer to the departure, and with that, the angst of again loosing him. He had, after all, always been close. She had known that she could see him more or less whenever she wanted to, but now, that was about to change.

The night before the departure, there was an explosion of emotions. The air in the room, where the man and woman was sitting, was literally static with electricity and so thick that you could cut it with a knife. Although they hardly even touched, just sat and looked at eachother and ocationally talked about nonsense, a long lost connection was rebuild. Their souls entwined, their hearts beat the same rythm and a blessing was laid upon them. It said: you will meet again.

To be continued at a later date...

A Modern Layla and Majnun - Part I

Layla sits dreaming of her lost love
Layla and Majnun is based on the true stories of the Bedouin poet Qays ibn al-Mulawwah ibn Muzahim and Layla bint Mahdi ibn Sa'd. The story tells of a 7th century A.D young poet called Qays, who falls in love with a girl born in a rich family from the same tribe.  In his poems he proclaimed his love for her and asked her father for her hand. Even though Qays and Layla had grown up together, and they both loved each other dearly, the father refused since Qays wasn't wealthy enough. Soon after Layla is given to another man in marriage, whom took her to the area of today's Iraq, got ill and eventually died.

The name Layla means "night" in arabic, which some people believe to mean that the couple in secrecy continued their relationship. The name Majnun means "a crazy person", which became his name after he went mad for being refused to marry Layla.

Qays left his tribe to wonder the desert as a wild man and became known as Majnun. He was later found dead in the wilderness in 688 AD, near an unknown woman's grave. Three verses of poetry was carvedon a rock close to the grave. According to the Persian Nezami's version of the story, Layla and Majnun meets for the last time before their deaths. Both have fainted and Majnun's elderly messenger attemptsto revive Layla while wild animals protect the couple from unwelcomed intruders. 


Here's my adaption of my own story of Layla and Majnun:

The merciless heat of the Sudanese summer was coming to an end when the woman sat in a bumby raksha on her way through the dusty gravel roads to her first day at work. She was going to be a consultant for a small organization that were removing land mines from the country side. Her main task was going to be to teach English to the local staff in the main office. Among the locals was a man. His eyes were constantly glowing, and when he was smiling, he did it with his whole face. The woman was a khawadja, a westerner, and the man was a Sudanese arab.

The friendship was soon to arrive, and after came the relationship. Despite cultural and religious differences they managed to make the difficulties to challanges to be overcome. Love had showed her pretty face.

The woman's family, who was in Sweden, were not too happy about the relationship. They were worried about his religion. Many westerners have prejudices about arabs and her family was no exceptions. They thought that in case of a marriage, he would force her to become a muslim, kidnap their children and bring them back to Sudan, that he would beat her and abuse her in other ways. His family was cautious too. The woman had to endure a long list of questions about her values and plans for the future. The questioning though, lead to the woman being accepted by the family and the relationship could now be official.

The man went to a mission in Darfur, a huge area in the south-western parts of the country that is known for war, conflicts, rapes, burning of entire villages, huge refugee camps, death, misery and kidnapping... The man, who was there on mission for a different organization, was kidnapped with his collegue by rebels, accused of working for the government. All connection with the man was broken and no one heard from him in almost two weeks. The woman was inconsolable. Her eyes were constantly filled with tears and the horror and worry that she felt was indescribable. 

The UN had finally managed to negotiate with the rebels to free them. A few days later the man arrived back in the capital. Without respect of the prohibition of showing affection in public, the man and woman threw themselves in each others arms, kissed and cried of joy and relief. An engagement was settled and the man's family threw them a combined welcome home and engagement party. A few days later the woman had to leave her beloved fiancé and return to Sweden.

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Africa in my Heart


When I was a child, my uncle was a sailor. He travelled the world and a few months later he came home with small gifts and great stories. I could sit and listen to these stories for ages and the once that fascinated me the most was those of the wilderness, where song and dance colors the garment that the locals wear. I loved to listen to how different things were there, how happy people were, even if they barely had food and clean water for the day. Needless to say, my uncle became my great role model.

At that time, my affection for Africa was born. I was still a child when I felt the need of going there. Maybe I lived in Africa in a previous life, and my uncle was the one who reminded me of it. I don't know, but from then on, I knew that one day I will move to Africa.

I'm not there yet. Yes, I've visited Sudan and Morocco for a few months each, but that wasn't enough. I want to find that perfect place, in the coutskirts of a city, close by white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. I want to make friends with the wonderful people that always has a smile on their faces even when they suffer. I want to climb the mountains, camp in the wilderness, trekk in the jungles and dive the deep blue, full of colourful fishes, dolphines, whales and sharks. One day I will find that place, me and the love of my life.

So thank you, dear uncle, for showing me the path that is so right for me. I'll forever be greateful and I trust in your lifestyle. Because after all the traveling you made, you found the place of your dreams; the breathtaking Iceland. And if you move onwards to different locations, then I know that that too is what you're meant to do.

I know we've had a fall out, you and me, but I hope from the bottom of my heart and soul that our relationship will develop into what it used to be. I love you and your wonderful family.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Second of Fame

 WTactics is "a truly free strategy tabletop game played with cards, and also playable online if a friend isn't nearby". One of the developers, a very dear friend of mine, asked if I would like to have a character on one of the cards. So I sent some pictures of me, explained what kind of clothes and powers I would like to have. He then sent it to the wonderful artist and in a few weeks the work copy was sent back to me. 

I'm so happy about it and really look forward to seeing the complete game when it's done. If you're into strategy game cards, then I suggest that you join their page on Facebook: facebook.com/wtactics. They also greatly appreciate donations, since the development of the game and art of course takes resourses.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Solitude - Part III


A German-American theologian and philosopher by the name of Paul Tillich (1886-1965) explained the difference between solitude and loneliness like this:

Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.

After reading this, I decided that it probably would be a good subject to discuss concerning the previous two texts in the Solitude-series. After I realized that I had basically lost all my friends, I most definitely felt lonely, and that loneliness was in no sense a good one. I dwelled in the situation, mourned what was lost, at my failiours and at my fate. I hated life. I didn't see the point in continue living without my friends, without anyone. My family was there of course, but I simply took them for granted and didn't realize that I never would be lonely as long as I had them. The English biologist and politican John Lubbock (1834-1913) said that:

The whole value of solitude depends upon one's self; it may be a sanctuary or a prison, a haven of repose or a place of punishment, a heaven or a hell, as we ourselves make it.

So I most certainly chose my own hell and for a long time, that's where I lived. But then one day I woke up and realized something (some would call it an insight). I realized that sure, I lost my friends, but it wasn't by my hand. The situation I was in at the time of loosing them forced this to happen. Of course it wasn't what I wanted, but it happened and now I have to deal with it. Then I heard the laughter from downstairs (I was staying at mum's place at the time) and realized that I'm not lonely at all! 

In this society, it's considered wierd not to have friends. And sure, I still have a handfull of people I treasure deeply and are honored to call my friends, but they are scattered around the world and I have no possibility to meet them or even talk to them as much as I would like to. But what's most important is that I'm not that lonely after all. I have people to talk to when I'm sad. Most people may go to a friend for advice. I go to my sister. Some people have girls' nights out, I drink beer with my brothers.

I'm not going to lie. I miss having friends, I really do. And I wish that sometimes, just sometimes, I would be invited to one of those girls' nights out, even if I can't come. Being asked to join feels just as important as to actually join. But I also know that new people will enter my life and that some of them will be my friends. The worst you can do is to actually look for them. Better to give it time. The right people always show up when you expect it the least.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Solitude - Part II


The many questions
Being isolated and in solitude rises a lot of questions inside you, like why your friends left you when you needed them the most, how can you get them back or are they even worth trying to get back? How are you supposed to live a life without your friends, is it possible to get new ones? And if so, how? What do they really think of you, those few friends that you have left? Do they think I'm a pain in the ass or that I'm one of those energy stealers?

Those who left
People don't think like you. You would be very lucky (or unlucky) to meet someone that thinks just like you do. The first thing you need to learn, is that other people have their limits too, not just you. They may have their limits for different reasons than you. Maybe they don't have time for a sadass that never smiles or can go out partying with you. Maybe they want to help you, be there for you, but don't know how. Instead they withdraw.

Those people, however hard it is to loose them, are in your past. You lost your friends, for whatever reason, but in most cases it wasn't by choice. If I could have done things differently, I certainly wood. But I couldn't. I really couldn't. I was busy surviving and that was my priority. And to all my former friends: I understand. I understand why I had to be excluded, I really do. Everyone has different reasons and I'm sure yours were just as good as mine were.

Now what?
Those who are still there, are worth every piece of gold there is out there. They will stay with you, no matter what. They have seen you at your lowest and at your worst and they have been there those days when things seems a little brighter. In my case it's my family (including Linda and Khalid), Anna, Frida and Jakob. Even if they're few, even if they live far away and you don't get to see or talk to them as much as you would like, they mean everything. These people are the key to getting out of this.

You think you're alone? Look again. There are people all around you that truly cares about you and wants to be there for you. Yes, I lost most of my friends, but so what? I have my family and they're not going to leave me. And when my strength is back to normal, what's stopping me from getting new friends? I can do that, I know I can. Maybe not now, but soon enough.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Solitude - Part I

"Solitude"
There are different ways of defining the word solitude:

  • the state of being solitary or secluded 
  • a state of social icolation
  • the state or sitation of being alone
  • a state of being alone, or withdrawn from society; a lonely life; lonelyness.
  • the state of being or living alone 


In most cases, solitude is not chosen. It happened for reasons that you either could or couldn't prevent. Maybe you did something so bad that your friends chose to fully or partly exclude you from their lives. Solitude can also be a result of a somewhat innocent person falling sick and no longer has the strength to keep her social life going. Suddenly there are other things to top the priority list of what is most important in your life. For example: would you prefer to fight for your will to stay alive, or would you rather keep going as normal and as a result; loose your life.

In my case, I lost my friends when I no longer had the will to live. I was in a deep depression and on a number of Hulk-strong pills to keep me calm and keep the suicidal thoughts away from my head. At this time, it wasn't even in me to call my friends, to keep relationships going and to pretend to be this super social gal I used to be. So I lost my friends. Three stayed (Anna, Frida and Jakob). For them, I will forever be greatful and I wish with all my being that one day I will be forever free the disabling angst so that I can show how much you really mean to me. I love you guys, from the bottom of my soul; I thank you.

During the years, the depressions have come back, and the problems with it. I've been slipping away from those dear friends even when I at times have had the courage to talk to them, and on occasion even see them. Anna moved to Oslo. Frida lives closer, but is busy. Jakob lives in Göteborg and is probably equally busy.

I'm really working on it, but it's still hard to be in social places with a lot of people. I never feel more alone than I do in a room full of people. Taking the bus to Göteborg is a huge undertaking even though it's only an hour away. This is probably the hardest part to explain; how I can't come have coffee in Borås or go to a party in Göteborg. I can't, because although I've worked hard to get where I am today, I'm not quite there yet. I so wish I was. Because at this time, it feels like even those three remaining friends are slipping away from me. I can't have that happen. That would certanily be the final blow. But what can I do to prevent that from happening? How can I prove to them that I'm worth to come visit, even if I can't come see them?


    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Patience


     Some of the smartest dummies
    Can’t read the language of Egyptian mummies
    An’ a fly go a moon
    And can’t find food for the starving tummies

    Pay no mind to the youths
    Cause it’s not like the future depends on it
    But save the animals in the zoo
    Cause the chimpanzee dem a make big money
     
    This is how the media pillages
    On the TV the picture is
    Savages in villages
    And the scientist still can’t explain the pyramids, huh
     
    Evangelists making a living on the videos of ribs of the little kids
    Stereotyping the image of the images
    And this is what the image is
    You buy a khaki pants
    And all of a sudden you say a Indiana Jones
    An’ a thief out gold and thief out the scrolls and even the buried bones
    Some of the worst paparazzis I’ve ever seen and I ever known
     
    Put the worst on display so the world can see
    And that’s all they will ever show
    So the ones in the west
    Will never move east
    And feel like they could be at home
     
    Dem get tricked by the beast
    But a where dem ago flee when the monster is fully grown?
    Solomonic linage whe dem still can’t defeat and them coulda never clone
    My spiritual DNA that print in my soul and I will forever Own Lord

    - from Patience by Nas & Damian Marley

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Awkward Moments Concerning Scarfs


    This picture represents one of the most awkward and wierd (even humiliating) situations I've ever experienced. 

    For many years, my favourite garment has been the scarf. I usually wear it wrapped around my head, partly or fully covering my hair. It has no religious significance for me and I only wear it because it's comfortable and nice. My favourite wrap is what I suppose is most common in Africa and I like it in strong colours matched with big ear rings.

    On this occation, I was in a shopping mall in Dubai. UAE is a pretty conservative country, where most muslim women wear veils and cover most parts of their body. My head wrap had started to slide back, so I went to the ladie's room to tie it up. All was well until two typical Dubai women (who must have been sisters), dressed in long flowing black garments covering everything except their faces, entered the room and went to fix their veils on each side of me in front of the mirror. I gave them a greeting smile but got none in return, only a raised eyebrow.

    Now, covering your hair is a norm for muslim women in Dubai, and fixing your veil once in a while is a necessity. But since covering your hair is considered a part of Islam, I suppose the two women thought I was a proper wierdo for first of all being an obvious westerner and second of all wearing a head wrap. The situation that arose is very hard to discribe, but the two women on either side of me were glancing at each other and at me, then back to each other and frowned. This lasted for a couple of minutes, but it felt like a forever. I was being looked down at and got the feeling that I, as a stupid westerner, had no right in wearing a scarf for whatever reason. It was all very very uncomfortable and I mustered all my strength to not give up my attempt with fixing the scarf and run out of the ladie's room - and so letting them win. I took my time, did my best to ignore their disparaging looks and then left the room calmly (I hope).

    Afterwards I can see the comic parts of the situation and try to gather some kind of wisdom from it. It taught  me how important it is not to judge other people; not based on their looks, past or anything at all. Judging is not my task. It also taught me not to be affected by other people's judgement (although I still find that very hard). I did, after all, follow the clothing norm in Dubai. My hair was covered, although for different reasons than most other women in the city. It doesn't matter. No one should be looked down at based on their looks, where they come from or what language they speak.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    The Secret of Bliss


    It took me two days before I could start to write this. Two days of an unimaginable storm of emotions rushing through me, messing up all rational thinking and still letting me see clearly for a long long time. I have sought the source of happiness for most of my adult life, searching for that one thing that will allow me to feel bliss. I had no luck, until two days ago.

    Linda called me, after what seemed like forever. I had been waiting impatiantly all day. We knew there would be news from the children's hospital in Göteborg about Jamie's cancer; either the tumour had shrunk in a satisfying way allowing a surgery, or more cytotoxin would be required. This is what happened:

    Me: Did they call? What did they say??
    Linda: Well, there is one good news...
    Me: Tell me! What is it?!
    Linda: At least there won't be any more cytotoxin!
    Me: Wohoooo! That's wonderful! So when is the surgery?!
    Linda: Well... there won't be a surgery either...
    Silence.
    Me: What do you mean?
    Now I was thinking the worst. Is there nothing else they can do for him? Is this it?
    Linda: He doesn't need it, the tumour isn't a threat anymore!

    When the information started to sink in, I started to cry. An erruption of pure happiness and relief just surged through me. I've never in my whole life felt anything like this. It's a bloody miracle! Jamie doesn't have cancer anymore! I thought I had my priorities in life, and I thought that happiness was something that occured to the individual, something that had to do with your ego. But no, bliss is found in the caring of others, nothing less. I cried of happiness that whole day; for Jamie that will have a life, a future. For Linda, who no longer will suffer from the angst and worry of loosing her child and to see him suffer. For Jamie's brothers, who will have their baby brother to tease and to play with. For the whole family, that no longer need to imagine a future without the baby, and for all friends, who have prayed, hoped and crossed their fingers.

    So many people have followed this baby's struggles through cancer and in their best ways supported his mother, kept her strong, made her not give up. I think it's the power of all these people, who made this miracle happen.

    From now on, my previous worries are nothing. I no longer care about ignorant people acting out of jealousy, of bad things being said about me. I don't care about money or other material things. All that are just trifles and not worthy my energy. What I do care for, is my family and friends. They are what make me happy and keeps me going, and I will do anything that is in my power to make them feel what I feel right now. Nothing is more important than that.

    So, to all my friends and family: I love you!
    And to my foes: Fuck off.


    The picture is borrowed from Souls Talking Brain.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Good old Slander


    So today mum showed me something interesting. I must be quite something if someone puts so much energy into despising me and letting everyone know it. Lies are easily spread and easily forgotten, but the dirt you get on your hands while spreading them will not go away for a very long time and it will be that that people will first notice about you.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Endless Waiting

    Cover of Moby's album "wait for me."
    This past couple of months have been nothing but an endless waiting; from important information about a baby with cancer to a decicion from CSN about my student's loan and everything in between. I can be patient about many things, and God knows I have been. But of lately, it's been more and more difficult with all this waiting. Maybe it's because the things are just building up into a sticky pile of foul smelling mud. I'm way too sensitive to anything emotionally or personally stressful at the moment. I feel like I'm walking on shattered glass, flinching every time the phone or door bell rings.

    I'm trying to bury my head in the sand and ignore all the irrational emotions disabling me. I do it with my head deep in books or my eyes staring at the screen where some B-movie is playing. I'm trying to think ahead, of all the things I'll be able to do when all this is over, when things are solved, forgotten, left behind. But I have noticed that if I let myself think at all, then the thoughts are automatically drawn in the wrong direction. My head is like a magnet to stress. I take the edge off by drinking camomile tea. I wonder if it's possible to consume too much of it? I hope not.

    Well, good news is that CSN called a few days ago saying that if I can get my doctor to add something to the medical certificate (explaining why I couldn't fulfil my studies last semester) then I'll have my money soon. So now I'm waiting for my doctor to send that additional letter to me. Maybe tomorrow. I also got an email from my student councellor saying that I can switch the courses I'm currently on and still be eligible for the bachelor course next semester. That's great news. I registered on a couple of courses within the field of pedagogy and are now waiting to get admitted.

    We're hoping to get information from the child hospital in Göteborg today about Jamie's tumour. If it shrunk enough since last cytotoxin treatment, then he will hopefully have his surgery soon. How great would it be to get rid of that small but devastating lump on his back once and for all! It's strange, that something so small can cause so much trouble and pain, not only for the baby but for everyone around him and his family. Child cancer is a mean thing, it tears people's lives up. Please contribute to the research by learning more about the disease, becoming a member or donate to the Child Cancer Fund (Swedish). All this can be done here.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Freedom of Expression

    My version of censorship.
    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
    Noam Chomsky


    If my blog makes you upset, for whatever reason, then I advice you to stop reading it. This is where I express my personal thoughts, opinions and feelings and if you feel designated by my words, then it's up to you to deal with. I write about subjects that I care for and I don't mention any names unless they are used in a positive sense. I will not be censured or silenced. Use your free will to choose what you want to read, and leave  behind what you don't want to hear.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Can't Buy Him Love

    "Bring it!"

    I know desperation when I see it, because I've been there myself and therefore have some understanding of what one is willing to do for the sake of getting or keeping what you most desire. But there are limits. I have kept quiet for a while now, been patient and waited things out so that problems could be solved without me interfering, but when you target my family (who have nothing what so ever to do with your problems) then I have to speak up.

    And contacting my ex boyfriend? Give me a break.

    Life is strange. The roads you walk can take sudden turns, sometimes you end up in a cul-de-sac. Sometimes you get lost. I dare say that I was walking the wrong road for a long time and finally made it back to the main road. It wasn't planned - none of this was planned and I'm sorry that it had to affect others, but that's life. Shit happens, sometimes by your own hand. I believe this is what happened in this case, but I'm not going to point any fingers. All concerned will know their own mistakes and faults, including me.

    I'm not a material girl, and I don't believe that  money or anything material can buy a person's happiness. Most of us are grown ups, who of course help each other when possible. I don't make important decisions for the sake of money and expect it to make me happy, or even loved. The people I care about have about the same attitude and I know that I will never have to prove my affection to them by providing money or material things when they are fully capable of taking care of themselves. I expect to be treated the same way. 

    Some things are meant to be, some things aren't.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Good News vs. Police Razzia


    The bump on Jamie's back turned out to be an enlarged muscle, thank goodness. We're all so relieved and sort of in a shock. Although most of us were more or less sure that it wasn't another tumour, the worries was still there and the good news was like putting the air out of a huge balloon about to explode. I can't even express what I feel right now. Sure, he's still not eating enough, but he's so much better than last week, and with the good news all the hopes we all had gathered are back. I have no doubt what so ever that there soon will be a surgery to remove the foul tumour once and for all and that Jamie will get fully recovered and live the happy life he so much deserves.

    I'm staying with Linda and her beautiful kids since they got back from the MRI. Last night I shared bedroom with Jamie and I can now stop worrying that I wouldn't wake up when I'm sleeping in the same room as a baby. I woke up every time he moved or sighed or when he dropped his dummy. It was definitely good training for future happenings!

    And now to the happening of the day. Me, Linda and Sara were out running a few errands and were on our way back. Linda was driving her car with Jamie in the front and me, Sara and baby Nova in the back. We were 100 m from the house when suddenly we saw the characteristic blinking blue lights in an under cover police car behind us. Linda stopped and out marched two officers asking for her driving's licence. She got to blow in this alcohol reading device. All was in order, until one of the officers said no to let us go. Suddenly another police car showed up and in a few seconds we had officers blocking all of the car doors, refusing to let any of us out, including Sara with her screaming baby who was really really hungry.

    They said they suspected that Linda was affected by some drugs (?!) and asked her to step out and get in their car to do an eye test. Poor, poor Linda who has had enough for years to come was about to burst, just as me and Sara who sat helpless and locked in in the back of the car, forbidden to touch our phones or even close the doors to avoid the babies to freeze. Naturally Linda was allowed to go.

    I have never experienced such social incompetence in the Swedish police force. They claimed it was a "routine control". Do they have it as a routine to be SO unpleasant and rude too? They had no reason what so ever to put Linda, or anyone for that matter, in a position like that, making her and the rest of us feel guilty for something we didn't do. To put someone through that, they need an underlying reason - something that they didn't have. I know that I can't properly describe the situation in words. Let's just say that no professional should act the way they did. Two babies were crying their lungs out and they couldn't even let one of the mothers stand outside the car OR close the doors so that they wouldn't freeze. What did they think; that we would pick out our automatics and start shooting? Or that we would pick up the babies and run into the bushes?

    It was shameful, the way they acted. All the neighbors were watching through the windows, embarrassing all of us. What must they think now? I hope that the responsible officers will understand that they acted completely unprofessional and rude. Be sure that I will do my best to make that happen. This is not what it should be like in Sweden (or anywhere else for that matter).