At the Sweden’s most northerly point, called Three-Country Cairn, the sun will never raise from today, the first of December. This will be for about 2 weeks. Then the same phenomenon will appears at Sweden’s northernmost city Kiruna. It is 135 kilometer between those two places and for people living in those parts of the country that kind of distance is – almost – like a walk to your next door neighbor to have a coffee and a chat. It is a sparsely populated part of the country.
No sunrise means not complete darkness, even if no sun there will be a light from it shown 4 hours and 44 minutes!
In Kiruna lives about lives 18 200 people. The community’s primary occupation is the mining industry. This mining has resulted in the whole city now must move, because the ground has weakened. The community will dismantle some house and rebuilt them on a chosen safer place.
There is a village even more north than Kiruna. It is Karesuando about 180 kilometers north east Kiruna and it lies at the border to Finland. About 300 people lives in the village, but still people have all they need there for a living: primary school, day care center, grocery stores, church, gas station, various shops, library, gym, bath house, hotels, hostels, public health service, medical center, retirement home and post office. But no police station.
If you would translate the name Smygehuk to English you could believe the meaning would be (Swedish) “smyga” = sneak (in English) and (the Swedish) “huka” = crouch( in English). Sneakcrouch with other words? No, Smygehuk actually means “narrow cape”. No one lives there, it’s only a tourist view point.
As the map shows, Sweden is a long and narrow country and we have three climate zones. When it is still summer in south, you have autumn in the middle parts of the country and the winter has already began in the north.
I have never been in the North of Sweden. It looks exotic from what I see on pictures, even though it’s my own country. I have no desire to go there. Like many Swedes I long for a sunny and a warmer climate.
From the northernmost place I’ve ever visited in Sweden there is 851 kilometers straight line to Kiruna, 1177 kilometers on the highways. From the city I live, it is 1076 kilometers straight line, 1499 kilometers on the roads. North Sweden is like another world in my mind.
From the city there I actually live (in the more south part of the country) and to Stockholm – there my son lives and works – it’s 174 kilometers northward and straight line. But 198 kilometers the road way. He has no car so he takes the train when he visits me. It’s 209 kilometers and is calculated to take 2 hours. It seldom do as the administration of the train traffic has gone to hell. In my youth – long time ago – you could set the watch after the train traffic. Times changes – and so we with them.
From the south to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, it’s 526 kilometers straight line. From Stockholm to Kiruna it’s 955 kilometers. Yet Stockholm and it surroundings is called “Middle Sweden”. It’s more of an economic, social and cultural description. But it’s the center in the public consciousness too. All area outside the Stockholm area is like “out there in nowhere”. “The pulse” is in Stockholm. Yet everyone certainly knows that is not so…
But not many people live at the big North. Most lives in “Middle Sweden” or around in Gothenburg at the West coast or in Malmoe in the South. The green color on the map shows the most densely populated areas, the dark red parties show the least inhabited areas.
Stockholm is considered to be the hub of (upper class-) culture rewarding superiority to those born to “be better” than ordinary people. Stockholm is where mostly the richest in the country lives, those now identified through the revealing Paradise Papers.
There in Stockholm we find “the 18”, forming the Swedish Academy giving glamour to Sweden abroad every year because of the Nobel Prize award. Next big event coming now in December.
The club most consist elderly men with one foot in their grave. Nevertheless they boasts of owning a skill and culture, “genius and taste” more than the most of us. The Swedish Academy is a private club with rules and secrecy belonging to an ancient time. No transparency at all is the strictest rule. Though those members in the club and their friends really believes they belong to an elite of the Swedish people.
With such arrogance there is no surprise #metoo has shaken this institution in its foundations as the club for years has protected a “cultural personality” guilty of “inappropriate and unwanted sexual behavior” – as they now prefer to name it!
It’s a man now 71 years old, married to a member of the Swedish Academy and involved with several of the others members, it’s about friendships, social events, money and privileges etecetera.
For two decades this man has acted as bad as ever Harvey Weinstein. It is a behavior in the whole scale from habitual verbal abuses, unwanted sexual touching, several repeated cases of stalkings and rapes. And it has been going on for 20 years! And like with Weinstein, this was a “secret” people around him all knew about. Now they say they had heard rumors he “liked women” but that he must have lived a double life they knew nothing about – such cowardly and lying hypocrites!
The question to be raised is what obligations have those who for years allows a perpetrator to work freely without the guardian of morality preventing it.
As a good citizen you are obliged to prevent misconduct whenever you see it. When it comes to this person it seems his wife and closest friends who actively hushed people in order to protect this man. This is even more serious as the victims mostly was young girls, which by the man was threaten with to lose every chance to make a carrier in their future lifes as artists or writers – if they did not accept his sexual behavior against them. They would never get jobs and scholarships in their skills, so they were told if they said “no” – and the victims was also told “don’t you know who I’m married to”! Therefore I must see this wife as accomplice, she must have known what creep he was and still is.
It is not only a few men in the cultural sector and in the media that appears to act like pigs against the women. It has been reveled through the #metoo campaign going on in all sectors of the Swedish society.
Thousands and thousands women now testifies about harassment’s. It is female artists, actors, musicians, teachers, doctors and other healthcare practitioners, athletes, politicians – it is every sector in this society, not even men in the horse sports walks free from conduct harassment against women and girls!
It’s good it comes out in light. But it is disgusting!
This movement #metoo has become to the same dimension as “the Arabic spring” but in Sweden – and this will no doubt lead to a real change of the society. I would like to compare it with the fall of the Berlin wall. Because it’s big what’s happens here now – and there is no turning back from this.
Yes, the women yes! Women in Sweden are liberated.
The men never became. They just pretended they were following us. And they have taken revenge on their female coworkers by mocking them on a daily basis, calling it jokes. They have humor – women have not, they tell!
Young women on their working places have been told by their older female colleagues not to bother and not talk about it when they have been harassed. For their own good! So it is said! Even when it went so far it came to rapes, women were told to forget about it and move on with life and work… And they did, afraid to lose their jobs. But some got sick and was treated for “incomprehensible” anxiety. Some just resigned from making a career and married and got kids, moving their ambitions of a good life to the private sector.
Even now those women talking under #metoo become mocked, told their stories are witch hunts. A negative woman journalist said about this “I fear those too easily insulted people takes over the agenda” and she and other (female) journalists warns it will be mob rule in media that will violates legal processes. Again women are told: shut up! And this coming from other women! It’s disgusting. It’s darkness!
Men (in media) has been more silent during the last weeks #metoo movement in Sweden. Not many words, but those told has been positive. But an 82 years old “cute” (sic!) man, certain of his charm would work for him – “known for TV” sort of person – has even compared all the women stories under #metoo with Stalin’s purges. So a young woman telling she been raped by her boss, is to compare with Stalin’s purges? Yes, it is what this old wise man claims.
He got a shock when he got fired from the newspaper and now he is upset and he say he has the “freedom of speech”. Yes, he has… And he did, poor devil!
But many in Sweden, both men and women, are very happy for this movement. A feminist of my generation say in a today paper she is very happy for #metoo, “now I can die in piece”… She is only two years older than me and I’m 68. And I’m not ready to do die “in peace” yet, really. She worries me, frankly…
And she should think twice as Sweden institutions are preparing for to raise the obligatory pension age from 65 to 70 – so we oldies must take our vitamins and run one or two lap more, before we even can think of dying!
But truly, this never ending movements of #metoo don’t make me happy… 😦 No! I think all what has been revealed is like living at the most Northern part of the country. It is so dark! At the view point at Three-Country Cairn. Darkness, friends! 😦
From today no sun, just a reflection from it gives some guiding light to see a path to move forward.
I have for years been confused over why Swedish men in Swedish movies and TV serials are portrait as timid, withdrawn and henpecked guys. And so equal and kind to their women. Because it is not my view of “the Swedish man”. I have reasons to mistrust!
But I’ve been informed by Swedish men that men from other countries oppresses women. I should be aware of then, I’m told. Men from other countries often have conservative opinions about men and women, yes. But opinions is one thing and behavior another. To my personal experience Swedish men are arrogant and patronizing and mansplaining. And that is not opinions, that is behavior! I don’t like them.
Still I read in papers Swedish men like the 82 yo male journalist treating female coworkers as puppies, tries to claim those male offenders only are “a few clumsy boys” who been drinking too much. A little “courting” women must accept at parties, he say. Try still to look teddy bears those Swedish men, when simply a grizzly bear.
It’s really dark in December – but if we can imagine moving a whole city (as the Kiruna community plans), then we can certainly imagine a change in the social climate so that the little light we have in the Swedish winter there also comes over the young women, allow them to be able to share it with everyone without fear the big grizzly man!