Elections, Shame & Paper Cranes

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am usually very proud to be Swedish.
Not so tonight.

Today general elections were held in Sweden, and I feel utterly ashamed to say that it looks reasonably certain thatSverigedemokraterna [Sweden Democrats (SD)] will make the 4% threshold to enter Riksdagen [the Swedish parliament]. I’m guessing that to anyone not from Sweden this might not sound like much to be ashamed of. Sweden and Democracy – how bad can it be, right?

The answer is “VERY”. (SD) is the Swedish equivalent of the UK’s British National Party, and much like the BNP they win voters through sheer scare mongering, using, what they call “severely restricted immigration” as their main manifesto, and, again, much like the BNP, they prey on people’s fear of the unknown, to gain voters. They market themselves as not being a racist party, despite the fact that many of its members and frontline politicians have backgrounds in both neo-nazi and white power movements. An early SD campaign poster [not used in this year’s campaign] read “Bevara Sverige Svenskt!” – “Keep Sweden Swedish!”

So, in short: I feel absolutely disgusted with the outcome of this election.

It looks like Alliansen [the allied, ie the conservative parties] will be the ones to form the new government, but, sadly, it’s not at all impossible that they’ll need to work with (SD) to push new policies through.

As it currently stands Moderaterna [the Conservatives (M)] is set to be the biggest party, with Socialdemokraterna [Labour (S)] second. Miljöpartiet [the Green Party (MP)] is having their most successful election ever, coming in as the third largest party, surpassing Vänsterpartiet [the Left Party (V)], who have traditionally been the second largest party in the Red/Green block. At a guess, I’d say that a fair few voters have given their vote to (MP), in the hope that they, would agree to work with Alliansen, in order to shut (SD) out.

Now, I’ve never been one to root for any of the conservative parties, but, honestly – if the choice is for them to work either with (SD) or (MP) – I’d be happy for (MP) to take a step to the right, to make that happen.

To counteract my rather dejected mood, I’ll end this entry with something a bit more positive: Had a really good day today. Had soooo much fun at the Special Event we ran at work today. Such an experience. So rewarding. I feel honoured to be part of it.

Also had a blast at my J-Prep class this evening, learning lots and making decorations for the sukkah at my synagogue. Had a go at making apple, orange and lemon decorations, but failed miserably. Luckily there was also origami paper to make paper cranes, and, having taken part in a project to fold a thousand of them for the Sadako Sasaki peace monument in Hiroshima at age 11, this is something I feel a lot more at home with. In fact, I ended up running an impromptu crane folding tutorial with my fellow J-Preppers, and I really enjoyed it. Funnily enough, I’d actually done something quite similar earlier today at work, with a very different group of people.

All the best,

xx

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow – Looking Back Is Looking Forward

Having one of them days again. You know. The kind when you struggle to get out of bed, despite the sun shining outside of your window – or possibly because the sun is shining outside the window. I dunno. Or, actually, I do know. I just think my reason for getting like this is a bit lame..

It’s his birthday today. Consequently the day I least want to celebrate or even remember. Only I do. Remember it, I mean. Not celebrate. It seems impossible for me to just forget it. Every year it reminds me of his existence, the effect he’s had on my life and even, for better or worse, the person that I am.

On the more positive side it’s my sister’s birthday on Tuesday. Something I do want to celebrate. For all the difficulties in my life, I am blessed to have the two best sisters the universe has ever seen. They do get me through an awful lot of things, just by being who they are, and by allowing me to share in their lives. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Tomorrow is two years to the day since I was first admitted to the women’s crisis centre. I think back and realise how much my life has changed since then. It’s almost unrecognisable. Back then I was one of those people who poured all of me, all my energy, into my job and I was struggling with the idea that I wasn’t able to work. In all honesty, I still struggle with that, because, I like working, I like feeling like I’m of some use to the world around me. But, I can also see that I needed that time off. That it’s been useful and necessary. Had I not taken that time, I doubt it I would still be here now.

As I’ve mentioned before I do some unpaid work these days. Not much, but enough to feel like it makes a difference. And recently I’ve actually upped the hours, which I think is a step in the right direction. I may not feel quite ready to go back to full-time paid employment, but I do enjoy having a sense of purpose in what little work I do do. Also, I am toying with the idea of studying. More than toying, really – but we’ll see if anything comes of it.

I have three long-term goals that I’m working towards. Life-time goals, more accurately, and I feel pretty sure that I will find a way to make them happen. I just don’t know how soon or in what order.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter. The point is that I have those goals. I think it’s important to have goals, a sense of journey, of going somewhere. Sure enough, life throws you curve-balls, and sometimes you simply can’t catch them; you have to settle for dodging them. But all the same, having a goal does help with all that.

I was at synagogue yesterday morning, and I was sitting – as I always do – with a person who is a long-standing member of the congregation. And I was thinking to myself: How blessed am I?

Two years ago I was at a place where I saw no meaning at all in sticking around. I just wanted to pack up, close the shop,catch the bus. And yet, here I was, two years later, in a place I’d never thought I’d find myself, with people I would never have met, feeling completely and utterly filled with gratitude. Thinking that I wouldn’t want to miss this for anything.

And this is what I try to keep in mind today, struggling as I am with difficult thoughts and feelings – that, if I don’t find a way to make it through today, that means I won’t be here tomorrow.

And if I’m not here tomorrow, who’s to say I won’t be missing out on a day like yesterday?

xx

Heather Nova’s live version of Gloomy Sunday

Paths and Journeys – An Entry About Life

I’ve got that Friday feeling. Well, really, it’s more than that, but for now, let’s just call it that. I’m feeling quite at peace for the moment, despite having had some very sad news recently. It’s that knowledge that sometimes bad things happen, and we can’t possibly understand why, we can’t find a reason no matter how hard we try. But, just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Managed to finish two mini-essays for my course. They’re not fantastic by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, I’d be surprised if I even make a pass grade. But right now, where I’m at, somehow that doesn’t seem to be the point. The point is that despite having had some very difficult things to deal with in the last few months, I did manage to write them. I could have just said that Nope, this is too much for me to cope with on top of everything else, I’m not even going to try. But I didn’t. I gave it a go. It may not actually be quite enough from an academic point of view, but, from a live-and-learn point of view this is really important.

I think these Big Things I’ve been talking about in previous posts have helped put things into perspective. But also, I have made slow and steady progress, even these Big Things aside. Just through staying alive and learning as I go.

I see life as something of a journey with many different paths. Life is not a race to get to the finishing line; sometimes you choose a path which is more winding than another, but even so, it’s still heading in the same general direction. Also a path is about the knowledge and wisdom you pick up along the way, and sometimes the longer, more winding paths will teach us more than the ones that run neatly ahead.

Just a thought.

All the very best and more,

xx