>Last Wednesday I was in Bastad, Sweden to accept the scholarship I told you about here. It was a three day program with a cocktail, visits in gardens and museums and an evening banquet at which I was given the award and, what the hell let me tell you like it was, I stole the show!
I just wish everybody one time in their life could feel the strong support, keen interest and appreciation I felt around 9 pm that night when I held the microphone and gave my Thank You Speech. I looked up on 200 smiling SWEA members, all women, as well as my (crying) mother and father and the nervousness had felt earlier in the day just melted away. I talked about migration and development, about exchange students flowing in only one direction. I shared my viewpoint on how migration and its effects constitute the most important political questions of our time. I even provided some information on the tailored, red, waxprint, Ghanaian outfit I was wearing complete with African accessories and an afro hairstyle due to the drizzling Bastad rain.
The audience was cheering me all the way and did not get any quieter when I had received my check from the SWEA President and a man in a tuxedo came out and sang a song from The Lion King Movie with new words to suit the occasion. Afterwards, I talked to many – maybe all – my benefactors present at the event and they all had positive things to say. I got hugs. I got roses. And the food was great too. What A Night!
Just updated this post with a pic from that night. Photo by my father, Sture Hallberg.
>If that is true, I am a loud voice in the blogosphere, a many times published journalist and writer, a reseacher, a traveller and a radio host. Let’s start with Nadja, she is a lawyer and a writer, mostly commenting on foreign issues from a Swedish perspective or issues a pluralistic Sweden has to deal with immediately like religious schools.
My fair trade heroine Emilie is constructing Bombay as we write during an summer course at the univerity there. Peter I believe is writing a book on pension reforms in Sweden. Mattias is writing about the process of learning ICT at university level when he is not busy writing articles and media strategies as the head of PhD students in Sweden. Laila is in Paris writing her dissertation on the organizational culture of the OECD concerning development and gender.
My sister Freja is a radio host with the national radio channel P3. My friend Matthew is writing excellent stuff all the time, sometimes it gets published in the Dothan Cronicle.Katrine works with newspaper expressen , but also publish her sharp comments in other publications and on the web, Marta works, except for the Almighty also with magazine Efter Arbetet, Joel with Folkbladet in Norrkoping and Ida, last time I checked worked for Jamtlandstidningen.
Today, Anna a freelance writer together with Petra a poet and academic writer, are launching the first ever queer club in our hometown, Visby as “entertainment, business idea and political statement”.
I am so proud of you all and this is not even an exhaustive list!
In the picture me with some of the above mentioned friends.
It is all over the news, OIL FOUND IN GHANA! The “black gold” was found just off shore Ghana by UK-based firm Tullow Oil and according to the bbc the finding is one of Africa’s biggest with 600m barrels (which tells me nothing, but news papers also state it is “of commercial value” so it is quite a lot, I guess). Even though it will take years before the oil can be accessed, everybody is discussing the news, many with the critical question “will this commodity really come to benefit the Ghanaian people?” However, the Ghanaian politicians are already celebrating. President Kufuor has stated:
“My joy is that I’ll go down in history as the president under whose watch oil was found to turn the economy of Ghana around for the better”
The politicians sure need some good news. Yesterday, I went to the donor partners Consultative Group meeting in Accra where development partners come together with the Ghanaian government discussing how the aid available can give best value for money. President Kufuor came to the meeting for the closing ceremony. We all rose to the occasion, a respectful silence spread, and the president marched into the conference room with his entourage. He stopped at the podium and Ghana’s national anthem came on. About half way into the anthem, all lights went off, the AC stopped, the anthem was interrupted and we were all, president and ministers included, standing in the dark. It was a not so subtle reminder of the energy crisis here in Ghana.
I am reading the wonderful vivid stories compiled in the book by the Danish baroness Karen Blixen who came to live in Kenya in 1913 and stayed for almost 20 years. In the book, beautiful insights of life at a coffee plantation, masai people and the politics of first world war are interspersed with shockingly racist accounts by a baroness who was not only a writer, artist and safari hunter, but also a slave owner.
In this section she tell her kikuyu slaves about rhymes and poetry and they ask her to continue. The chapter is very typically named “Negros and verse”.
One night out on the corn fields, when we had harvested the corn…I started for my own amusement to speak to my workers, most of them very young, in verse in Swahili. There was no meaning to the verses, they were made up for the sake of the rhyme:
Na penda chumbe (The bulls like salt)
It soon attracted the interest of my workers, they gathered around me…
-Speak again, speak about rain.
Why they thought that poetry sounded like rain, I do not know. It must have been an expression for approval, because rain is in Africa always longed for and welcomed.
-Karen Blixen in Out of Africa
>I have landed!
Right from the moment I touched African soil I have been enjoying myself and greeted people. We have been lunching, dining and drinking with various friends and relatives – all of them seem very happy to have me here. Coming back is a whole different thing. Just knowing a little bit of what to expect has helped a lot. Although the heat, guessing humid and around 30 degrees has been hard on me. Coming back to stay is also a wholly new experience. Knowing I will have time on my side to do and meet and greet demands a different attitude. I do not have to do everything today.
Ongoing is also an energy crisis and all of today, parts of Saturday and Sunday there was no electricity. That is if you do not have your own generator. Power is being rationed every 6th day, but in between rationing power also goes out. The power situation is right now the most pressing political issue in Ghana and articles like this one are printed every day. Since my boyfriend is one of the engineers working with building a new power plant, I have some interesting information and will come back to this topic.
Three years ago, right before the referendum on joining the Euro zone, Sweden’s foreign minister Anna Lindh was stabbed to death in a Stockholm department store. I remember Anna Lindh as a fabulous speaker and a political role model and her unnecessary and brutal death as a push to join party politics.
– A human being can be murdered, but ideas can’t. Our thanks to you will be to carry your message on, Anna Lindh said at Olof Palme’s funeral in 1986.
Today, I am remembering Anna Lindh and on Sunday, I hope people in Sweden remember the ideas of democracy and vote. I will.
Political activism is on the streets of France again. The French are known for publically expressing their opinions and this time it is the CPE law which allows for employers to hire young people (under 26) without employment security to set in which is the reason for upset.
Since Thursday most of the universities in Paris have been captured and demonstrating students and others, sometimes wild ones, have been protesting against the CPE-law. Police have been numerous and working hard to put an end to demonstrations with teargas and other tough and violent methods. On Thursday 120 000 students protested peacefully in Paris , however in the end of the day the protests became violent with rockthrowing and firebombs.
Still, while universities are closing down, a bookstore was burning, thousends of people were coming together to defend labor rights it was fairly easy to miss that there is a small revolution going on in Paris, since I don’t have a TV or radio. I only realised how big this was today when I spoke to a friend who live near Sorbonne and she told me about the demonstrations. She also said was accused of “tourisme revolutionaire” when she took a photo of the demonstrations there. So tomorrow when new demostrations are scheduled all over town maybe I will leave my camera at home when I experience the demonstrations… The chant for the 13.00 demonstrations at Pere Lachaise will be “Ne laissons pas faire!” – We won’t let them do it! according to IndymediaParis. LeMonde has made a good audio/visual presentation of Thursday’s demonstrations here.
It is an important question, labor rights for all, and BBC comments that ironically it is the generation of the ’68 barricades that now cannot promise their children the same rights they themselves fought for and enjoyed.