Animal rights

Out in the world, a prevailing stereotype of the Swedes is that they are liberal and sexually liberated. But even sexual freedoms can be too extreme. For example, zoophilia, or bestiality, has been legal in Sweden since 1944. It is also, by the way, legal in Denmark and Finland.

This is shocking information. How can a country like Sweden that fights for the rights of individual expression and rights allow such hanous actions to take place? Is bestiality allowed because Swedes don’t believe it possible? Current laws protect the animal from cruelty, but as long as it is not injured, then sexual activity is allowed.

But now, at last, a new law is being proposed. This new law would solely encompass the sexual abuse of animals for the perpetrator’s own pleasure. I am speechless that it has taken so long to affect a change. Outraged that it occurs in the first place. Thankful that the law is changing. Animals share this planet with us and they are subjugated under our will. They are without voices. This law will give them more rights, but they still do not have a voice. It is up to all of us to respect animals and to not abuse the power we have over these helpless beings.

Shame on you Sweden that it’s taken until 2011 for you to realize this.

Swedish legends by the motorway

Sweden is a country full of myths and legends. Like other rural countries, many of these myths and legends are based around the dark woods, or rugged hilltops or deep lakes. These legends are passed on verbally down through the generations, and some are considered so important that the region builds a statue or another kind of monument in its honour.

One such statue, built in 1969, can be seen from the motorway just outside of Jönköping, in the town of Huskvarna. At this point, the motorway separates the town from the vast lake Vättern. On the town side, on the grass verge, a giant is standing. This giant is clutching a clump of grass in his arms and gazing beyond the motorway to the other side of the lake.

Of all the people who have driven past this place, I wonder how many have seen this giant? And I wonder how many know of the legend surrounding him?

The giant’s name is Vist. And the story goes like this. Long ago in the area of lake Vättern lived the giant Vist and his wife. Every day, they would wander around the lake looking for food. It wasn’t unusual that on their walks, they would end up on the opossite side of the lake from their home. But this wasn’t a problem for Vist. With one giant step, he could stride across the lake and be home in no time. His wife, however, who had smaller steps than him, couldn’t manage this and had to walk back home around the shore’s edge.

One day, Vist was at home and his wife was wandering the countryside. She ended up on the opposite side of the huge lake. Hungry and weary, she realised she was too tired to walk all the way home so she shouted out to Vist across the lake. She told him to grap a clump of earth and throw it into the lake so she could use it as a stepping stone to get home quicker. Vist grabbed the earth and threw it into the lake and his wife came home.

We know this story to be true because the piece of earth remains today in Lake Vättern in the form of an island. The island of Visingsö – Vis’s island.

An announcement that shook Sweden

Recently, the winners of the Nobel prize for Literature was officially announced. This sombre occassion is avidly followed by the media from around the world. Who will win? A Swede? A European? The favourite….?

Yesterday, another announcement was made in Swedish media. Not quite of the same calibre as the Nobel prize for Literature, and not as interesting for international media, but none-the-less it was an announcement that created a lot of reaction in many Swedish households.

Who will lead 2012’s Melodifestivalen? Who will indeed be the host for the Swedish version of the Eurovision Song Contest qualifiers?

Late yesterday, the announcement came. Film actress Helena Bergström, singer Sarah Dawn Finer and blogger Ana Gina were the ‘lucky’ winners. Not many people reacted to Sarah Dawn or Ana, but the choice of Helena Bergström caused a storm on websites, in coffee rooms and on social media networks.

According to one net survey, 32% were angry at the choice of Helena Bergström. Others wrote acidic comments such as ‘She’s just going to cry all the time’, ‘she has no business being there’ and ‘she’s probably going to get her tits out like she always does.’

Think how powerful it would be if people could channel all this energy into something meaningful and positive instead of focusing on who hosts a music competition to select a bad Swedish song that never wins the international competition anyway?