25 March 2007

Bildt meets Abbas

Proudly presenting to you; Foreign Minister of Sweden Mr Carl Bildt (here's his blog in swedish - in which he links to english sites - and here in english). Today he met up with palestinian president Mr Mahmoud Abbas (and here's his blog - only kidding!) and told him that the new palstinian unity government might have stopped a otherwise possible civil war and that the palestinians, although distress and violence, have the Arabworlds most democratic society.
"-This democracy is a fragile flower in this degree of latitude and it's our mission to water it."
he said (which very well may be the most poetic phrase a swedsih politician uttered in a very long time). However, it's no coincidence that he met with a Fatah minister and not a Hamas minister. Earlier he also met Hanan Ashrawi for a hotel breakfast in Ramallah, in where they both said that the position of Hamas is a reality and should be dealt with accordingly.
After Bildt left that afternoon, Mrs Condoleezza Rice came. We all know it wasn't, but one can always hope that wasn't a coincidence either. He he.

UPDATE; I simply have to translate a part from Bildts (he's actually funny) blog "Alla dess dagar - All these days";

In the Holy Land, mars 24th, 2007

Yes, there's actually a wireless net working just fine also here in Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah.

The hotel describes itself as a living legend in the Holy Land. Well now...

I was actually surprised when I realized that it was four years ago since a swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Israel and the palestinian territories (the government he is a part of was elected in Sep 2006).

A bit odd considering the interest we should have in a development here.

I landed in Tel Aviv and was very well welcomed by the israeli protokoll. However it seemed that the nation otherwise was absorbed by a fotballgame with England, that later ended in a draw. Continue reading here.

23 March 2007

A name...

I "spoke" (msn-messenger!!) with a friend from Gaza the other day, just after the new palestinian unity government was founded, asking her what she thought about it. We sighed over the internet to the sometimes seemingly hopeless situation. As for the big picture, what do you think, I asked, a one state- or a two state-solution? She answered;

"One. For Jews, Muslims and Christians."

Ok, I said, but then what would you name it? Of course refering to the much more complicated story of who would run it. I was expecting either "Palestine, of course!" or "It would be more practical to keep Israel" or anything like that. There was silence for a while... and then the msn showed that she was typing again...

"The Promised Land."

(My name suggestion was on a much much more silly level; "Paelestine", using the AEL from Israel. Laugh at it, please.)

19 March 2007

When the girl won't come to Palestine, Palestine will come to the girl

D.A.M. in Södra Teatern, Stockholm 16th March 2007

There should be something wrong with the PR of D.A.M. - the great palestinian hip hop group - when I heard the news of their concert in Stockholm, Sweden, from... Tel Aviv!

For an old B-girl like myself (yes, it's true) it was of course love at first sight; hip hop and rap, arabic and Middle Eastern melodies and a palestinian passionate freedom message - ALL IN ONE! Oh, can it get any better? Yes; on stage, live!

Now, the struggles of a old (well, I'm at least not 18 anymore!!) hidjabi mother of three to come to that concert... I tell ya. First mission: find a co B-girl. Impossible, but friend of 14 years, miss C (who later on, upon arriving home after the show, when her husband asked her "So, was the concert any good?" would reply with a painful silence) would do. Second mission: getting rid of my children. Collecting a favour from another old friend, all three of them where to sleep over at her place. Our children love each other. Third mission: convince husband. "Darling, I'm gonna go visit miss C on friday and we'll go the see a palestinian musicgroup who sings about palestinian freedom, at a theatre, ok habibi?" Sounds cultural, right!? "Ok, yes, sure". Mission accomplished. After a schedule worthy of a prime minister (11.45 Bake bread 12.15 Vacuum 12.20 Hang clothes 12.30 Wash dishes 12.45 Pack bags for sleepover 12.55 Leave home 13.00 Bring the girls from kindergarten 13.20 Bring son from school 13.30 Leave children at friends house... and son on. I also had a doctor's appointment that afternoon).

Oh, I'm going on and on. You don't wanna know that! You want to know about D.A.M.! Well, soon me and miss C were on the way. Before leaving we looked at each other, shaking our heads, saying "Gosh, we're too old for this!" Turns out, upon arriving, that we were far from the oldest, thank you very much. Some other hidjabi girls there too, great.

When the show finally started, they had a big screen TV showing various parts of palestinian life together with some poetical powerful lyrics. Went straight into my heart. And I had trouble standig up straight for a while (told you I was old!). For me it was a moment of full circle.

"ad-D.A.M. ja'een...!"
crowd going "As-Salamu Aleykum!"
"... min Falasteen!"
crowd going "As-Salamu Aleykum!"
(The D.A.M. are coming... Peace be upon you!... from Palestine... Peace be upon you!)

Here's what I liked most about them; they were passionate! Far too many times I've witnessed apathy and hopelessness in the eyes of palestinians. Here on stage was pure passion. They are skilled. Apart from having a message and a coldmine to pour from (you need to be angry if you're gonna be good at hip hop in my humble opinion), they are skilled with lyrics, rhymes and melodies. And last but not least, they were down to earth. Spoke heartfelt and honest to the audience. The only, only thing I would remove was the F*** word (I told you I was too OLD!!).

Signed and all

After the concert I of course had to buy their new CD and was lucky to have it signed and exchange a few words with them. I said silly things like "The show was geat!" and bla bla, I even said it in english, why when I could have said it in arabic to impress a bit? Ah well.

My husband came to drive us home. "How was it?" he said. I gave him the CD to put it on in the car. My husband is 12 years older than me and part of another generation, so I had no hopes. Upon hearing he said "Oh, they sound like american groups!" with a big smile on his face, thinking that he was actually smart to know that and point that out. I rolled my eyes and said "Yes, habibi, that's right. It's called H I P H O P, habibi".
After having dropped me off at home he had to go back to work I asked him to give me the CD. To my surprise he said "La la la, khaliha! - No no no, I'll keep it!" Not too old after all. None of us. Pure blogotherapy.

16 March 2007

How to be an updated Swede

Zaynar Adami on my TV yesterday

1981 Zaynar Adami was born in Iran to kurdish parents. Five years later his family came to live in Sweden. Thank you God for that.

2004 he started the magazine Gringo, then and still a supplement to the free Metro magazine, designed to bring nuance to media's image of life in the suburbs and its inhabitants. With humour, love and optimism he brought Gringo to a huge success and received Sweden's Journalist prize 2005 for "Innovator of the year". Today, his company Latifeh AB (named after his mother), have 17 employees from 15 different countries. Half are men, half are women.

This day he gave a speech at a Swedbank's seminar, broad casted on national TV, with the clear message that diversity pays off. He had the one thousand swedish suits all pronounce his name. "Let's say it together; Z a y n a r!". The whole world is a market, and the immigrants are not part of the problem, but part of the solution, he says.

And what is a Swede anyway? A blond,
tall and blue-eyed guy? Just look to the society as a whole! Me and my staff might
be from 15 different countries, but we have one thing in common; we're all swedish,
says Adami.

Sweden needs to update what it means to be swedish. We (Swedes) are few and the world is global today. Ask not how we can integrate the immigrants in Sweden, but how the immigrants can integrate us in the world, he says.

Love this guy.

11 March 2007

50th Wedding Anniversary

Friday 9th of March 2007 was the 50th Wedding Anniversay of my grandparents, on my mother's side. Their life- and lovestory is pretty amazing and I'll be sure to write about it one day. For now I just want to say "Happy Anniversary!".

08 March 2007

A Palestinian wedding in Sweden

This wonderful photo was sent to me by a friend, who attended this beautiful wedding of Kholod, 21, and Mohamed, 24. It captures the great atmosphere of a palestinian wedding. Happy saghrouting clapping audience, a proud bridegroome, a beautiful bride in white, and last but not least, a big old videocamera in their face.
My friend said to make sure I wrote that there was so much love in the air.