Something Swedish


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Halmstad Pride 2015

Today I am proud to live in Halmstad, as today is the first ever Halmstad Pride Festival. There was a huge turn out to support the LGBT community (HBT in Swedish), especially considering the dreary weather for the first few hours, other big planned events happening all over town, and that the population of Halmstad is only about 58,000.

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While Halmstad is certainly not one of the first cities in Sweden to publicly embrace and celebrate gay pride with a parade, it is one of the smaller ones.

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“Park, Parad,  Partaj & Påverken” was the theme of the Halmstad Pride.

At 10:00 am it kicked it off in Picasso ‘pride’ Park with live music, a fashion show, tents with information, selling of flags, bracelets, flowers, and face painting. Not only did some companies and small artisans show support by sponsoring, being there, doing face painting, giving out balloons and selling flags & bracelets – but also by offering “pride prices” on merchandise.

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Even the Church of Sweden and the military showed up to show their support (probably not a big deal in Sweden, but a welcomed surprise for me)

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Next was the parade, which filled the stretch along the Nissan river with hundreds of people waving rainbow flags, holding up banners, and spreading positivity.

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The Party part of Halmstad Pride is a paid event at a local venue with live music, dancing, drinking, performances, and a drag show. I’m sure it will be a blast.

Lastly, “påverka” means “effect” in English meaning that they are trying to raise awareness and equality for the other 364 days out of the year.

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Good job, Halmstad! ❤

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New Swedish Defense System

Have you heard about Sweden’s new military defense system? I promise that it’s unlike any other and worth reading about.

A few months ago Russian submarines were believed to be lurking around in Swedish waters without permission (article here), triggering 200 of Sweden’s military to embark on a three day mission around the archipelago.

Exactly one month ago, The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS), the worlds oldest peace organization,  installed an alternative defense system in the waters outside of Stockholm in response. So far so good – no new reports of Russian submarines yet. How does it work?

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Well, it is called SSUDS, which is of course short for “The Singing Sailor Underwater Defense System” and one of its features is to send out a Morse code: “This way if you are gay.” Once you get close enough to actually see the defense system, a submarine will find a neon pink outline of a scantily clad sailor thrusting his pelvis, surrounded by hearts with the text: “Welcome to Sweden. Gay since 1944” (the year Sweden legalized homosexuality) in both English and Russian so there is no misunderstandings.

*SPAS has no government affiliation, and receives no Swedish military funds

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The Singing sailor might seem like a joke (hence me taking a month to write about it), but it’s not. It’s purpose is not only to scare off Russia’s military, but to open a discussion within Sweden concerning a re-distribution and re-allotment of military funding and resources into new, forward thinking ways to fight wars without weapons: “the world doesn’t need more weapons. Military rearmament in itself is a major contributing cause of conflict, and that conflicts take a violent and destructive process.” – SPAS

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What do you think? Is this an effective way to keep countries within their own borders? Is it using cultural differences to escalate or diffuse a tense political relationship between two countries? Do you think it will succeed in starting the discussion concerning Sweden’s military funds?