Equality between women and men should no longer be mere phrases in the Swedish parliament, the EU or the UN – institutions where Wallström has served in most prominent positions. Now she holds an office where she can really translate words into deeds. And she does it! Guess if powerful forces want her gone! Now, those of us who realize what she is trying to do must support her all we can.
I am continuously irritated about how Swedish major media choose to depict Wallström’s politics of ideas, public service included. When they call in “experts” to comment on her foreign policy, they choose whiners who have bought the idea that “foreign policy” for Sweden today is all about supporting corporations in any way possible.
But ultimately, Wallström was elected by the people, not the owners of big business, even though they seem to think so. And her attitude towards the deeply unjust world order of man/woman, poor/rich, occupied/free is a brilliant means to describe and depict Sweden. And Wallström not only talks, she acts.
Why has public service not “called in” any of the millions of feminists in Sweden to comment on the new foreign policy?
Swedish major media and public service were busy getting engrossed in a sloppy, half-baked, critical and whiny account of what Wallström is doing, when suddenly, they were hit by a media shock.
The Washington Post in the U.S. praised her! At last, a Western country stands up to Saudi Arabia, they exclaimed. This made Swedish major media unsure.
So, are the Swedish conglomerate owned media – whose news values are almost straight off copied by public service – so damn unindependent that they failed to see for themselves that something exciting, paradigmatically shifting was going on? That Wallström’s courageous stand is good news? Do they have to hear it from the U.S. to think a bit further?
Should they support the corporate world’s required submission to the whipping, beheading and women-oppressing regime, or should the yearning for human rights, held by a majority of Swedes, apply?
Wallström dares go against the prevailing doctrine of greed, which ignores women and Palestinians and all the other wretched of the earth in favour of the profit interests of the business and finance world.
Rarely have I seen it so clear how major media, including public service, represent the corporate world instead of the people. We should rather appoint Wallström the People’s Princess, á la Lady Di (even though we detest the monarchy), someone who finally – following previous foreign minister Carl Bildt’s privatized, hawkish foreign policy – expresses the opinions of the majority of this composite Swedish people.
It does not do to hold a lot of convictions for show – for instance that women should not be stoned, that no one should be beheaded or whipped, that women should not be forced to live inside black or blue sacks outside their homes, that Palestinians should not have to live in the world’s largest outdoor prison – without doing something about it. And now we have a foreign minister who plans to do something about it, who is going to act! And she is faced with the scary Swedish major media, who side with the “capital” and question Wallström’s ability to take action.
The way I look at it, democracy has worked for once. We have gained a courageous foreign minister who – after all that she has seen while working in parliament, as a Swedish minister in various functions, as an EU Commissioner and an expert to the UN – have moved from words to deeds.
One of our few “representatives” with sufficient moral courage, who carries the decency we like to think that we side with, into action. When we, “the ordinary people”, stand there wondering what to do about the dreadful injustices of the world and “the politicians do nothing”, we can only vote every four years, Wallström acts for real. And the major media will haunt her.
We have to recognize a politician who, much to our astonishment, actually accomplishes things in the service of equality and human rights. And support her. One does not have to be for or against the person Margot Wallström – one simply needs to look at what she actually accomplishes: so far, it is quite extraordinary, although Swedish major media try to depict her as the opposite, as a threat. Stand up to their propaganda. They side with the business world, not with us!
I see Wallström as a “daughter” of the struggle for equality that the second wave feminists started in 1968, certainly not only in Sweden, and as an heir to Olof Palme’s bold foreign policy during the Vietnam War and onwards. As if she restores some meaning to the politics from above.
I once wrote a book titled Some Who Do Not Love Us Are About to Change Our Country. I borrowed that title from the Swedish writer Stig Claesson, who gladly approved of my pinching it. The title was even more valid during the right-wing alliance government. With Wallström, it is the other way around.
She tries to affect the petrification and helplessness that people feel about where the world is going; she uses her power to protest the current world order, rather than keep quiet.