Monthly Archives: May 2009
The last two weeks I have been preoccupied by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This is a forum in which the concerns of indigenous peoples around the world are debated and people from the north of Greenland to the Arizonas to the desert of Central Africa come to make their voices heard. As a formal UN meeting the forum is rather unusal. For 14 days the norm of grey suits and monotonous voices is replaced by costumes in all colours and statements with references to spirits, ancestors and Mother Earth. The experiece is sometimes perplexing but in a good way and I have been told that it is strengthening for the grassroots organisations from around the world to have a forum to discover the similiarities of the problems they face despite the diversity in traditions and origins.
Time is slipping through my fingers. It is soon time to leave New York and the decisions of what to make of the future are like a constant and distracting humming in the back of my head. As from two weeks what to come is a void of uncertainty and I have strings pulling me in all sorts of directions. In a way I love finding myself at these crossroads. They are defining moments. A point in time when it becomes apparent that you choose a path and decide in which direction to walk. Of course every step of the way along that path will also be a choice even if we tend to forget. So for a short while I awaken to the fact that the choice I make will define the life I am to lead from here on. And that it terrifying.
In need for guidance I have spent the weekend with Alexa. As my sorcerous she has helped me look for answers at the bottom of the wineglass and for peace amidst the madness of Coney Island. And in her wisdom she would of course never tell me where to go but simply packs my bags. She gives me hapiness as a compass and honesty as my guidebook and says- “If you know to follow these, whereever you go will be the exact right place to be”.
I have cast my vote for the European Parliament at the Swedish Consulate here in New York. It is of course no surprise which party I voted for.
I sincerely hope that the number of people who vote in this election will be higher than in the last election in 2004. Then less than 38% of the Swedish electorate participated, which is even low among the EU memberstates. This can be compared with the very high turn overs in the elections to the national parliament, which has been between 80-96 percnt during the last 40 years. I think the low level of participation is symptomatic of some of the basic flaws in the European Union. Media coverage of the workings of the EU is very poor and most parliamentarians are barely visible to the general public. If issues are reported it is at such a late stage, like just before an issue is to be decided, that it is too late for a general debate to have any impact on the outcome. So it is not surprising that people get a feeling that Brussels is far away, that they have too little insight into the working of the union and don’t see what effect their vote will have.
This interview with gives a rather interesting analysis of why the participation is particularly low in Sweden and I think the limited influence of the parliament on some of the issues of the working of the EU that people are most concerned about is a factor that one should not fail to mention. But the aspect that I find must interesting is the dubious attitute among national politicians towards the union. I tend to refer to the relationship between national politicians and the EU by using a reference to my favourite moviedirector, Lars von Trien and his movie Direktören för det hele (The Boss of It All) The storyline is based on a character who is director of a company but dislike standing up for uncomfortable decisions towards his employees. So he pretends that there is another director above him whom can comfortably take the blame while he keeps the credit for the positive improvements. I think the EU can similarily function comfortably like a director of it all fpr national politicians- someone to blame when things dont go your way, but at the same time you dont want to appear powerless infront of your constituate.But it comes at a high cost to play games like that and the price is disillusionment towards politicians and a feeling of powerlessness to influence the decisons that affect your life. And I do have my hopes up for this election. Just at our little pollstation at the consulte already more people had voted on the third day than during the entire election last time.