Enough of UN?
by C G Holm
When the most bizarre and tough dictator on earth, Kim Jong-il, died, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared a minute’s silence. The same applied to the UN Human Rights Council, which consists of beacons of human rights like Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia and (until the spring of 2011) Libya, at the time under leadership of Muammar Qadafi.
The event is significant for the United Nations as a trade union of dictators, where Western democracies are allowed only because there is need for somone that can foot the bill. In the United Nations emphasis is put on international public law, not human rights. The people may be completely without influence (like in Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia and Libya under Qadafi), but the government still has all the rights according to the UN system of international law.
Sweden has since a long time advocated the view that UN is a messenger for Good Causes. Children from primary school and up are indoctrinated in the good deeds of the UN and the United Nation’s Day is, according to Swedish law, a day when all flags in Sweden should be raised (like on the day of the King’s, the Queen’s and the Crown Princess’ birthdays, the National Day June 6, Christmas Day and January 1st). Partly this may be explained by the close links between international UN profiles and Sweden. The second general secretary of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld (1953-1961) was Swedish. And the seventh (out of eight general secretaries) Koffi Annan is married to a Swede, Nane Lagergren, daughter of the Marshal of the Realm Gunnar Lagergren, and the couple owns a holiday home in the province of Blekinge. UN must thus be almost a Swedish institution?
But what about having another look on the United Nations? Author Fredrik Segerfeldt recently published a book on the issue.
Lack of virtues caused the financial crisis
by Fredrik Runebert
The explanations of the causes of the financial crisis that started already in 2008, and now has entered the second half according to Swedish Chancellor of the Exchequer Anders Borg, have been diverse. Greedy bankers, corruption. speculation, deregulation and politicians that have been forced to approve a too high and riskful mortgage stock. But there is another more basic cause behind the crisis: Households and governments have borrowed too much money. What were the causes behind this culture of borrowing?
Swedish Secret Service is blunt on islamist violence
Two Somalis and one Iraqi were prosecuted for planning a murder of Swedish artist Lars Vilks in connection with the opening of an art exhibition in Göteborg. Vilks, who is internationally well-known for his drawings of the ”prophet” Muhammad, was not at the site, but most people (including the three prosecuted) had expected him to be. They were arrested with knives and the public prosecutor referred to telephone tappings in the court. When this issue of Contra is going to the press, the three have been released, indicating that they will get a sentence shorter than the close to four months they have already spent in custody.
The prosecution includes a lot of important information, one exhibit is the analysis of the Swedish Secret Police on radicalization within islam and the role of the islamistic ideology in violence. Major parts of the analysis are published in Contra.
The heroes of the Cold war: Ronald Reagan created the foundation of the Western victory in the Cold war
by Tommy Hansson
When I got the information that Ronald Reagan had died I was sitting on a sightseeing boat in the Moldau river in Prague. My reaction was split. I mourned one of the great American Presidents, who had created the foundation of the victory in the Cold war, making it possible for me to visit Prague. But I was happy that the 93 year old Ronald Reagan, badly struck by Alzheimer’s disease, was allowed to leave this world.
A new Hongkong in Honduras?
by C G Holm
Hongkong is a marvellous place on earth. A small spot in the vastness of China. No natural resources with the exception of a good harbour. Millions of poor people pouring in from political oppression in China and a government run from the other side of the globe, a government that, as a natural consequence of this, did try to do as little as possible. In the 1950’s Swedish charity organizations offered their help in order to let the people in Hongkong survive. After still a couple of million refugees Hongkong has a higher living standard than Sweden – 45,900 PPP dollars in 2010, compared to Sweden’s 39,100. Even if China since 1997 have formal sovereignty over Hongkong, the Chinese have been careful not to break down the foundations of the system that lays the golden eggs, the freest capitalist nation in the world.
Why not copy the success? In Honduras the government is planning to do it at the Bahía de Trujillo.
The New Middle Class
by Fredrik Runebert
What is the Middle Class of today? For a long time the definition of the Middle Class has been obscure. But in a new book, published by Axess, ten writer’s try to define the values of the Middle class and their importance for the modern society.
Swedish Memorial founded
A group of 14–15 people have formed the Swedish Memorial, an organization working for human rights and democracy in Russia, linked to the Memorial in St Petersburg and Moscow. The activities of the group are described in the article in Contra.