In March 2010, I will celebrate the two year anniversary of "Gswede Sunday". It has been a wonderful journey for me in two ways. First, being able to express my thoughts and knowledge on subjects close to my heart has helped to sustain me - (hopefully I have inspired a few souls along the way). Second, I have enjoyed hearing from you (my readers) whether it be a personal email, on Facebook, in person or a comment at the end of a weekly article. Your insight has frequently been poignant and often made me look at an issue in another light. Occasionally, it inspires ideas for future articles.
I wanted to share 2 reader's comments from 2 different articles I wrote. One is from my friend Manfred and the other is anonymous. I encourage my readers to not use their name if they don't feel comfortable as I would rather read an anonymous opinion than no opinion.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and am grateful for you putting aside a part of your day for my words. Thank you.
I will keep writing if you will keep reading.
Happy Gswede Sunday!
1) The comment below is from one of my most passionate friends. I found his words to be powerful and the perfect enhancement to my view of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. He's an interesting person and I enjoy hearing his opinion on numerous subject matters. Incidentally, he has kept in touch consistently since I moved to Sweden which means a lot to me.
The article he responded to is "Obama's Nobel - Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game". Here's a paragraph along with the link.
The love keeps coming President Obama's way - this time in the form of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize from my neighbors in Norway. I had no idea that he was in serious contention for this prestigious honor until a good friend mentioned it to me. Why all the negativity around his winning the Prize? I can understand it from the right wing zealots in America along with the narrow minded Republicans who still believe former President Bush (#43) was a strong leader. What is troubling are those (some I suspect who voted for him) who have shown disdain, disgust and hate toward Obama for getting this award. I saw one American peace leader on TV say "he has done nothing".
Done Nothing? Please.
George, thank you for writing this particular blog! This has become a great platform for debate and I hope to have one of my own soon.People, including those outside the US, quickly forget the state of international affairs when Bush was exiting the White House. Let me remind some of you:
1. The world hated everything American
2. The Axis of Evil statement was rejected by many
3. The Iranians were not to be spoken to
4. The Arabs, with two wars, in their own backyard, had enough of US aggression against them.
5. The Israelis were studying options on how to stop Iran militarily
6. NATO was seriously upsetting Russia with it’s talk of more strategic weapons
7. North Korea was threatening to fire a missile aimed at the US
8. The world was in the middle of an economic meltdown.
9. Global Warming was not being taken seriously
10. The MDG’s (Millenium Development Goals) were being ignored
In just a few months of being elected President Obama achieved the following:
1. Re-established the world’s good opinion by winning the election. This told the world that the US had rejected the Bush Doctrine on US international relations.
2. Obama gives a major speech in a Muslim capital, Cairo, where he admitted to the the failures of the US as well as call out the obligation of Arab nations to change their own rhetoric.
3. He unequivocally rebuked the notion that Iran must not be spoken to and immediately insisted that a US official begin negotiations to discuss their nuclear program.
4. The two wars are still being fought but the notion of torture and the humiliation of prisoners has been unequivocally rejected by this administration from day one.
5. The Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, has since changed his own position on Iran and is in a wait and see mode.
6. US has ceased the production and installation of unnecessary weaponry in European borders with Russia in a time of peace. The Russians love their children too, remember!
7. North Korea did fire missiles but the US using better judgment decided to wait and avoid aggression on a nation clearly being held hostage by its dictator and is working through diplomacy with China. Cooler heads do prevail and save lives.
8. The US economy is tied to everybody’s paycheck around the world. The Obama administration allowed an unpopular Bush strategy take its course to avert a major catastrophic economic cataclysm that would have made the Great Depression seem like a hick-up.
9. Obama’s speech at the UN reassured the world that the US will take major steps in the fight against Global Warming. Bush never admitted to it devastating affects on the planet.
10. The speech at the UN also mentioned the need for the US to get involved in 8 MDG’s setout by the international community to battle such issues as poverty, child mortality and gender equality.
So, to all the nay-sayers and skeptics on whether or not Obama deserves the Nobel prize for peace, I will simply pose one question. Do you think that under a McCain/Palin administration, the world would have been a much peaceful place, and achieved any of what I mentioned above? I think we know the answer to that one.
2) Earlier this year, I wrote about my 5 years in Sweden. Many found it uplifting and positive although some were frustrated, saddened and surprised about my candid description of living in Sweden as a foreigner. This particular comment hit a chord with me as it was different in tone and interpretation from the others. I would love to have a conversation with the person who wrote it.
In my opinion, she (confident about that) was a bit sensitive about some of the "immigrant realities" I spoke of although she (nor anyone else) disputed any negative or troubling aspect that I described about Sweden. It's obvious that the truth does hurt sometimes. When you read her comment, you might think that I am unhappy in Sweden.....nothing could be further from the truth.
Here's a paragraph from my article "5 Years in Sweden - No Place I'd Rather be...BUT". The link is below followed by her comment.
This past Thursday, I celebrated my 5th year in Sweden. As an adult, I have only lived in one other place for a longer period; New York City (NYC) where I spent a decade. I never compare any city to the Big Apple because it wouldn’t be fair as I can’t imagine a more fulfilling city! Living in Stockholm, Sweden has been frequently interesting, sometimes disappointing, often intriguing, at times wonderful and in many ways sour and sweet. As the title indicates, life is good...BUT; we will get to the “BUT” part later.
Interesting reading! For some reason I find myself getting frustrated when reading even if I agree with you on several levels.However I wonder how many American companys would hire someone who didn´t speak English no matter what experience or fantastic merits? I can certainly agree with many of your comments but maybe moving abroad to a different culture and country takes some extra effort no matter where you go. I think you are brave for trying, but maybe you need to find other influences and see other places in Sweden too. If you are lucky you will move to a neighborhood like my best friends who have dinner with there neighbors a few times a week and people spontantiously come over. There are opportunities out there to make great Swedish friends and aquantances, have interesting networks, enjoy time together, you just have to look. And also learn the language and I think you will find yourself less detached.
The countryside of Vermont, USA - My friend Linda took this lovely photo.