Never forget them!

Tonight my friend, ex-student and artist Alva Ämting was giving a talk in Lunde community hall, in commemoration of the 88th anniversary of the shooting of peaceful demonstrators in the village. I used to work just over the bridge on Sandö and have visited the monument many times with course participants, so I know the story of workers demonstrating against strike breakers being used by management in the middle of a conflict about worker's wages being reduced. They were also furious that the government had brought in the military under the command of the police.

Tonight I found out much more, and from a very well informed and entertaining speaker. With photographs! And two films! The audience were interested and also pretty well informed, one man being an official guide for the monument, one woman whose grandparents had sheltered one of the fatally injured men, & torn up their sheets to make bandages to try to stop the bleeding and save his life. He and four others didn't make it.

One of the marchers had the presence of mind to sound the "ceasefire" with his bugle and the military stopped firing. Otherwise many more people might have been killed or injured. The banner in the centre of the drawing reads "Never forget them". Their names are: Oskar Berggren, Erik Bergström, Evert Nygren, Sture Larsson and Eira Söderberg, a 20-year-old bystander. This poem by Erik Blomberg is on the stone:

Here lies
a Swedish worker,
fallen in peacetime
unarmed, unprotected.
by unknown bullets.
The crime was hunger.
Never forget him.

In other news: We spent the morning sorting through, saving and discarding things for the Lions' flea market which will happen when we are on our travels. A dusty job, and a deeply frustrating one as much was discarded. These guys have done this job for many years and they know what will and what won't bring in money for the charity we support (cancer research in northern Sweden). I worked with the textiles etc as they are less confident in that area. It was easy enough to chuck away the faded nylon curtains and the horrible beige synthetics....

We ate lunch out (which was in fact breakfast as it was an early start), and met several people we know. We were in the library so we took the opportunity to vote in the EU elections. There was a performance on the 4th floor, a see-through geodesic dome, a woman dressed in a tight-fitting see through skin-suit, and several thousand mealy worms, eating polystyrene. Shudder. I didn't go in but I did listen to the story in some headphones. It made no more sense then either, but there were plenty of people entranced and fascinated. 

A day of many impressions, a rich and swirling tapestry of life in the hard-pressed north. It was a harsh place to live in the 30s, and it can be a tough place even now. When we emerged from the hall it was to a sky full of golden sunset light, the river gleaming and the hills gradually darkening. This really is a beautiful place to live.

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