Almedalsveckan 2010

A picture named M2
Visby, Gotland, home of Almedalsveckan

When I was a young girl I remember watching the former Swedish prime minister, Olof Palme holding a speech in Almedalen, a beautiful park by the sea in my hometown Visby. I do not remember what he said, but I remember feeling very close to him, as a person. Olof Palme founded the tradition of Swedish party leaders to speak in Almedalen already in 1968, twenty years later when Olof Palme was shot to death in Stockholm, the tradition of speaking in Almedalen almost died with Olof Palme. His widow, Lisbet Palme, though,  actively encouraged party leaders to continue this tradition of talking to directly to the people in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.  A few years ago, I visited Almedalsveckan again, it has certainly changed, from the intimate and intellectual dialogue to madhouse of screaming politicians who will do whatever it takes to get the attention from the crowds and the media.

This year, the former party leader of Vänsterpartiet, the Swedish Communist Party,  Gudrun Schyman  took the price in "non-verbal" communication but setting 100 000 kronor, ca $15 000 on fire. This woman is known for stopping at nothing to get the media's attention, she really has nothing to say, and is more known for doing stupid things like being drunk as a skunk on party conventions, performing badly at Dancing with the Stars, you name it. The idea of setting fire to cash in front of an audience came from one of the PR-firms that Gudrun works with, obviously when she runs out of stupid ideas, other morons are there to help. 100 000 kronor is the cost of an ad in a newspaper, Schyman writes herself on, and the cash bonfire was supposed to symbolise the wage gap between men and women in Sweden. According to Schyman, women make 84% of what men make. The idea to burn cash was brought to her by two men and first even this weathered media clown thought the idea was crazy but after having thought about it she accepted the idea from the two dingbats at the PR-firm. Schyman does not mention whether the PR-firm practice equal wages for men and women, neither does she mention how much she paid the firm for the PR -stunt.
Now there are many good things you can do with 100 000 kronor, probably more than 100 000 good things. If, for example Schyman had put an ad in a Swedish newspaper, she would have supported free press and the media she loves the attention of so much, she would have supported many Swedish businesses that are involved in creating an ad, and she could have spent some time picking businesses that are equal of even a woman owned business if she wants to help her sisters to much. Now she just make females look like idiots. Actually I would say it is very unwomanly to burn cash, as studies show that women are normally more careful taking care of money than men are. Shame on you Schyman for insulting women and the Swedish people by burning cash.

It not only stupid it is at least in the USA criminal to burn cash. The United States Code says that "whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”  The law is enforced by the Secret Service.

Where did the money come from that Schyman set fire to? Her own pocket, I do not think so. Gudrun Schyman is the spokesperson for the organisation Feministiskt Initiativ, Feminist Initiative. She left the communist party to become involved in the non-profit organisation whose goal is to work for and promote feminist issues. According to their web site F! is financed by membership fees and donations, but no where do they tell their sponsors and donators that they would set fire to the donations. Well, now you know that the hard earned (especially if you are a woman) cash you send to Feministiskt Initiativ will be used as firewood in Schyman's next bonfire!

There are still to many differences between men and women in wages, opportunities and rights, we need to keep women's rights on the agenda always. I do not think though that setting fire to cash is a smart way to do so and I think that Gudrun Schyman should resign as a spokesperson for the organisation she represents. Swedish feminism cannot afford Schyman anymore, she has burned our cash and all her bridges. And please do not make more freak show of Almedalsveckan than it already is!

If you want to hear what Olof Palme had to say about feminism listen to his speech from 1972 here (in Swedish)

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