Can you see the rainbow?

Published 16 August 2013 in:

Photo: Catarina Axelsson/MFA

I am at the moment on a few weeks of vacation in Sweden. From my kitchen window I can see an old stone church from the 13th century. There are a lot of well-kept old churches in Sweden and most of the Swedes are registered as Lutherans. However, we are quite pragmatic when it comes to religious practices and there are also a growing number of foreign-born Swedes with other religious traditions. As I indicated in my previous blog, the most important thing is to respect the fact that people are different, whether they are citizens of your own country or of other countries. Xenophobia and intolerance have never produced any good results, anywhere. The healthiest and most advanced societies have always been open to what is going on in the rest of the world.

Yesterday, it was a great pleasure to see Abebe Oregawi win Sweden’s first gold medal in the ongoing athletic world championships in Moscow. Her way of running seemed so effortless, as if she was floating over the ground, hardly touching it. It also made me very happy to see pictures of the painted nails of one of our other athletes, Emma Green Tregaro, who participates in the high jump competition. Her nails were painted in the rainbow colours, a gesture which I think was meant to show that she supports openness and diversity. It is a true pleasure to have such fine athletes representing our country.