A change of theme then. What about Stockholm Design Week/Furniture&Light?
Quote from: jax on 2015-03-09, 17:12:15A change of theme then. What about Stockholm Design Week/Furniture&Light?We should have a yawn smiley here. Ah, this one comes close
A clash between Sweden's progressive foreign policy and the harsh realities of the Middle East has escalated with Saudi Arabia's withdrawal of its ambassador after Stockholm tore up an arms trade agreement between the two countries.Accusing Sweden's foreign minister of "flagrant interference" in its internal affairs, the Saudi foreign ministry said it was recalling Ibrahim bin Saad al-Ibrahim in protest over Sweden's criticism of its human rights record, which it said was "harmful to the kingdom".Comments by Margot Wallström, the foreign minister, represented a "flagrant interference in internal affairs, which is not accepted in international conventions," it added, according to an official statement carried by state news agency SPA.Stockholm was apparently bounced into terminating its decade-long weapons memorandum with the Saudis after they blocked Wallström from making a speech on human rights to Arab leaders.
Norway is not in the EU, and thus not in this survey, but an independent one has been made for Norway and Sweden, and while slightly less enthusiastic than the Swedes, the Norwegians were much the same.
A few weeks ago Margot Wallström, the Swedish foreign minister, denounced the subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia. As the theocratic kingdom prevents women from travelling, conducting official business or marrying without the permission of male guardians, and as girls can be forced into child marriages where they are effectively raped by old men, she was telling no more than the truth. Wallström went on to condemn the Saudi courts for ordering that Raif Badawi receive ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed secularism and free speech. These were 'mediaeval methods', she said, and a 'cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression'. And once again, who can argue with that?The backlash followed the pattern set by Rushdie, the Danish cartoons and Hebdo. Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador and stopped issuing visas to Swedish businessmen. The United Arab Emirates joined it. The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, which represents 56 Muslim-majority states, accused Sweden of failing to respect the world's 'rich and varied ethical standards' -- standards so rich and varied, apparently, they include the flogging of bloggers and encouragement of paedophiles. Meanwhile, the Gulf Co-operation Council condemned her 'unaccept-able interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia', and I wouldn't bet against anti-Swedish riots following soon.Yet there is no 'Wallström affair'. Outside Sweden, the western media has barely covered the story, and Sweden's EU allies have shown no inclination whatsoever to support her. A small Scandinavian nation faces sanctions, accusations of Islamophobia and maybe worse to come, and everyone stays silent. As so often, the scandal is that there isn't a scandal.
Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador and stopped issuing visas to Swedish businessmen.
These were 'mediaeval methods', she said, and a 'cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression'.
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