Monday, February 28, 2011

Olof Palme – the Swedish JFK

Today it's 25 years since the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot to death on a Stockholm street, leaving the country in a shock that we're still not completely over. There are many similarities to his fate and that of John F. Kennedy, as well as the traumatic effect these assassinations had on Swedish and US society.

The essay has been moved to my personal website:

Olof Palme - the Swedish JFK


  1. Så minns du alltså Palme... Mitt minne är ett helt annat. Jaja, där ser man. 25 år har hur som helst gått, så ingen av oss kan säga säkert hur det var. Minnet sovrar.

    Tråkigt att du gav upp ditt svenska bloggande. Törs man hoppas på en... comeback?

  2. I´m not comfort to comment in English, but alright then - since I don´t get it. I don´t understand your sympathy with Palme. To me he represented a very non-taoistic political way. The ideal taoistic leadership is one that you hardly notice; as they us to say about a good referee in football. The Swedish social democrats, though, interfered in almost private aspect of peoples lifes, in a very ideaological way and often with absurdly detailed demand, always knowing what people needed, no matter what they wanted. Well, of course there is a word for it: social engingeering. The worst example may be the forced sterilization of thousands of men and women, many of them fully capable, but from socially vulnerable homes. To me Olof Palme completely represented this kind of very intrusive politics, and I just can´t understand how you, being a taoist scolar, can take him to your heart.

    I also thing he was a very ambigious character. As charmy as he could be, and surely was towards his supporters, as condescending and rude he could be to those quiestioning him. Remember that he, being the prime minister and completely dominating the policital scene, called a single journalist, Peter Bratt, "a rat with long yellow teeths" - he should have been judged for defamation!

    I dare also to question his honesty. Being an ecologist at the time I bare in memory the fake option about the nuclear power - suggesting to phase it out by doubling it! And then we have Bofors in India... Did you still believe in Palme as a dove after that? I surely didn´t.

  3. Mattias, are we better off now?

    Palme was no angel, but he was an interesting and thoughtful politician. Much of what you mention is either social democrat baggage or contextual - politics in past times, whether in the hands of the left or the right.

    Where he deviated from the thoughts of his time, he was often daring and visionary, especially in international politics and the clash between the developed and the underdeveloped countries. Also, he took bold stands against imperialism. Most politicians at his time did not.

  4. Well, Palme indeed represented that kind of politics. He incarnated it. He clearly defended it. You should not reduce him to a victim of his time, I think. A lot of people critized him, he used to answer them - as I remember it - in a very arrogant way.

    It may be true that he played another role on the international scene, but isn´t that escapism? I mean, it is easy to SAY sane things, especially in an insane world... but when it comes to action, and action where you have actual power - as Palme indeed had in Sweden - it´s different. I think action speak clearer than words do...

  5. Palme was not a victim, certainly, but don't underestimate the difficulty of seeing beyond the perspectives of a certain time. Civilization has gone through terrible eras, and is still far from perfect, but there's little point in accusing our predecessors for not seeing things with our eyes.

    We should be thoughtful of how we judge others. We may be judged the same way.

  6. Well... I just objected to what I read as an apotheosis. Which I don´t think is any better, or more trueful, than judging.

    He was a charismatic politician, that is for sure. The rest is... I do not know.

    I am not clear about my opinion even about Gandhi. But I least I think he honestly searched for the truth. I feel quite sure that Palme didn´t. As very few people do.

  7. I have to quote Pilate:
    "What is truth?"

    1. I rectified the Olof Palme horoscope as 5h14m26s -1h.

      Progressive aspects Olof Palme:

      25-Feb-1986 012°,31'38 Aquarius Moon 45 mutual MC

      25-Feb-1986 019°,10'56 Gemini Mars 135 Pars

      25-Feb-1986 007°,33'42 Aries Sun 120 mutual Sat

      28-Feb-1986 019°,10'56 Pisces Asc 135 Pars

      28-Feb-1986 019°,11'14 Gemini Mars 90 mutual Asc

      1-March-1986 005°,25'44 Capricornus Nep 180 Drac transit

      Rectified horoscope Anna Lindh: 22h23m41s -1h.

      Progressive aspect:

      10-Sep-2003 000°,54'21 Gemini Asc 45 Ven

      10-Sep-2003 000°,10'45 Pisces Ura 120 AR04 transit