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The Swedish Spring

Photo: Gullers, KW / Nordiska museet (CC BY-NC-ND)
Torgny Segerstedt,1940. Photo: Gullers, KW / Nordiska museet (CC BY-NC-ND)

"Our generation must take its place on the side of the struggle for justice and sanity and freedom where our fathers stood." - Torgny Segerstedt

Now the bluebells have come too. The Swedish spring begins to bloom.

The Swedish spring, the expression flowed from the pen with the unabashed self-assurance. In the past it would have been: spring is beginning to bloom. Now the connection with this country feels so strong that it gives colour to everything. It is the Swedish landscape in spring. It is our meadows, woodland hills and hollows that are touched by the magic wand. It's our fields, ditches, forests and mountains, over which the spring winds pass. And when we now with eyes, ears and all our senses take in Swedish nature, the memory of past springs, of the sun-saturated choppy smells of childhood, of the horse hooves of the ditches, of the unconscious spring experience of that time and of the sensations of recent years, which cannot be described in words, plays into the impression we give ourselves by force.

Our country is big and white. Here is air and space. Here we belong. For us there is no way from the door of home. The ties between the individual and this people cannot be severed without the withering of the separated. Surely this people also pays its tribute to perdition. The starvation goes on here too. The unity of country and people has been destroyed in some by the rot. It is a pity for them. Let them be left to their fate. Those who try to mix Swedish life with foreign elements only poison their own atmosphere. Over these wide districts the north wind goes and sweeps away foreign unkindness.

The wind shall pass over these wide districts as it has done from the day they rose from the ice sheet. It will pass over them like mild spring winds, like balmy summer breezes, like rain-whipping autumn storms, like wintry snowstorms, years and centuries after we, who now experience spring, have been enclosed in the arms of this grey earth. The churches lie there scattered across the land, with the cares of the dead gathered around walls often centuries old. Those who sleep the eternal sleep beneath these tombs, have all given their contribution to the rich heritage of the Swedish people. No honest day's work, no good thought, no creative joy, no anguished endeavour has been wasted. It is all there in the fields that have been broken, in the enterprises that have been set in motion, in the legal system that has been built, in thought, poetry and tone. Only those who fail have no share in this. The families that went before us were no better than ours, no more magnanimous, no more capable. Not only did they, in all their imperfection, create this infinitely great thing, which we in our turn must leave to our descendants, fortified by the best we in our frailty had to give. We must not fail. We must not betray the Swedish in us, this heritage of thousands of generations, the outpouring in mind and spirit of this earth, of this heaven, of this space. To betray it is the sin for which there is no forgiveness. No words can cover it up. It creates homelessness, emptiness, the eternal curse of rolelessness. People and country, right and wrong, are sacred. Swedish is sacred.

"He bites you like a duck
Another's case only in the stand itself,
As faith and fatherland betray,
And with the holy driven mockery."

In the grey monotony of everyday life, the big picture can sometimes be obscured. When the storm clears the view, they emerge. These days, as never before, the chest expands with the joy and pride of being Swedish. Here live free men, and free we shall remain. This is no place for cowardice and fear. Our generation must take its stand on the side of the battle for right and reason and freedom, where our fathers stood. No tampering with Swedishness will be tolerated.

See how spring is coming to our villages. Remember that whoever wants to live safely in our Swedish soil, must live and die as a Swede.

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