As we drove away from alcoholic heaven the phone rang and our friend Malin was on the line. Mette and me had worked with her in the Antarctic and we were going to stay with her while in town. The guys had good rooms lined up in a local hotel and the rest of today was free so all could relax as much as possible. We met Malin outside of City Hall and we went our different ways. Malin realised how tired we were and had a day of doing as little as possible planned. We headed to her apartment and put our feet up for awhile. Its amazing what a little rest and a shower does for you and soon we hit the streets with her for a long walk all over Stockholm.
Stockholm is a beautiful city straddling many islands. We hopped across one bridge to the next and got the blood flowing through our veins again. It was nice to just walk and talk. Done very little of that these past two months. Its 21 years since I was here last but I could still remember quite a lot of the city and didn’t feel totally lost. The whole town was coming alive with Christmas shopping and the old town was packed with stalls and shoppers. A cup of warm Gloog sparked us up as we took in the highs and lows of the place. Weird leather Viking masks seemed to be a bit of a high while a neo Nazi protest would definitely rate as a low. These morons were lined up with their skin head cuts and kicker boots while holding shields saying ‘Patriot’. The police were there in force and kept dragging them away one by one for a search.
These people to me are the lowest of the low and are caricatures of their own image. Cropped hair, rolled up trousers, kicker boots, army jackets and most of all, dump looking faces. When the gene pool was washing about, they were bathing in the shallow end. Dumb and full of hate, special. My non passive side tends to bubble here as I’d love to give a few of these wankers a bit of a run for their money. Gutless thugs in gangs is all they are. The police were all over them though so I was sure they would have had a bad day by the time the sun was down.
Finally we were back in Malins flat for a home cooked meal and a sleep in a really nice bed. The morning brought the last day of action for the Ban Bus.
Money money money!
Our arrival in Finland took us as low as we could go financially. Every line of credit was exploding. I had gone in search of our elusive funds and Mette was getting upset with me for being sharp and to the point with some. I’d spoken to a few contacts to try and sort out a loan or something as we were still waiting on the cash flow log jam to clear from the Norwegian government. If we didn’t get some pressure off the credit cards we would be finished anyway. I talked to Sylvie at the Landmines campaign and asked if she could bridge us with 5000 euro or so to get at least one card opened up till the government money came through. After a long chat about what was going on and our problems she knocked me down with her solution. She would advance us the whole budget as a loan, not just 5000, and just sort out the whole problem. I was speechless and so grateful. Its good stuff this old mafia of ours.
When I told Mette that it was all being sorted out, she changed on the spot as a huge burden lifted from her shoulders. The end of the Ban Bus was in sight and we could now get to the end and finish the job we began over two months ago.
Now we were in Stockholm, Mette checked her account and the money was there. She instantly began paying out credit cards and every debt owed was cleared. It was all left hand, right hand money as it went out as quickly as it had come in. We were now out of debt and ready for whatever was still in front of us. The Ban Bus was far from finished now and our moral spiked sky high for the run to the end in Oslo in a few days.
The last day of action in Stockholm was all changing as we had planned to do actions that would attack the Swedish government’s position and unwillingness to sign the Cluster Bomb Treaty. ‘Mama Mia’, that had just changed and they were going to come to Oslo this week and sign on with the other nations. Our protest actions would now be reworked to general awareness of the problem and a big thank you to the Swedish government as they now would resound to the words of ‘I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do’. There never would have been any movement by the government if it wasn’t for the local and international campaigners who kept the pressure on at all times. Some ‘Souper Troopers’ were angry with the government’s decision to sign but public pressure brought the government their ‘Waterloo’ and now ‘The winner takes it all’. This is a big step for Sweden as they are a manufacturer and supplier of these weapons so for them to sign requires a complete reversal of their position. It might cost them a bit of ‘Money Money Money’ but the way to a safer world always costs something. So ‘Ring Ring’ the beginning of the end for these munitions and the party can begin with ‘Fernando’ from Brazil leading the way to the celebration party with the ‘Dancing Queen’.
The Real Stockholm
Day two in Stockholm had us on the streets again with a simulated strike organised by the Red Cross. This attracted some media attention and passers by stopped and signed the petition. Onto a Christmas church service from the public action and Mette hit the congregation with the realities of cluster bombs. More people stayed and talked and signed the petition till we all met with the local campaigners in a café for dinner and drinks. The Swedes were giving a collective sigh of relief at the decision of the government to sign onto the treaty but were not seduced by the possibilities of some still to come dirty tricks. When Sweden signed the Landmine Treaty they then delayed the ratification of the treaty for a further eight years. They must not be as cynical with this new treaty and must pass it into national law as fast as possible.