Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Obama visits the angel country of Sweden

(September 4, 2013)

The Swedish flag was the top headline for the day because Obama was visiting.

Here, the American president and the Swedish Prime Minister stand at their press conference in Stockholm, with the Swedish flag at ready salute (the American flag looked nice, too):

Obama said that the credibility of the world was at stake where it concerned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and that even if the United Nations Security Council could not agree on sanctioning a response, he thought that some action must be taken outside the Council anyways.

The Swedish Prime Minister spoke next. He said to the gathered press:
"Just to remind you, you are now in Sweden, a small country with a deep belief in the United Nations."

"You're also in a country, where, yesterday or the day before, we took the decision where all the people coming from the war in Syria are now allowed to stay permanently in Sweden."

(Sweden is an angel country. Sweden did the same with Iraqi refugees at the height of the bombings of 2007/2008. I was not watching enough during the last two days, however, to see whether the BBC Arabic reported on Sweden's latest decision or not.)

Then the PM continued:

"The weapons inspectors who were in Damascus were headed by a Swede, so in this country, of course, we are asking for the time to be able to see what their findings were."

(Yes, indeed, the head of the weapons inspectors that went to Syria two weeks ago to look for evidence of chemical weaponry use was a Swede, just as the head of the 300 non-military observers sent to Syria in spring 2012 was a Norwegian. I unfortunately was not watching the Arabic news at either of these times, ARGHHHHHHHH. So I did not get to see the full glory of the Swedish inspector in the news, but I was able to find a BBC Arabic news clip on YouTube from last week, and here are the pictures from that. The Swedish leader stands in the blue shirt at the center of the picture. However, in this clip, they did not mention his nationality, so I don't know if the BBC Arabic made that very clear in their other broadcasts.)

His name is Åke Sellström.

Back to the Swedish Prime Minister. He ended by saying:

"So I understand especially the U.S. president. He needs to react, otherwise, he will get another kind of discussion. But this small country will always say let’s put our hope into the United Nations; let us push on some more to get a better situation."

When Obama arrived at the airport in Sweden, he was greeted on the tarmac by Sweden's foreign minster. The pictures were posted on a Facebook page upon which Arabs living in Sweden often comment:

You can't see it very well, and anyways, the top comment is in Arabic, but it says:
"A nice picture, and the Swedish Foreign Minister is greater in elegance than Obama!" (cause Obama's suit is all wrinkled where the button goes.)

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