I received an award a few days ago. It was the Hedenius award from a Swedish human rights organisation. This award was named after the Swedish philosopher Ingemar Hedenius. He was a professor of philosophy at the famous University of Uppsala.
He fought against Christianity. He even wrote books on the subject of no healthy argument being possible between religion and science. The Hedenius award is given to those who relentlessly fight against fanaticism, superstitions, etc. I have received several awards from Europe and America. The recognition that I receive for writing in favour of humanity and human rights eliminates the pain of my exile.
Sometimes I wonder what will happen to all these awards after I die. I have no home, no country. They will probably be lost. I lost many awards already. I have been forced to lead a Bohemian life for 20 years now. Since my childhood, I wished to get a house of my own and decorate it in my own way.
My wish never came true. Now, I don’t dream about settling down anymore. The older I get, the less I dream of houses. The thought occurs to me that I have to leave everything behind one day. And I frequently remember that everything in life, even life itself, is temporary.
Only Swedish people are eligible for the Hedenius award. As I am a Swedish citizen, I didn’t face any difficulty in getting this award. A brown girl with black hair is Swedish! Even I can’t believe it. Swedish men and women are tall, broad, white-skinned with blonde hair, whereas I am a Bengali from head to toe.
As Bangladesh wouldn’t renew my passport, even though I am a citizen, I had to accept a Swedish passport. With that came citizenship. And with the citizenship came the Hedenius award. I have a love-hate relationship with Sweden. I love the country, and then I don’t – a lot like my feelings towards Bangladesh and France.
Sweden is the best country in the world for human rights and women’s rights. There is no discrimination against anyone – woman, atheist, homosexual, transgender, black, or brown – in making their way to the top. I don’t live in Sweden, but I am proud of the country.
I wonder if Bangladesh can ever become a country like Sweden. Maybe it will, but I know it won’t be in your lifetime or mine. Even if it takes a thousand years, one day, the country will be civilised – this is my dream.Läs resterande om bl.a. Björn Ulvaeus på No Country for Women.