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Friday, February 24, 2012

Swedish Diplomatic Sightings

Today I have suffered from my worst jet lag since arriving back from the US on Tuesday.  I was so tired this afternoon that I was tempted to skip walking Tanner in lieu of a much desired nap.  I am so happy that I didn't because when we walked out our front door, we practically ran right into Hans Blixt.  Stay with me even if you don't remember why you know that name!
We've known for quite some time that Mr. Blixt lived in our neighborhood because we've seen him coming and going quite often.  We have always wanted to talk with him, but never quite had the right circumstances or nerve.  But today, he was all alone and there was no one else on the street at the time and when our eyes met, he smiled a little smile and I just knew that I had to meet him.  I have been dying to give him a message for years and this was my chance.
Prior to the US decision to invade Iraq, Hans Blixt was called out of retirement by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to head up the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in charge of monitoring Iraq.  You can read more about his life here.  (The Wikipedia article has his name wrong...it is Blixt, not Blix.)  Anyway, the long and the short of it is that Blixt's recommendations regarding Iraq having weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was ignored by then President George W. Bush and the US went to war against Iraq.  In my estimation, Blixt was right.  No WMD have ever been found and that invasion and subsequent war has cost the US and the world dearly.
So from the first time I ever saw this slight, unassuming man, I have been dying to apologize to him that my nation refused to listen to him.  Every time Doug and I see him wandering around our neighborhood we've always looked at one another and said how we wish Bush would've heeded his warning.
And so, on the sidewalk in front of my home in Stockholm, Sweden, I wistfully turned to this slight Swedish man for whom I have great respect and said with a smile, "Hello.  My name is Jodi, that is my husband Doug and we are Americans living in Sweden.  We would just like to say that we are very sorry that our president chose to not listen to you."  He shrugged and with a small smile, said, "That was a long time ago.  I'm surprised you still remember me."  And I said, "Oh, I will never forget you.  Your message needed to be listened to."  Then he asked what we are doing in Stockholm and we told him that we work at Immanuelskyrkan and he said that a very good friend of his is a member there and of course, we know that man!  He asked how we liked our neighborhood and mentioned that he's lived in the neighborhood since 1968.  Then he mentioned that he had just returned from Washington D.C. yesterday and felt the political climate was very tense.  We agreed.  He also said that Iran is a mess, but not because of Washington, but because of Tel Aviv.  Scary to hear him worried about that tense situation. This man knows the global political climate well.  Then he ended by sharing with us a funny cartoon he saw while he was in the US.  He said with a small chuckle, "Vote for Romney...he's only half as crazy as the rest of them!"  We enjoyed a good laugh and wished one another on to a nice weekend.
I was so pumped after meeting him!  My jet leg had vanished and Doug and I talked about this wonderful encounter as we walked our dog through our beautiful city.  I am so happy that I had the chance to speak with Mr. Hans Blixt.  I do wonder what our world would look like today if Washington had given him a little more credit back in the 2003.