Speach by Ardalan Shekarabi

Speech delivered by Ardalan Shekarabi, president of the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League, at the Official Memorial Service for Anna Lindh, September 19th, 2003.

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The first time I met Anna Lindh was when she visited her old Swedish Social Democratic Youth League district in Uppland. I felt nervous about meeting Sweden's foreign minister. But Anna smiled her wonderful smile and asked me to tell her about the situation in Iran; she was going there soon. She was genuinely interested and truly committed. Anna Lindh wasn't just pretending - she really cared - she was sincere.

That was my experience of Anna Lindh, and it was the same for many other young Social Democrats.

Her commitment to human rights and democracy had a big influence on the way we thought about social democracy.

Anna Lindh gave us hope and made us believe in our ability to shape the future together.

She was passionate about building an inclusive society.

She was the radical voice of social democracy in the world.

Anna, you made us proud.

Proud to be Social Democrats.

* * *

In Sweden, political involvement is a right. But it is also a duty. A duty towards all who have fought before us. And to those who are still oppressed.

As chairman of the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League, Anna Lindh wrote: "The task of politics is to remove the external obstacles to our dreams and to create a society that allows us to grow as human beings."

She devoted her whole life to this fight. That the very person who, more than any other, fought for peace, openness and democracy should herself fall victim to violence is cruel.

The best way for us to honour the memory of Anna Lindh is to refuse to be scared into silence, to refuse to let brutality stifle our open society. We must not allow evil to win.

We young Social Democrats will carry on your fight. We will not be silenced.

The promise you made to Olof Palme I make to you today.

 

And just as you did, I borrow the words of Helga Henschen.

Speak

you who still have lips

words can become suns

words can become rivers

words can open gates and build bridges

words can overthrow tyrants

if enough of us arm ourselves

with words

speak speak

it is our duty

to those who spoke

while they still had lips

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