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“Above all, I believe that there should never be any violence." -Astrid Lindgren（1907-2002）
It has been 70 years since the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, wrote her first book on Pippi Longstocking, or Pippi Langstrump, as we say in Swedish. The books have been translated into more than 40 languages. Many movies and theater performances have also been made all over the world in many different languages. Lindgren is so important to us that even the new Swedish bills have the pictures of her and Pippi.
Lindgren was one of the first to bring light to the situation that children are defenseless at home. She said, “Why do people have the right to beat and hurt children who are totally defenseless in their homes?" In 1979, she was going to Germany to receive a notable literature prize and wanted to talk about this issue. The organizers didn’t want her to. She then said that she didn’t want to accept the prize if she couldn’t speak up for the abused children in the world.
The organizers gave in, and after her speech there was a huge debate. Sweden then established a law and became the first country in the world to prohibit all violence against children in 1979. Not a single slap is allowed. All violence is prohibited.
Politics and art often go hand in hand. When it comes to ideas and leaders, I follow Pippi Longstocking, who has had a huge influence on Sweden’s cultural and political life.
In 1988, the Swedish government created another law that gave all cows the right to roam free for three months every year. People come from near and far to watch the cows and celebrate their freedom in “the big cow run."
This law was a present to Lindgren on her 80th birthday from the Prime Minister of Sweden in 1988. It may seem natural that grass time is positive for both cows and dairy entrepreneurs; the research is the consistency of the health benefits for the animals.
The cows eat healthier, mastitis heals, hoof health improves significantly, enabling them to behave naturally and have better social interaction. So how come many countries keep animals locked to make them produce food for us?
This year, a new movement started in Sweden called, “Pigs are our friends." It advocates for better living conditions for pigs that are later consumed by people.
Lindgren grew up in the Swedish countryside and was a human rights and animal rights activist her whole life. This shows in many of her books, for example the Pippi Longstocking books. “If you are very strong, you must be very kind," Pippi Longstocking says.
In Sweden, we grew up with Pippi as our role model. She is kind to both animals and human beings and also a very independent little girl, who isn’t afraid of anyone or anything.
So how come the whole world loves Pippi? To start with, she is fun. Even though she is an orphan and lives alone in an old house, she never complains. Pippi’s always full of creative ideas and is an inspiration to the other children.
She is kind to everyone and always helps animals or children in trouble. She has a good heart and is also very strong. Pippi is very rich and financially independent because her father, the pirate of the Southern Seas, gave her a big bag of golden coins.
Pippi has a great influence on the daily lives of those who grew up with her. I think of Pippi whenever I see a strong Swedish woman. The foreign minister of Sweden, Margot Wallstrom, often speaks her mind and does what her conscience tells her to do. She is a true Pippi Longstocking leader who stands by her beliefs and is not afraid of anyone. Wallstrom has been praised in the Washington Post for her courage to stand up against pressure and world leaders because she believes she is doing what is right, just like Pippi.
Edited by Olivia Yang