Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.

Cecilia Cervin’s speech to Mikael Wiehe

Mikael Wiehe!

Of course, it is a great honour for me to salute You as a Lenin Award laureate. A presentation is not really needed in this big company. You are well known and appreciated by many more than what is room for in this admittedly crowded theatre today.

Maybe I can tell you something that everybody doesn’t know about Mikael Wiehe. He has written no less than two psalms in the latest supplement to the Church of Sweden’s hymn book. This one!

Did you know? Well, this does not mean that I want to accuse Mikael Wiehe of some kind of detached religious sanctimony. No, you have known for a long time to distance yourself from that kind. Already in the early sixties, you were deeply disappointed in your confirmation priest because he was more shocked by naked actors than by their testimony of the current and ongoing torture. Then you asked, “Who can you trust?”

And since then it has been perfectly clear that one has been able to trust you in all political and – to use Jan Myrdal’s words – refractory contexts. As a true refractory in his spirit, you have taken a stand and made us all conscious. Just a couple of good examples: We remember well, at least in my generation, the demonstration against the tennis match in Båstad. Even those who are significantly younger than I am can reasonably remember the EU ministers visit in Gothenburg. On both occasions, you naturally took a stand, and your songs have also dealt with this. You have also not forgotten that oppression and abuse of power have existed at all times. One example, you have highlighted in your texts about the Cheops pyramid’s workers, those who literally built the Cheops pyramid. And it is important, I think, what Myrdal says, that we also remember history in contexts such as this.

But You, Mikael Wiehe, have also faithfully served in the everyday oppositional reality, and that may be an even trickier and more difficult task; to hold radicalism against daily and more masked oppression and abuse of power. You have always kept a clear line – the refractory opposition against oppression of all forms and the human struggle for the poor and oppressed.

But the Lenin Award is not only a refractory, but also a literary prize. Therefore, I also want to emphasize the scope, and width, of Your art. Your songs have, with your approval, been used in the most diverse contexts, often in ones that you might not have imagined from the beginning. For example, at church services such as baptism, marriage, burial. You have quoted with gratitude “The Psalm Book is also for those who have not found God”. Let me turn this around:

Your songs are versatile, and they are also for those who have not yet reached your political position. But – in politics there are the songs, and through them can reach the many.

Strindberg once pessimistically said that one took the flossy paper – the literary form, the beautiful expressions and the striking formulations – but the fly poison – the message – was not taken. If one uses this on Your authorship, Mikael, it just shows how extraordinarily wrong Strindberg was at that time, on that issue. The fly poison gets across, alright. The politics, the radicalism, the edge in your texts. This, too, is in the spirit of Jan Myrdal. Many times, I have agreed with him that in the politically refractory struggle it does not matter where you come from, where you have your starting point. The main thing is the common goals. For peace, freedom, justice, humanity. And there you show the way, and I know your message gets across.

Thanks for what you do, and what you have done, and what you will do, Mikael Wiehe!