On April 14th, 2012, it was time for the Lenin Award ceremony for the fourth time. Focus was of course on the laureates of the year Sven Lindqvist and Jenny Wrangborg, but in the front row of the crowded Varberg Theatre were also former award-winners: Mattias Gardell, Roy Andersson and Maj Wechselmann.
The 2011 Robespierre Prize winner Martin Schibbye was missing, since at the time he and his photographer, Johan Persson, was in prison in Ethiopia. Many had hoped they would have been able to attend the award ceremony. Lasse Diding opened the ceremony at the theatre, following a performance from the local band Guldapan. Diding welcomed both this year’s and former award-winners and read the prize justifications. Other speakers were Jan Myrdal and Cecilia Cervin, chairman of the Jan Myrdal Society. Besides Guldapan, this year’s music entertainment consisted of the vocal group Tetra, who sang varied music and with Maria Stellas who sang Greek music. The instrumental trio Kaja, led by violinist Livet Nord, also performed.
In his acceptance speech, Sven Lindqvist explained that he had particularly good reasons to rejoice at a price in the name of Lenin. Read the speech in full below to find out what he meant by that! Jenny Wrangborg thanked her mother and her partner Olof, both of them present, for encouraging her to become and develop as a poet. Instead of making a speech, she read four of her poems, the last to improvised and effective accompaniment from Kaja.
During the day, more people spoke: Gunnar Olofsson and Maj Wechselmann about the oil in Sudan and Ethiopia, the one that the Swedish Lundin Oil had been after for several years, previously with Carl Bildt on the board. Roy Andersson raised a discussion about a Freie Akademie that could be a counterforce to the widespread “hostility to clear thinking” of the time. His thoughts aroused interest, and among others Jan Myrdal thought that they were in harmony with his own speech at Varberg Theatre about the array of award winners forming the shape of a folding fan. Among the guests were also Professor G N Saibaba, Delhi University, who is also called “activist” in Indian Press, one of Jan Myrdal’s hosts when he travelled around India in early 2012 to present his newly released book Red Star over India.
In the evening there was the traditional dinner and party at Hotell Gästis.