The idea of a nation state is this romantic notion that everyone in a specific geographical area is united under some sort of ideal and that idea gets more and more unrealistic the bigger the area this sort of romanticism covers. The difference in connection, comradery and sense of duty between the citizens of the now-gone Republic of Cospaia’s 400-something strong population and modern Sweden’s 10 million is worlds apart. But, this isn’t my main gripe with the celebration, its the historical reason of the celebration itself I have a problem with.
The independence of Sweden, a country freed from the chains of the Kalmar-Union (A union between Norway, Sweden and Denmark, which benefited the latter the most) and a united territorial Kingdom led by a King elected by the people, for the people. It sounds like a fantastic part of history! Something worthy of celebration almost 500 years later. Sadly, in practice, it never turned out that great.
Gustav Vasa, the creator of House of Vasa, former commoner and later the elected King of Sweden, proves the old saying “Power Corrupt, absolute Power corrupts absolutely”. Anyone opposing him would taste the steel from his hired mercenaries – The province of Småland‘s uprisings got stomped out without mercy 3 times until they finally submitted. Protests against heavy taxation, a severe lack of freedom of religion and other rights the King deemed worthy of trampling got a thorough beating. A united Kingdom at all cost! No stepping out of line!
Nils Dacke – the last armed revolutionary leader against the throne’s oppression of its own people – fell prey to the kings wrath . his body got cut up into pieces and the body parts put up on display as a warning sign in the rebellious villages.
To complete the transformation of corruption, the King elect changed the monarchic form and royal title to an absolutist, inherited one – An autocratic dictatorship. Untouchable by law and protected by an army funded by robbing its population and the “lesser” establishments.
For me, that is the true meaning behind the National Day celebration, the evil actions of a despot. An echo in our history that would later be a model that the political elite of today mimics. I’d rather celebrate midsummer’s eve, a tribute to life, love and harvest – And the majority of Swedes agree with me.