Member of Swedish Parliament’s Opening Speech Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance International Art Exhibition in Gothenburg

On the 9th of June 2005, the Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance International Art Exhibition opened up at a gallery in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The following is the opening statement, given by Member of Swedish Parliament Harald Nordlund.

The sun came out after heavy rain showers. Music was heard in the distance. About a hundred people, dressed in yellow or white, came marching. I came upon Avenyn, and saw the destruction caused by acts of violence*. An eerie calm descended upon the big crowd. I advanced upon the parade and the music created a sudden calm, and made the images of broken shop windows disappear. Then I heard a policeman address the people in white and yellow, half dejectedly, but with a sound of new hope in his voice, "Why didn’t you come earlier?” Why didn’t You, messengers of Truth, Compassion, Forbearance, come earlier, before violence, oppression and intolerance took over?

I experienced something that all of us — after all — know very well. That which seems weak and feeble defeats that which thinks itself strong and resilient. That which is quiet and peaceful frightens that which is loud. He who feels the need to arm himself feels threatened by the one with the courage to go unarmed.

It is no coincidence that the Estonians managed to challenge and defeat the Soviet Union with their "singing revolution", that Mahatma Gandhi liberated India or that the Berlin wall came down. The circle of violence starts when force is met with force, and it is tremendously hard to break. We must prevent it by, at the earliest possible moment, facing it with what it fears most — its antithesis. The forces of violence know that the drop hollows the stone, the seed cracks the concrete and the plant rises up from out of the asphalt.

We can all contribute in different ways to show that we do not accept how the Chinese Communist Party attacks and slanders justice, freedom and human rights. We must show our solidarity with the victims of the persecution, and the many people who are denied their fundamental right to voice their opinion. We can do it by writing about it. We can talk about it and we can do it by affirming the positive message of various art forms.

When Professor Zhang Kunlun has taken the initiative to create an exhibition that reflects personal experiences of persecution, we can tell people about this initiative. We can tell about the search for truth through art, in the face of evil. We can tell about the persecution of Falun Gong and its practitioners, and how the Chinese dictatorship tries to expel truth, compassion and forbearance with lies and terror. We can tell about our faith in the inevitable victory of justice.

According to a story, once, when St. Francis of Assisi was about to send some of his poor brothers and beggar monks on what was called a preaching journey, he said: If necessary, use words.
The exhibition we are about to open does not need many words. When words are insufficient, feeling takes over and creates the basis for taking a stand, a stand for that which the words were meant to describe. I believe this is a way that can lead to positive things.

I hereby pronounce the Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance International Art Exhibition officially open.

*Editor’s note: This event took place in the midst of the violent riots during the European Union Summit in Gothenburg 2001, which left large parts of central Gothenburg’s business area, especially the main street, devastated by rioting demonstrators. Falun Gong was the only group that was allowed to march as planned that day, after the riots, as the police recognized their peaceful demeanour.

Originally published in Swedish at

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