BY AMJAD IBRAHIM
A faction called the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) lowered a cheeky neon sign into the Baltic Sea featuring a gay sailor, as a peaceful and cost-effective way of stopping Russian submarines from entering Swedish waters. The gizmo, named ‘The Singing Sailor,’ is a watertight box carrying an electroluminescent sign and a constant wave transmitter.
The sign depicts a neon topless sailor gyrating in his very tight underwear (which they call the white flag) back and forth, along with a message in English and Russian: “Welcome to Sweden, Gay Since 1944″. The device also emits a Morse code encryption via sonar that says: “This way if you are gay.”
The move appears to be a jab at Russia’s less-than-tolerant views on homosexuality. In 2013 the Russian government passed a law forbidding the distribution of gay “propaganda.” Homosexuality has been decriminalised in Sweden since 1944.
However SPAS said its motive was influenced by its own government who announced in April an A$1.5 billion increase in military spending. They want to steer away from becoming a more militaristic sovereign, and instead to, “think in new ways instead of falling back on territorial defence, conscription and rearmament – the world doesn’t need more weapons.”
Numerous reports have suggested that Russian submarines had been skulking in Swedish waters over the past year. A search for these subs in October 2014 cost the Swedish government A$3.4 million and was Sweden’s biggest military operation since the end of the Cold War. SPAS President Anna Ek argued in a press release, “If military actions and weapons had functioned as conflict-resolution methods there would be peace in the world a long time ago.”
The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) launched in 1883 and is the world’s oldest peace organisation. They are non-profit and have approximately 7500 members.