A Swedish Peace Group Is Trolling Homophobic Russians

Photo: Courtesy of The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society
Leave it to Sweden to remind us all that the best way to beat a bully is with humor. A Swedish peace group has come up with a hilarious plan to keep Russian submarines out of national waters (while also making a great point about gay rights).

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society installed an animated sign called “The Singing Sailor” in the waters off the coast of Stockholm. The sign features the neon figure of a buff fellow in tightie-whities and a sailor’s cap, gyrating his hips as pink hearts flash in the background. It reads, “Welcome to Sweden, Gay Since 1944” (the year Sweden decriminalized homosexuality) in both English and Russian. The system also broadcasts a message in Morse Code that says “This way if you’re gay!”

“We’re actually trying to create a mockery out of the idea that having countries and militaries with armaments pointing at each other is a sustainable way to live,” Anna Ek, the president of SPAS, told The Huffington Post. “If everyone just decided to resolve conflict with diplomacy or support for democratic developments and human rights, I’m pretty sure we’d see far less conflict in the world.” 

Although primarily an anti-war statement, the sign also takes on Russia's state-sanctioned homophobia, thrust into the spotlight by the 2013 ban on “gay propaganda." (The Peace Society's press release also invites all Russian sailors to this summer's gay pride parade.) 

In October 2014, a sonar image showed an image off Sweden's coast that was thought to be a Russian sub. Though Sweden undertook two separate searches for the vessel, they were unable to find anything. Still, in response, the country proposed a massive increase in military spending — which pacifists, like those behind the dancing sailor, oppose.

Photo: Courtesy of The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society
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