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'No Elsa, there is no arms plant in Saudi Arabia'

13 Mar 2013, 15:39

Published: 13 Mar 2013 15:39 GMT+01:00

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Elsa Kempe, who lives with her family in Lund in southern Sweden, was disturbed to hear reports several months ago that Sweden was engaged in helping Saudi Arabia build a weapons factory.

The news was all the more frustrating for the precocious young girl because she had previously been told by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt that he was working to reduce weapons.

"She first wrote to the prime minister about a year ago after seeing so many news reports about weapons in Sweden," her father Magnus told The Local.

"She asked why weapons exist in the first place and Reinfeldt wrote back saying he was doing his best to get rid of the weapons."

But news of the Saudi arms scandal, in which a branch of the Swedish military set up a shell company to provide assistance to the Saudis in their efforts to build an arms plant, left Elsa feeling that the prime minister was sending mixed messages.

Thirsting for the truth, Elsa put pen to paper again in January hoping Reinfeldt would be able to clarify matters.

"Hi Fredrik! Last year I wrote a letter to you wondering why there are weapons in Sweden. You wrote back that you were working to get rid of weapons," she wrote.

"Now I've learned that you are helping Saudi Arabia to build a weapons factory. That seems REALLY STRANGE. Isn't it more important that they are doing okay?"

Rather than respond directly to Elsa's probing questions, Reinfeldt elected to pass the letter along to Defence Minister Karin Enström, who did her best to assuage Elsa's concerns.

"You've asked why we're building a weapons factory in Saudi Arabia and my answer is that we aren't. There is no Swedish weapons factory in Saudi Arabia," Enström wrote in a succinct, five-sentence response.

According to Elsa's father, his daughter wasn't totally happy with the defence minister's answer.

"I think she had expected a more detailed explanation than she received," he said.

Magnus explained that Elsa is an avid viewer of Lilla Aktuellt, a news programme on Sveriges Television (SVT) geared toward children, and that she asks lots of questions about what she sees.

Story continues below…

"We discuss a lot of this at home but she's never been moved to write a letter to the prime minister about any other issue," he explained.

"It's great to see her take the initiative. It's really exciting to see that she wants answers, and even cooler that she's gotten them."

David Landes

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Your comments about this article

16:10 March 13, 2013 by Rishonim
Dear Elsa, by definition most politicians are natural liars; consequently, there is an extremely high probability they are lying to you ;-)
18:10 March 13, 2013 by EtoileBrilliant
Dear Elsa, forget asking the Prime Minister, go ask your father why Sweden is the 2nd largest arms exporter in the world per capita and why they think this constitutes a "neutral" positon?
21:53 March 13, 2013 by RationalLogicial
Sweet Elsa, being too young you are an innocent real swedish heart. Please do not stop here and keep your curiosity up and I believe when you will be young enough, you will know the reasons of too many immigrants and asylum background people in your home.
22:53 March 13, 2013 by Rich T
wahaha. An 8 year old is now doing the work of a journalist, this is getting silly now.
07:23 March 14, 2013 by jostein
When they start putting their words into the mouths of children to further their propaganda, then we know dictatorship is neigh.
08:41 March 14, 2013 by Migga
Sad to see such a sweet little girl have her views twisted by the leftist media or her leftist parents to think that Sweden have an arms plant in Saudia Arabia.
13:52 March 14, 2013 by rohermoker
Dear Elsa: Due to your youth and the Fairy tale world that your teachers dwell in, this counrty has interests that it has to follow for the protection, and benifit the nation. Your teachers may think that if we all just get along, and that "our way" is no better than "theirs" There are still evil people, that think just the thought of sending girls to school is a concept that is worthy of death, and that now Sweden is unwilling to bring great violence to those people, we are willing to provide the tools to those that do. I sincerly wish you could grow up in the world you envision, but until then, we must be willing to bring violence on those, before they bring it to you. Sorry
14:18 March 14, 2013 by DonQ
Good question by Elsa. And what is twisted? The position Sweden is neutral in world politics and war. Ranking 10 in the world of small arms gun owners by residents.

Maybe other young Swedes will question their leaders, why Sweden is among the worlds top State dealers of heavy arms?

@rohermoker What happens when violence arrives in your well armed peace loving land?

in the Third World, where today's victims can be tomorrow's perpetrators and shifting alliances and general chaos hamper efforts to aid those in need. Abraham Foxman
21:59 March 14, 2013 by jlambert
Great job publishing this girls address on the internet!
23:19 March 14, 2013 by john-magnus
Address? Well she clearly lives in Lund. So?
12:38 March 15, 2013 by rohermoker
Dear Abraham: Victims, and peretrators, are an unlimited resource to the arms industry. As history has shown, Violence has found it's way to our shores. Violence is usually meet with greater violence. It is human nature to dream, it is also human nature to want to extrace revenge. sweden has been blessed by location on the map, and being small enough were it is easier to trade with than spill blood over (although I remember reading something about some neighborhood problems in the late 30's and early 40's were Swedish blood had been spilled, or is that just rumors). Human narture has not improved that much, and much as the Swede's brought civilazation to England, and Ireland in the 3 and 4th century, the Arabs feel they are bringing civilazation to Sweden now. Now that Sweden has more Mosc's than churches, I hope your impending cultural changes as well as you hope..I worked for the largest defence contractors here in Minnesota, We called the jobs, Welfare with diginity.
13:39 March 15, 2013 by RationalLogicial
Dear rohermoker: Can you really stand with your words above, if the same "human nature" is used as argument for asylum seekers, illegal immigrants AND legal immigrants?

And mind you, but I really listen same "Welfare with dignity" from far right Arabs or what media calls them "Islamist" for their thoughts.

What I can assume from your and from other end's thoughts is.............this will never end.

For God sake, there should be atleast one place on earth where people can live with peace & without these bloody intentions or so called "human nature". Believe me, its so-called otherwise with this "human nature" I want to have money robbed from others or rape any woman which comes to my way while going out.... Will humanity allows this?

If I call it preemptive, then what about such preemption s by others against you?

Irrational and illogical thoughts&actions are not going to make world safe. Rather it will be garbage under the carpet which for sure will come out one day or atleast will smell badly.
17:12 March 15, 2013 by LKenna
Dear everyone in this who's posting comments to an 8 year old girl like she's a 45 year old politician herself. Shut up.

God I never realized how many Swedish people were so VOLATILE towards children. You're no different from Americans when you talk.
18:46 March 15, 2013 by rohermoker
I wish to close out the discussion (for my part): Welfare with diginity was in reference military-indusrty quagmire that rob nations of their wealth, as an employee we were paid quite well for something I hope would never be used, making a product that the government would use, to bring great violence to an unseen enemy that I have no personal grudge with. Human nature, Old men having young men settle their quarels. From all written time, there is some one out their that can motivate a crowd into unthinkable acts.

When the hypocrites on the left are as motivated as the hypocrites on the right, The place they their ideas, and they youth thatfi thier battles are truly equal is the cemetery,

I truly wish Elsa can find the world she desires, Not the propaganda fed by either the National socilast, or the Greens
14:23 March 17, 2013 by cogito
"Elsa is an avid viewer of Lilla Aktuellt, a news programme on Sveriges Television (SVT) geared toward children..."

And that's all you need to know about Swedish state TV.
14:40 March 17, 2013 by liondens
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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