Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2003 14:08 UK

Goran Persson's tribute

Prime Minister Goeran Persson stands by tributes on the steps of parliament
Mr Persson remembered Lindh's "huge happy rolling laughter"
Prime Minister Goran Persson's address to the memorial service for Anna Lindh:

Anna Lindh is no longer with us. The thought seems so strange, so difficult to take in. She lives on so strongly in our memory.

Anna was right among us - not on the periphery. Most often in the centre - as a mother and wife, as a daughter and sister, as a close friend and colleague, as a model for many many others.

We have lost her - that is how it is and the realisation hurts us so terribly.

Your majesties, excellencies, dear friends and especially Anna's family and closest friends - we are gathered here today to share our grief, but above all we are gathered to share her shining memory.

Anna Lindh did not just speak for Sweden in the world, she also spoke for the world in Sweden
Anna Lindh - with her coat flapping and unbuttoned and her backpack slung over her shoulder, on her way. Anna Lindh, with her mobile phone in one hand and the other gesticulating in protest: "No - I think you're wrong there."

Anna Lindh, with her quick comments - a toss of the head and then laughing - huge, happy, rolling laughter.


She was born in 1957. Not quite three decades later, when Anna Lindh turned 27, she stood on the rostrum in Folkets Hus near Norrebantorget [a square in central Stockholm], and expressed thanks for the trust placed in her as newly-elected chairman of the Social Democrat youth organisation, the first woman ever.

Anna Lindh

"If we are to make democracy work in society and make passiveness disappear, the first condition is that people must come together and learn to work together to achieve common aims," she said.

In this spirit she worked as Social Democrat youth chairman for six years. It was during these years that she started to develop her talent for getting straight to grips with an issue, and being able to form an articulate opinion in 15 seconds for a television camera.

More and more people opened their ears to Anna Lindh.

When she was 33 years old and heavily pregnant she left her job with the Social Democrat youth organisation and described to [the party] congress why she was a Social Democrat.

This is what she said: "As recently as this morning, when I went to a meeting at headquarters, I saw what society does for unborn children and expectant parents in Sweden - in maternity care and child care, personal care and health care. That's why I know why I'm a Social Democrat."

She continued: "After seeing reports on television and in the newspapers from our neighbouring countries, the Baltic states, after seeing the faces stamped with need and longing but also eyes filled with fear after years of occupation and communist repression, I know why I am a Social Democrat."

She concluded: "When I see street children in Latin America with dirty, undernourished faces, or prostituted little girls in China and Thailand whose only dream is to live for another week, I know why I am a Social Democrat."

That was Anna Lindh's commitment...

Belief in humanity

Anna Lindh became Sweden's minister for foreign affairs at the age of 41.

With her burning international involvement since her teens, with Olof Palme as her model, and with her strong integrity and great courage she became a very popular and highly respected foreign minister.

In all issues, people were Anna's starting point, people's value and rights - human rights were always her driving force, violations and a lack of freedom were what had to be fought
Today Sweden plays host to her friends from every corner of the earth. This seems right and appropriate, for Anna Lindh did not just speak for Sweden in the world, she also spoke for the world in Sweden.

Dear friends, let me read a poem by Tomas Transtroemer - a few lines which I knew Anna liked. They go like this:

Tourists packed into the huge Romanesque church in the half-light.

Vault gaped behind vault and there was no general view.

A few candles flickered.

A faceless angel embraced me and whispered through my body

"Don't be ashamed that you are a human, be proud!

Within you vault after vault opens up endlessly

You will never be finished, and that's how it should be."

I was blinded by tears and was pushed out onto the sun-shielding piazza with Mr and Mrs Jones, Herr Tanaka and Signora Sabatini

And within them all vault after vault opened up endlessly.

Anna Lindh believed in humanity. She believed in humanity as the great being she was, with an almost unlimited capacity to grow and develop.

Anna believed in humanity's inherent power and ability. She also knew how easily that power can go to waste. Humanity is not a church made of stone, in which vault after vault lies open.

Humanity must conquer them - one by one. And it can be done. With the right support humanity can walk through vault after vault endlessly. Humanity can also dwindle its vaults can be demolished. Humanity can be shielded from its opportunities.

Infectious optimism

Anna saw that happen everywhere.

In a Swedish school, where a child is bullied and the adults doesn't see.

In a refugee camp in Afghanistan where there isn't enough medicine.

We will carry the memory of Anna for a long time, like an invisible treasure - to give us strength, to give us warmth, to give us joy
In Kosovo among the rape victims and those who have been violated.

In a factory, were another redundancy is a fact.

In any one of us when our self-confidence and belief in the future fail us.

In all issues people were Anna's starting point. People's value and rights. Human rights were always her driving force. Violations and a lack of freedom were what had to be fought against. Democracy was always her means, humanity was always the target.

That's how she was on the big issues and in small matters.

Unaffected, full of consideration for her family, her friends and colleagues.

Realistic, but with an infectious optimism. She gave encouragement and criticism with the same warmth. She bothered.

Bosse, David and Filip (her husband and sons), I would like to say some words to you. But I know that no words in the world can ease your pain, no words in the world can do you dear Anna, your beloved mother, justice.

You must know that we are here, that there are many of us and that we are with you. It seems impossible today, but we will carry on what Anna stood for. We will carry on her obligations and vision and attempt to fill her role. But no-one can take her place. A human being is so irreplaceable. So valuable and so unique.

We will carry the memory of Anna for a long time, like an invisible treasure.

To give us strength. To give us warmth. To give us joy.

Thank you Anna, for all you gave and who you were. We will move on now. To the future.

But as we leave here we can see you before us. How you turn your head, just like you used to.

You give a little wave, as you did in passing. And add: Look after yourselves!

We answer: Yes, we will look after ourselves. We will look after each other. We promise you that, dear Anna. Thank you.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby
"Anna Lindh was one of Sweden's most loved politicians"

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