Swedish crime author Henning Mankell, of Kurt Wallander books, dies

This video says about itself:

Henning Mankell‘s Wallander S1 (Trailer)

28 April 2012

Krister Henriksson stars as author Henning Mankell’s Detective Kurt Wallander. Season One features the movie version of Mankell’s bestselling crime novel “Before The Frost” and includes twelve more 90-minute mysteries based on original stories by Mankell.

From the BBC today:

Wallander writer Henning Mankell dies

Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell, best known for novels featuring Inspector Kurt Wallander, dies aged 67

The writer revealed he had cancer in a newspaper column last year, adding: “My anxiety is very profound.”

He dealt with the experience in his most recent book Quicksand: What It Means To Be A Human Being.

His best-selling mystery novels, which follow policeman Kurt Wallander through Sweden and Mozambique, were turned into a TV drama starring Kenneth Branagh.

The original, Swedish version of the drama starred Krister Henriksson in the title role, and was screened in the UK on BBC Four.

By Carolyn, San Francisco, California, USA, 8 September 2010:

I am sorry that you devoted no more than a few comments on Henning Mankell’s Wallander series. I find that his thoughts about the decay of Swedish society, transmuted into the thoughts of the character Wallander are illuminative of the state of mind in many Swedes today. I find the character of Wallander to be humane and sympathetic and his flaws to be human.

True, the Wallander series is of the police procedural genre, but I find his portrayals of them as no more or less than human beings in a certain situation and profession, without resorting to caricature as is the case in so many “cop” novels, to be refreshing. Mankell has a long history of working against social injustice and has obviously thought long and deeply of what is happening in the society around him. He is exactly my age—postwar, born in 1948—and has grown and matured in the same world society as I have. …

the very violence of the early 21st century has created an incubator for the ideas of violence and retribution as a response to society’s ills. Naturally, the incubation has been the result of a failure of political perspective, leaving people—particularly youth—with the sense that society and its institutions have failed them and therefore that nothing remains but to strike back (or even before) they become victims themselves.

There are plenty of reasons for this, most particularly the capitalist system and the viciousness with which it declares “every man for himself”. If entire generations have been exposed to nothing else, their desperation will become a danger to themselves and others. Henning Mankell has his Wallander ruminate on this idea many times in his stories. Wallander stands aghast at what is happening in his country. It is true that the author and his character have no (stated) idea of how to solve the problem, but they each closely observe the phenomena surrounding them.

This is a start.

Curaçao author and pro-independence fighter Frank Martinus Arion, RIP

Frank Martinus Arion

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Writer Frank Martinus Arion dies

Today, 16:09

The Dutch Antillean writer Frank Martinus Arion (78) has died. He died last night after a brief illness at the hospital in Willemstad.

Arion wrote in Dutch and Papiamento. His most famous book is Dubbelspel (Double Play), his first novel from 1973. …

Arion was the doyen of literature in Curaçao, says correspondent Dick Drayer. He was politically active and supported the independence struggle. He was also an advocate of Papiamento. On the origins of this language, he wrote a thesis on which he graduated at the University of Amsterdam.

In 2008 he gave his royal medal back in protest against the “recolonization process” by the Netherlands. He felt that the Dutch government interfered too much in Curaçao.

Poetry on Vlieland island

Slauerhoff Vlieland

This photo shows parts of a poem about a town hall near the town hall of Vlieland island in the Netherlands.

The poem is by well-known Dutch poet Jan Jacob Slauerhoff. Vlieland, he said, was one of few places where he felt at home.

On fourteen glass plates like on the photo there are poetry lines by Slauerhoff.

If you want to see all fourteen of them, then you have to go all the way north from the village on the Wadden Sea coast to the dunes near the North Sea beach.

After we arrived on Vlieland on 25 September, we saw two glass plates with Slauerhoff poetry on 26 September.

Slauerhoff Vlieland in forest

This photo was taken in the forest not far from the North Sea coast.

Slauerhoff Vlieland on dune

And this photo is from a sand dune summit still closer to the North Sea coast.

Slauerhoff Vlieland poems

This photo, from Vlieland village shows maybe Slauerhoff’s most famous lines, including the first line in which he writes he can only really live inside his poems.

One refugee girl, two brothers, reality-based fiction

This video from Turkey says about itself:

2 September 2015

Where’s Humanity? Bodies found washed up a Turkish shore of Syrian children refugees who tried escaping war.

The core of this story is a dream which I had last night. However, there is so much reality in it that it is not fiction in the narrow sense.

Stormy in the Mediterranean.

The tiny overloaded Libyan fishing boat is minutes from capsizing, drowning all Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi and Somali refugees aboard.

Then, suddenly, a Maltese coast guard ship which happened to be in the same part of the sea.

The refugees jump on board. However, there is Maryam Haddad. A fictional name, for reasons of privacy, like most names in this story.

The ardous journey from Syria has weakened ten-year-old Maryam with her headscarf on. She jumps, but falls into the merciless waves.

For the last time, she cries out for help.

Too late … but then, Maltese coast guard officer Peter Zammit jumps into the water, grabbing little Maryam.

‘Now they will both drown!’ one of Peter’s colleagues thinks. But another colleague throws a lifeline, saving Peter and Maryam.

There happened to be a photographer on the ship. Many TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and Internet sites reported on this rescue.

Some of the reports praised Peter Zammit as a hero. Not so Katie Hopkins in The Sun daily, owned by Rupert Murdoch:

As I have proved before, these so-called ‘refugees’ are not refugees at all. They are cockroaches. Cockroaches are vermin which you should not leave alive. Peter Zammit, this ‘hero’ of the liberal media, is in fact a traitor to western values. He aided and abetted the towelhead invasion of Europe. Ten-year-old Maryam, looking so innocent on the liberal media photos, won’t be innocent in four years time. Then, she will breed ten or more Islamic terrorists, as we all know muzzies breed with the speed of rabbits.

The morning after the media publicity, Peter Zammit’s wife Rosie found her husband dead just outside the front door, dressed in his pyamas. A gun laying next to him.

A police inspector said: ‘This is either suicide, or foul play trying to make it look like suicide. Peter cannot be buried yet. We have to investigate’.

‘Suicide?’ Rosie exclaimed to the inspector. ‘Impossible! We were always happy together. I had told Peter how proud I was about what he had done to rescue that girl. I am expecting our first child. Peter looked forward so much to becoming a father. Yesterday night, before falling asleep, we had talked about how we would educate our child. We had agreed that if the child would be a girl, we would call her Maryam, after the Syrian girl whom Peter saved’.

A Maltese newspaper interviewed Peter’s older brother Cain. Cain looked much like Peter. Like Peter, he was a law enforcement officer: police, not coast guard. But that was about all these two had in common.

‘So, Peter is dead?’ Cain said. ‘Does not surprise me really. Maybe suicide as he finally realized that do-gooder saving of Muslim so-called ‘refugees’ basically is just aiding and abetting genocide of the white race. I read Ms Hopkins column, and she tells the truth. It is also possible that someone who was fed up with liberal commie faggots like Peter killed him’.

‘You call your brother a faggot’, the journalist said, ‘Do you have any proof that he was a homosexual?’

‘Well, proof … proof is a big word’, Cain said. ‘But I have suspected him all my life really. When we were teenagers, I asked him to help me shooting birds. But, no sir, not Peter. He said: ‘These birds have come such a long way to Malta, and still have such a long way to go. Let them live.’ No real man would ever say such a thing. Only a liberal commie sentimental sodomite like my goddamn own brother would say such a thing’.

When the police inspector read the interview, he thought he should ask his colleague Cain Zammit some questions.

As Cain entered the room, the inspector said: ‘Colleague Zammit, I have sad news. The DNA traces on the gun laying next to your murdered brother Peter match with your DNA’.

Cain Zammit face went very disturbed, ashen. Only for five seconds. Then, he composed himself. ‘Yes, I did kill that f-ing faggot commie liberal. Not only did he save that muzzie vermin from drowning. When he was still in the police like us, he arrested a man for killing a golden oriole. ‘Poaching‘, my goddamn so-called brother called that! As we both know, I would never arrest a man for such sportsmanship.

At midnight, I rang his doorbell. I was lucky that Islam lover woke up and opened the door, while his wife kept sleeping. The rest was easy.’

For the information of Cain Zammit and others: the Haddad family was Christian, not Muslim. The Middle Eastern custom of headscarves for women dates from the Christian Byzantine empire, before the rise of Islam.

Maryam Haddad’s parents asked the authorities: ‘Please, please allow us to attend the funeral of Peter Zammit, who saved the life of our little girl’.

The authorities replied: ‘You are in an asylum seekers camp. No one is allowed to leave that camp’.

Daoud Haddad cried for hours. Leyla Haddad cried for hours.

Fundamentalist religious censorship of novel in New Zealand

This 12 September 2015 video from New Zealand says about itself:

Ted Dawe, author of banned book Into the River, discusses censorship and the inspiration for his work.

His ruling remains in place until the next full meeting of the Review Board, scheduled for October 2.

Into the River, by Aucklander Ted Dawe, centres on a young East Coast Maori boy who wins a scholarship to a boys’ boarding school in Auckland.

In 2013, after it won Book of the Year at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards, Christian lobby group Family First applied for an R18 classification and shrink-wrap covering.

The group said the book dealt with graphic sexual content, paedophilia, and the misuse of adult power. It glorified the taking of drugs and contained “extensive” use of the “c” and “f” words.

For the next two years, the book bounced between the Classifications Office and the Film and Literature Review Board. It was variously classified as being more suitable for audiences over 16; objectionable to anyone under the age of 14 and, most recently last month, an “unrestricted” read.

That decision, by the Classification Office, prompted Family First to request the interim restriction order – which can, under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classifications Act 1993, be granted solely by the Board of Review president.

Mathieson’s order, granted on September 3, means individuals and organisations (including schools and libraries) who knowingly supply the book, are liable for fines of up to $3000 and $10,000 respectively. Into the River was immediately withdrawn from book stores and by mid-week, was no longer available for purchase in New Zealand in electronic form.

But Mathieson says it’s wrong to refer to his decision as a “ban”.

“It’s an interim restriction. Banning is an emotive word.”

Waikanae-based Mathieson is a QC and active Christian. He said detail about his personal background was “irrelevant”. …

He is the editor of the book Faith at Work, described by Castle Publishing as a “thought provoking symposium discussing the relevance of Christianity in the workplace … Faith goes beyond the church on Sunday. It must impact on every area of life”.


In 2013, censors banned The Everything Marijuana Book. In 1997, Hitchhiking Pizza Boy was outlawed. In 1972, A Sea of Thighs and Big Boobs made it to the forbidden list. Records show that since 1963, some 1289 books have been banned for import, distribution, supply or possession – most because of sex or drug references. These are the most recent:

2013: The Everything Marijuana Book

2013: Here’s Steve

2013: Boys Are Boys

2010: Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture 8th Edition

2009: Pleasant Dripping with Sweat

2000: Holiday Snapshots

2000: Eros XXX Women

1999: Topping from Below

1999: Indoor Marijuana Horticulture

1999: Marijuana Botany

‘Will I be burnt next?’ – Into the River author Ted Dawe on book banning: here.

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

Outrage over banning of New Zealand novel Into the River

19 September 2015

On September 7 New Zealand’s Film and Literature Board of Review announced a temporary ban on the sale and distribution of the young adult novel Into the River by Ted Dawe. The board will make a final decision on the book’s classification next month. Until then anyone who sells, lends or displays it can be fined between $3,000 and $10,000. It has been withdrawn from book stores and libraries.

Board president Don Mathieson QC imposed the “interim restriction” in response to an appeal by the fundamentalist Christian group Family First against the unrestricted rating given to the book by the government’s Classification Office. The Board of Review is a government-appointed body with the power to change classification decisions.

Family First has campaigned against Into the River since it won the top prize at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards in 2013. The organisation has called for the book to be restricted to people over 18 years old, a position that Mathieson has said he supports. Family First leader Bob McCoskrie told the New Zealand Herald: “It has sexually explicit material and it’s … got the c-word nine times, the f-word 17 times and s-h-i-t 16 times.” He also objected to the depiction of drug use.

The banning is a blatant attack on artistic freedom. It is the latest indication that the ruling elite is responding to growing social inequality and class tensions with increasingly anti-democratic methods.

Mathieson, a conservative Christian known for his opposition to same-sex marriage, has set a dangerous new precedent and demonstrated that he has the power to remove any book from circulation at the stroke of a pen.

The book ban also illustrates the increasing influence of Family First, which is being politically promoted as a means to foster ignorance and bigotry.

Dawe’s novel is the first to be banned in New Zealand in more than two decades. Previously suppressed books include Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy in 1958 and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, in 1960 (both bans were lifted a few years later). Numerous films have been banned, including recently the horror films I Spit on Your Grave (2010) and Maniac (2013).

The ban has met with shock and outrage from ordinary people. Out of 220 comments on the Herald web site, 185 opposed the ban, with many expressing alarm at the power of the religious right.

One asked: “Have I been transported to 1984? Do we live in a free country or not?”

Another comment declared: “How on earth does a conservative Christian lobby group manage to get books temporarily banned in NZ? Have we gone back into a 1950s time warp and no one has told me?”

A reader on the news web site Stuff.co.nz asked: “Since when does Bob McCoskrie or other religious zealots such as Don Mathieson dictate to the rest of the populace as to what’s good for us based on their own narrow-minded religious views of the world?”

Groups of people protested the ban in Dunedin and Wellington on September 10 by silently reading Into the River in public. Writers have denounced the ban, including Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, New Zealand’s poet laureate C.K. Stead, Elizabeth Knox, Patrick Ness, and John Marsden, to name just a few.

Following the backlash, the National Party government has attempted to distance itself from Mathieson’s decision, despite the fact that it appointed him to the Board of Review in June 2010. Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy said at the time that Mathieson was “well qualified for this role.”

In the lead-up to the 2014 election Prime Minister John Key and New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters both appeared at Family First gatherings and gave interviews to Bob McCoskrie.

The corporate media has largely criticised Mathieson’s decision, yet it presents McCoskrie as a legitimate commentator. McCoskrie is a frequent guest on TV and radio, where he rails against gay rights, sex education, abortion rights, books, films and TV shows.

On June 30, 2013, the Herald joined Family First in denouncing the decision to award Best Book to Into the River. “It contains obscenities and shock references that worthwhile literature does not need,” the editorial declared.

Pointing to the authoritarian character of the ban and the influence of Family First, John Boyne, Irish author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, wrote on Stuff.co.nz: “In 1933, when Joseph Goebbels listed the books that should not be read by the German people, the fires were built and the works of Hemingway, Freud, Jack London and others went up in smoke. This, the Propaganda Minister declared, would lead to ‘a cleansing of the German spirit…’

“[S]somehow this rag-tag group of angry, ill-informed and frightened conservatives has been allowed to follow in the footsteps of Nazis and the Irish Catholic Church.”

This analogy is entirely appropriate. The world is experiencing the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In every country the ruling class is responding with an assault on living standards at home and preparations for war abroad. To impose this agenda the governments are carrying out sweeping attacks on civil liberties.

Dawe’s novel has been suppressed amid a campaign by the entire political establishment to glorify militarism and nationalism. This includes the grotesque celebrations surrounding the centenary of World War I and attempts by the opposition Labour, NZ First and the Mana Parties to promote anti-Chinese xenophobia.

Access to socially critical works of art is incompatible with the reactionary climate the ruling class is seeking to create. Into the River has evidently been targeted because it addresses issues facing working class youth in a realistic way that has struck a chord with thousands of people.

Writer Bernard Beckett, who was on the judging panel that awarded Dawe’s novel, described it on the blog the Spinoff as “an important work on a great many levels. Deeply moral, extremely well-written and respectful of its audience …

“The protagonist is a young Maori boy on the East Coast, sharp as pin and filled to the brim with potential. He wins a scholarship to a boarding school in Auckland, and from the moment he arrives, understands that this is not his place. Despite his learning and his aptitude, the school won’t be able to welcome him. It’s a story of alienation and bullying, and a story of the way those not offered a place to stand will attempt to carve out their own.”

Another judge, novelist Barbara Else, told Fairfax Media: “The novel’s a tragedy of a talented Maori youth ripped from his whanau [family] and subjected to snobbery and racism. It’s bleak. It’s hard-hitting. The sex scenes are realistic and saddening.”

Even though Dawe’s first novel, Thunder Road, won Young Adult Book of the Year, he struggled to find a publisher for Into the River and eventually had to self-publish. After that novel also won an award, Family First lobbied the Board of Review, which imposed an R14 rating in December 2013, the first time a book had received such a rating.

Dawe wrote in the Guardian: “Prior to this judgement, Into the River was the most-borrowed NZ-written YA novel in the country. After the ruling, it was removed from libraries’ shelves and either placed behind the desk or in the basement stacks … Borrowing dropped to virtually nil.”

After receiving several complaints from teachers and librarians, the Classification Office removed the R14 rating last month, making the book unrestricted until the Board of Review withdrew it from circulation this month.

Dawe, who is a high school teacher, explained that he was inspired by British novelists Alan Sillitoe and Keith Waterhouse, whose works “carried the sharp stink of authenticity.” He set out to write books that would appeal to the sort of boys he taught, “from working class backgrounds, immigrant boys in Brixton in 1970s London; ‘new Australian’ migrants in Marrickville, Sydney; and Māori and Pasifika boys in Auckland.”

The attacks on Into the River are motivated by the ruling elite’s fear of these young people, who it wants to prevent from reading books that might encourage a class understanding of the brutality of capitalist society.