Imagination needs inspiration to bloom.


Spår by Lena Sundström

This is a true story about a big conspiracy that reached world wide. In 2004, a Swedish tv-program called ”Kalla Fakta” revealed that two men had been arrested and deported to Egypt in 2001, where they were tortured. They were suspected for having ties to al-Qaida. There were no evidence. No trial. It was viewed with the outmost confidentiality and secrecy and no one in Sweden outside the government and Säpo, the security police, new about what was really going on. It was not an deportation. It was an outright abduction.

Three years later, three Swedish journalists began to investigate the ”deportation” of the two men. In 2001, Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed Alzery were arrested and deported. When their judicial representatives were informed, they had already arrived in Kairo. According to a ”human rights”-agreement between Sweden and Egypt they were not to be tortured. The problem was that the Swedish government never really investigated how they were being treated. They only inverviewed them in the company of prison guards and the Chief inspector. If they talked, they would be punished, and the prison guards heard every word they spoke. Therefor, little information about their true treatment escaped the prison walls.

The journalists travelled around the world, interviewed people involved and mapped out mysterious planes routes. The story unfolds and the truth, now well known, turned out to be a big conspiracy where even the CIA was involved. Sweden and 54 other countries let an American intelligence service operate on their soil, kidnap innocent people based on suspicions that came from obscure information, and then leave them to torture.

”Spår” has received good reviews, and is considered an important journalistic achievement. With this book Lena Sundström criticizes the government’s ignorant and non-caring approach. It also shows how difficult and wearing it is to fight for a story that is extremely important, but difficult to explain to people and where it’s almost impossible to bring the people responsible to justice.


Lasermannen by Gellert Tamas

The true story about a boy with German parents, growing up in Sweden, and finally shooting eleven people, of which one died. It began with a little boy being different from the Swedish children, having dark hair and a different name - back then it was Wolfgang Alexander Zaugg - being bullied at the playground and not defended by his mother, who didn't comfort him and used to beat him. This created the first spark that would become John Ausonius. There was another factor as well. Something within him wasn't quite normal, his mental psyche was a little unstable, but he was considerate, loyal to his friends and properly dressed, so he was naturally described as a very nice young man. Early on he took a liking to order and discipline, and despised people that didn't "do anything" with their lives, such as his younger brother. He hated the 70's hippies with their long hair and free spirits. 

Eventually, he imagined himself studying at the university and become someone "important". Being better than the Swedes, he would probably not be bullied, he thought. He would be accepted. That was presumably his subconscious intention. He began to study, but it didn't go according to plan. He wasn't successful at the university. He couldn't concentrate and he couldn't follow orders. He thought everyone was stupid, and was not afraid to say so, even to the teachers. Another carrier path was the military. During his military service he didn't get along with anyone. He finally became a criminal and when in prison he escaped several times, before he was moved to Kumla - a high security prison. He served his time for some minor crimes and then was released. This was before he came up with the idea to get rid of immigrants. He soon began to distance himself from them, thinking they were all criminals and feeding on the society. He began to hate people with foreign backgrounds, and eventually the hate grew into action. He decided he would eliminate them, but when he couldn't find such people, any immigrant would do. So he started to shoot people that looked non-Swedish. People with dark hair, just like himself. Apart from the tragic shootings, he committed many bank robberies, physical abuses and economic frauds. When he wasn't content with his lawyer, he abused him in court. 

I think it's a horrible but rather interesting story about a person trying to suppress his background and distance himself from his roots, thinking that was the right thing to do. He wanted to blend in. His mental disability naturally helped form the murderer in him, but this book is also about the tune of society in the early 90's. Would he have become what he became if not treated as he was as a little boy? Would he have come up with the idea to shoot people with dark hair if the society had accepted them as fellow citizens? The society criticism is prominent when discussing the role of politicians and media in the racism context, claiming that with their lack of interest and politicians and media in the racism context, claiming that with their lack of interest and knowledge, they, in a way, contributed to preconceived notions, fear and thus the segregated community. I think the book has much to say about Sweden in the early 90's. 

Ausonius' had an identity crisis. He switched names two times, colored his hair to a fairer shade and got blue contact lenses. He wanted to melt in among the Swedish people, but he also wanted status and to be economically independent. Therefor, he thought it important for people to know he was smarter than most in his environment. He wanted to be seen as someone special. He wanted to be admired. He persuaded others and himself that he was highly educated despite the fact that he hadn't made it through a single course at the university. He was intelligent but in a narrow kind. He was very talented at arguing and debating, but at the same time he rented his car for his bank robberies in his own name, which finally led the police to him. Although, it took a long time to capture him. 

It's really tragic and depressing to follow a person turning into a monster, causing so much misery around him, destroying eleven people's lives. Ten survived, but they all suffered immensely and never became the same again. Furthermore, not only the people shot were affected. Everywhere, especially in Stockholm, people with a foreign background were afraid and wondered if they would be shot.

The author and journalist has chosen different perspectives in the book. The reader gets to see the world from the view of the victims, people in general, criminal investigators and Politicians. Tamas has adjusted the prose to the person thinking or feeling, and sometimes the reader gets to enter the head of the murderer, based on quotes from interviews with him.

This book reminds me of Gitta Sereny's "Into that darkness: An examination of conscience". People who like reading about the human psyche and what shapes people into monsters should definitely read this one.