I just finished Johan Hilton's No tears for queers
, with the subtitle "A report about men, gays and hate crimes". It is a deeply unsettling and horribly shaking book about three cases of violence against homosexual men. It is published by Bokförlaget Atlas
and I bought it at Textmässan, a book fair for independent publishers.
Hilton writes in a detached, clinical style. Lots of recaps based on police materials, many many quotes and interviews. It's chilling, perhaps even worse because it's so clinical. He uses words like a scalpel and what he shows is awful, there are values of manliness that are rotten through and stink of hate and violence.
Matthew Shepard in the US. Johan Petterson in Katrineholm. Josef Ben Meddour in Göteborg.
It hurts, to read this report of three senseless, brutal murders. It hurts and it makes me so angry, so angry with the world and this country. I hope it is a good anger, I hope I'll be able to channel it into something doing more than just writing this little blog post as some kind of futile protest.
There's a long quote on the publishers page - here's part of it.Först 1997, året då Josef sköts i rygg och nacke, började Säpo föra statistik över brott med homofobiska motiv. Sedan dess har antalet anmälda brott ökat med 76 procent utslaget över hela landet. Det beror inte bara på att HBT-människor numera känner större tilltro till polisen och vågar anmäla brotten. Det beror på en reell ökning. Bögar knackas som aldrig förr. 140 anmälda hatbrott i Västra Götaland bara det första kalenderhalvåret 2003. Att jämföra med 150 under hela 1997. Vad värre är: endast några få av dem klaras upp.
Short in English : Since 1997, when the security police began to track them, crimes with homophobic motives have increased with 76% in Sweden. The book was written in 2005, as far as I can understand.
76% more hate crimes against queer persons in eight years. WHAT THE FUCKING HELL IS THE MATTER WITH THIS COUNTRY. WHAT THE FUCKING HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD!
150 reported crimes during all of 1997 to 140 crimes the first half of 2003 in one area.
So. Yeah. If you can speak the language, read this book.
There's a whole heap of important books in my "to read soon" list. I attack them when I have the time and energy. Here, I only began to flip through some pages and then I was sucked in. It's like a nightmare. I don't want it to be true. But I know it is, I recognize the words and values and the unspoken pressure. From my memories of school, from hearing drunk people on the bus, from friends of friends - straight from a few former friends, in fact - from the assumptions behind things that everyone says and thinks. Probably me too, if I could look at my mirror image with objectivity.
Have another quote. It's telling:Den kritik och agg som deras föräldrar och det vuxna närsamhället har mot invandrare och homosexuella omvandlar de i handling. De utför de handlingar som vuxna säger sig vilja utföra, men inte vågar.
Basically, young aggressive men put into violent reality the anger, dislike and fear that the society as a whole feels towards homosexuals and immigrants, but only dares to express through words.
The above from Hans Knutagårds "...det var bara en bögjävel", quoted in the book.