[Marxism] Stockholm is burning

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 27 09:56:46 MDT 2013

At some point down the road I plan to write an article--probably for 
Counterpunch magazine--on Swedish leftist detective stories. Probably 
most of you are familiar with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo story, 
with the author being a former member of the FI.

But there's also Henning Merkel's novels about a cop named Wallander 
that has been adapted for both Swedish and British TV (starring Kenneth 
Branagh). Merkel was a Maoist in the 60s and is still quite radical. I 
recommend both but prefer the Swedish series. You can see both versions 
on Netflix streaming and decide for yourself. I also recommend Eva Liza 
Marklund's novels which have a political edge, even though she is much 
more of a liberal than Merkel or Stieg Larsson. Her novels are about a 
crime reporter named Annika Bengzton, which have also been adapted for 
Swedish TV and can be seen on Netflix. The stories, like the Wallander 
series, are about the sleazy underbelly of Swedish society and take up 
the plight of immigrant workers as well as the neo-Nazi groups that make 
their life miserable.

Here's a interesting story about Merkel's activism:

JUNE 3, 2010 3:40PM

Swedish crime author tells his version of Israeli assault

Henning Mankell
Bestselling Swedish author Henning Mankell

IF YOU UTTER THE term “Swedish crime fiction,” chances are that most 
Americans will think of the late Stieg Larsson, author of The Girl With 
the Dragon Tattoo and the two other books in the series. But long before 
Larsson hit the bestseller lists last year (and then tragically died at 
age 50), author and playwright Henning Mankell of Inspector Wallander 
fame had been the man to watch when it came to Swedish police novels. 
I’d say it’s bad news for Israel that Europe’s leading crime author was 
also an eyewitness to what much of the world regards as a criminal act, 
namely the assault last Monday by Israeli special forces on a relief 
flotilla bound for Gaza that resulted in nine deaths and a number of 

Mankell, age 62, who had been sailing on the “Sofia,” one of the ships 
in the convoy, was briefly detained by the Israeli commandos and has 
since been expelled from Israel. He has promised to provide a detailed 
(and, undoubtedly, suspenseful) first-person account to the global press 
on Saturday. In the meantime, however, he has provided a number of 
interviews to the Swedish press in which he described what he saw when 
the soldiers boarded his ship. In the following I have translated 
excerpts from the comments he made to the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter 

As reported in the DN, Mankell had been on watch duty aboard the “Sofia” 
when he saw the the Israelis attacking the largest ship in the convoy. 
“At 5:35 we saw that it was our turn. Then an attack boat came and 
started circling our boat along with three large rubber craft.

  “They confiscated our telephones and we couldn’t speak with one 
another. At that point we saw with our own eyes that Israel had broken 
with all conventions.

“A soldier came and said ‘We’ve found weapons on board,’ and then he 
held up my razor.”

Mankell believes Israel is guilty of piracy and doesn’t “see an ounce of 
difference” between Israeli actions and those of Somali pirates. He also 
says that Israel kidnapped 700 persons.

“Israel has painted itself into a corner. Israel has never been so 
condemned. … This event has changed the world.” Mankell believes Israel 
should be placed in front of an international court.

Mankell lost all his possessions during his detention in Israel. “They 
took my wallet with my money and credit cards, my mobile phone and my 
iPod. They even took my socks. Those Israeli soldiers are thieves.”

Mankell was thrown into jail but was never given a choice between 
deportation and a trial. “I believe I was an awkward person for them to 
have around, and that is why they wanted to get rid of me as fast as 

After providing a first hand account to the press in at least eight 
countries on Saturday, Mankell plans a much more detailed publication, 
including photos. “We’ll publish it as soon as everyone is out of the 
country,” he said.

What risks had you been planning for?

It would have been more appropriate for them to have confronted us at 
the boundary of their territorial waters and not to have attacked us on 
the open sea.

What possibilities did you have to resist?

None, we would have needed an immense quantity of weapons. We would have 
required military power.

But were their weapons among you, such as knives or clubs?

Even on ships people cook and there are kitchen knives, and if someone 
starts attacking you chances are you might defend yourself. As I see it, 
that is appropriate in any situation. Do you have no right to fight 
against highly trained, incredibly well-armed soldiers who have 
illegally boarded your craft? Do you have no right to defend yourself?

Do you have a right to undertake an action that indirectly risks the 
lives of many people?

I am convinced you do, and what will the Israelis do if we return with 
100 vessels next year?

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