May 2003, in a hospital somewhere in Jönköping, an eleven year-old girl is seriously ill. She does not respond to physical contact, she neither eats nor drinks and she needs to wear a nappy at all times. In a few minutes the police will take her off the drip-feed, carry her out to a waiting car, and take her into the custody of the Swedish Migration Board in Malmö to lock her up behind bars and barbed wire. At 8.15 am the following morning she will be taken to the airport in Copenhagen. As far as the Swedish authorities are concerned the case is closed. This, however, is where the story begins – the story about Sweden. Step by step Gellert Tamas exposes how obliging politicians, unsuspecting journalists, organised right-wing extremists, powerful doctors and psychiatrists create an image of the so-called ’apathetic children’. It is an image based on prejudices and tall tales that will eventually be accepted as the truth. In De apatiska (The Apathetic) – a follow-up to the mega success Lasermannen (The Laser Man) – Tamas once again takes us on an unpleasant and obtrusive journey through the landscape of power and manipulation.

First published by Natur & Kultur, Sweden, 2008.

Sweden, Natur & Kultur