Invisible Murder – Book Review

Vejen, Denmark

With the topic of refugees and terrorism very much in the news, this novel by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis, is written for our time and makes for illuminating reading.

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Two impoverished Roma boys are scavenging for something to sell in the ruins of an abandoned Soviet military hospital. Purportedly to improve the lives of themselves and their poverty-stricken families in a rural village of Hungary, one of the boys embarks on a radical plan. Far away in middle class Denmark, Red cross nurse, Nina Borg inadvertently risks her own life and those of her family, to assist a group of Hungarian refugees but little does she know her actions will have disastrous ramifications.

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Source: Economist.com
“Jobbik. It had to be Jobbik, taking to the streets to protest the Jews, Communists and Romas from ‘ruining out nation.’ Lusja straightened herself up pursing her lips as though she had found something disgusting on her shoe. ‘God spare us from any more racist, goose stepping idiots.’ The driver turned in his seat. ‘Jobbik aren’t racists,’ he said. ‘They’re just for Hungary.’ Lusja straightened up in her seat and stared daggers at the driver, 128 pounds of indignant humanism versus 260 pounds of overweight-but-muscular nationalism. ‘And what kind of Hungary would that be?’ she asked. ‘A Hungary clinically scrubbed of all diversity? A Hungary where you can be arrested just because you skin is a different colour? A Hungary where it’s totally okay for Romas to have a life expectancy that’s fifteen years shorter than the rest of the population?’
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Source: Hungarianfreepress.com

A novel that is carefully crafted and well-balanced, allowing you to understand both sides, their personal  motives and furthermore, to feel empathy for the characters woven into the story line: The studious brother who in one brief moment is denied a legal career and betterment for himself, and his family, only because of a racially slanted agenda, his quest to save his wayward orphan brother who, by way of contrast, chooses an extremist, crash-through course of action, and the consequences for each; the innocent bystanders; the well-meaning humanitarians in Denmark, the terrorist thugs and ordinary residents of homogeneous, suburbia integrating with ‘foreigners’.

Are they all helping or hindering the cause? What toll does it take, personally, on those who help the less fortunate, the traumatized, the dangerous, and those on the fringes of society?

In the face of a changing Europe, this Scandinavian novel illuminates some salient points to ponder about inter-related events that shape our modern lives.

Rating 8/10

Other Novels by these bestselling authors: The Boy in the Suitcase

 

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The Great Australian Salute – January 26

Australian culture is largely Anglo-Saxon with a mix of indigenous, and immigrant cultures which are contributing so much positivity to the landscape or our country. We are without doubt, a multi-cultural society. Like it or lump it!

January 26 is a day when new immigrants choose to take part in a citizenship ceremony to become a new citizen of Australia. They come from many parts of the world. January 26 is known as Australia Day. But what is it, really celebrating?

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January 26 is the day acknowledging the landing of the First Fleet of ships, bringing the first group of British convicts, to Australia shores, in 1788. After 1783, America refused to take any further convicts from Britain, so Australia was seen as a place to relocate the people who had committed crimes,(seen as a permanent personality deficit), in those days.

Most ships from the original fleet actually arrived between 18 and 20 January in Botany Bay, but January 26 is the day that is celebrated nationally. The fledgling settlement was soon created at  Sydney Cove,  now the iconic Circular Quay, and Port Jackson, now part of the greater Sydney region.

[Source: Wikipedia]

Sydney Cove was called Warrane by the indigenous Cadigal people.

From this “jailor” beginning, Australia has developed to a modern, independent country with ties to the old Commonwealth, and a laid back, laconic, larrikin culture of acceptance and mate-ship.

Wiki explains more about the First Fleet’s arrival:

The majority of the people on the First Fleet were British, but there were also African, American and French convicts on board.[15][16] The group included seamen, marines and their families, government officials, and a large number of convicts, including women and children. The convicts had committed a variety of crimes, including theft, perjury, fraud, assault and robbery. The sentences the convicts received were transportation for 7 years, 14 years or for the term of their natural life.

It was not a great day for the Aboriginals, the indigenous people of Australia:

The First Fleet encountered indigenous Australians when they landed at Botany Bay. The Cadigal people of the Botany Bay area witnessed the Fleet arrive and six days later the two ships of French explorer La Pérouse sailed into the bay.[49] When the Fleet moved to Sydney Cove seeking better conditions for establishing the colony, they encountered the Eora people, including the Bidjigal clan. A number of the First Fleet journals record encounters with Aboriginal people.[50]

Although the official policy of the British Government was to establish friendly relations with Aboriginal people,[42] and Arthur Phillip ordered that the Aboriginal people should be well treated, it was not long before conflict began. The colonists did not understand Aboriginal society and its relationship with the land and the Aboriginal people did not understand the British practices of farming and land ownership. The colonists did not sign treaties with the original inhabitants of the land.[51] Between 1790 and 1810, Pemulwuy of the Bidjigal clan led the local people in a series of attacks against the British colonisers.[52]

I would like to extend a hearty welcome all the new Australians today, people who have chosen like my ancestors to make this country their new home.  May your new life be all that you dreamed of, and hardships merely challenges to be overcome!

Australia – 1788 to 2015

Something to Ponder About