Pigs and bags

Sometimes I amuse myself with looking up people I’ve either known or come across in the past, out of curiosity more than anything else. I don’t know how these people popped into my head, but I was reading some posts on a Facebook group for Swedes abroad when my mind went ping! Do you remember…?

Let’s call these two chicks Dani and Geri.

This must be nearly ten years ago now, and I was part of this other network for Swedish mums living abroad, which was mainly a mailing list. One day there was news of how a Swedish mum, Dani, who was living in the US, had had her son kidnapped by his father and of course this struck a horrid chord in all of us, parents or otherwise.  Everyone clubbed together to help in that most beautiful of ways that humankind so often displays in the face of adversity – we donated money to help Dani, we spread the news, us bloggers made noise and I think local mums in the States even held auctions and cake sales to raise cash for this poor lady. It was quite something. Compassion, goodwill, generosity, but most of solidarity.

This went on for a week or two, we all bought it without question. As they say in Sweden, we bought the pig in the bag. I don’t know who buys pigs in bags, usually they’re kept in sties right? And you wouldn’t transport any animal beyond perhaps goldfish in a bag, would you? I transported a hamster in a small box once. For a pig you’d need a good size crate I reckon. Anyway. We can talk about Swedish sayings and modes of animal transport some other time. No wait, there’s another fitting one: before long, some people began to sense that a dog was buried here.

A particularly loud voice was one of Dani’s best friends, Geri. Geri appeared to be an aspiring singer and before you can say shameless self promotion she had duly composed and recorded a song about Dani and her kidnapped son that promptly went on YouTube, shared on blogs and circulated. Under the information about Dani and her plight there was of course information about Geri complete with links to her blog and music videos. Turned out she had also made a song for another unfortunate family, i.e. tried to get her career off the ground off the back of the suffering of others. It was in pretty poor taste but I personally shrugged it off. No one could be that rank, right?

Suddenly, the owners of the network for Swedish mums did what seemed like a complete u-turn and pulled down everything to do with Dani’s case from their website, Facebook page and all other pages where they’d previously lent their name and logo to support Dani. I knew the founder as I had translated some of her web content into English as she was expanding her business and wanted to create networks for mums of other nationalities too, so I dropped her an e-mail and asked what had happened. She told me that she’d found out a whole lot more and that Dani – YESSSSS ANOTHER SWEDISH SAYING THAT WORKS!!!! – didn’t have clean flour in the bag.

And more and more of us started to ask questions. It all escalated into e-war on various blogs in the comment sections. I’m trying to remember in which order all of this happened, but I think after about two months Dani’s son was found in Guatamala where he’d been taken by his father from Los Angeles. What followed was pretty predictable – Dani arrived in Sweden (that’s right, not back in the US where they had lived) to photographers and a TV crew. Posing with her was of course Geri.

Next thing we know the evil kidnapper dad joined the e-war and he presented a slightly unsavoury image of Dani…. …which he backed up with e-mails, scans of court documents and receipts from liqour stores. It was at a glance equally nasty to the image Dani had painted of him. It was all a bit mental, really, and I don’t know how in God’s name I got tangled up with these mental cases online but most of us felt they were both as bad as each other and disentangled ourselves from the sorry mess. Poor kid. I hope things worked out for him.

So what does Google tell me when I all these years later curiously type in their names? Well. They’re all in Sweden. Even the kidnapper dad seems to have moved there! Dani is in some quite high up position with the Swedish Democrats and has of course self published a book about the traumatic events. Actually, only Dani and her son’s dad truly know what true and what isn’t so I shouldn’t be so sarcastic, and the reviews all do say it’s well written and a great read. It appears she’s also involved with an organisation for parents whose children have been abducted by the other parent. Ah well, good on her. Geri seems to write a rather successful blog intended to bully girl bloggers half her age. Shame really that the music career didn’t take off, I thought whatever I did hear at the time was quite good, even if it seemed in bad taste given the context.

Call me sad but I do find it interesting to see how things turn out further down the line!

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