I think that I might now be getting some idea of what this whole case is actually about. Those following it will perhaps have seen that the lawyer engaged by the Johanssons has been banned from acting for Dominic. Scandal! She is a 'top human rights lawyer' according to some sites. In fact she is nothing of the sort. She isn't even a lawyer. Her name is Ruby Harrold-Claesson and her main interest in life seems to be spanking. She is so enthusiastic about this that four years ago she flew to the other side of the planet to try and persuade the New Zealand government that it was a bad idea to prohibit smacking. The organisation which flew her to New Zealand is called Family Integrity and they are also heavily into spanking. I say spanking; ritual child abuse would be a better way to describe it. They advocate 'driving out foolishness' from children by fifteen minute 'discipline' sessions. Yes, that's right, beatings which last for a quarter of an hour! I have to say, I would not allow such a person into my home, never mind engage her as my child's lawyer. You can read a bit about her here;
She has done some work with families in Sweden who have had their children taken into care. All these families had one thing in common; they believed in hitting their children as a form of discipline and this is why they lost their children. It is this strange woman whom Christer Johansson is determined to have to represent his son. The Swedish courts don't want her to do so, partly because she is very evangelical about spanking and also because she is not a member of the Swedish bar. (Try googling her name together with smacking or spanking. She has written a lot of really interesting stuff about how good it is to hit children.)
How is this relevant to the matter of Dominic Johansson? You have to bear in mind that a great deal of the fuss about this case is coming from the United States. Specifically, a lot of it is from right wing Christian homeschooling groups. Many of these are fervent believers in spanking and regard any attempt to ban the practice as an infringement of their rights. In fact a lot of these characters believe that the Bible instructs them to hit their children. I can only say that my view of scripture is a little different! The Johanssons are of course very devout Christians themselves and a lot of sites are soliciting prayers for them. Many of these same sites also carry pro-spanking messages. It is curious that a peculiar woman like Ruby Harrold-Claesson, a woman who blames all modern society's ills upon the lack of spanking in so many countries, should have been the lawyer of choice for the Johanssons. Do they themselves believe in hitting children? I don't know, but if so, this would certainly put them in the sights of Swedish courts and social workers.
There is a clue to this business that somebody might want to follow up. The opposition to Christer and Annie Johansson's home education of their son was not completely random. On a blog about home schooling in Sweden, I read this:
'Christer was once involved in an alternative on-line news mag that expressed politically incorrect ideas and as near as anyone can tell, this was the reason his home schooling plans were opposed.'
This suggests that there is more to the opposition to his plans than meets the eye. The authorities also received anonymous letters about him and his family. I wonder what the 'politically incorrect ideas' might have been? Might it have been something to do with physical punishment of children, which would have been deadly for any hope of being allowed to home educate in Sweden? Does anybody have any idea what this was all about?
On an unrelated note, something else which I find odd is that it is hard to figure out just what the Johanssons were actually doing and planning to do in India. When they were heading back there Christer Johansson said on one occasion that they were going to minister to the poor in an orphanage, but on another that they wanted to, 'commence construction of an ecological village where we could live and be self-sufficient' I suppose that this ecological village might have included an orphanage. When they were there in 2000 and 2001, the situation is no clearer. He said:
'My wife Annie is an Indian citizen, and I was inspired by The challenges I saw in her home country to find a way to share my ideas Practically and talents to help the poor in Suffering Ways to Give Them independence as opposed to Seeking handouts'
On the photograph of the large, extended family though it says that he and his wife were running a travel agency and lost everything in the earthquake of 2001. This is given as their reason for returning home. The clear implication is that the earthquake destroyed his travel agency and left him destitute. In an email to a Pastor in America though, he says that he travelled to the earthquake area to try and help people. This suggests that he was not living in the area affected by the earthquake. Elsewhere, he writes that he and his wife were in a taxi heading to the airport when they were robbed of all their money and possessions. Some of these stories simply don't match up and I cannot help wondering why the fellow has given so many and varied accounts of himself. Can anybody help out here with a definitive narrative?
I don't believe for a moment that the authorities in Sweden have taken this child into care as an act of spite because they wish to persecute a home educating family. It would in any case be counter productive. It has brought Sweden a lot of bad publicity and obviously they would have done better simply to allow the family to leave. I think that this has been done for the welfare of the child and that many home educators are blindly supporting a cause about which they know nothing. Now that the Friends of Dominic Johansson are reading this, I expect that they will be able to clear up all these points for us.