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To: Socialnämnden (Social Services)
Gustaf Hoffstedt / President Karl-Johan Boberg / Vice president Sonja Landin / 2nd Vice president Ola Lindvall Sivert Larsson Gunilla Wigren Dahlin Egil Lyngstad Bror Lindahl Ann Gardell Britt-Marie Sjöndin Roland Olofsson Max Håkansson Lars Åkerlund
Re: Meeting of Tuesday 27 April 2010 concerning the future of Domenic Johannsson
Ladies & Gentlemen of Gotlands kommun, Socialnämnden - greetings:
I am a retired professional educator resident in Sweden who is very interested and concerned about the Domenic Johannsson case both as its relates to homeschooling and in a societal context. One of my tasks currently is to help educators and politicians understand better what homeschooling is, and the permanence and rapid expansion of this form of education in both the EU and throughout the world. To that end I have published a book and a website at http://sites.google.com/site/homeschoolinginsweden. I am planning to publish a second book as political events unfold here in Sweden.
On 2010-04-27 you must arrive at a decision concerning the future of Domenic Johannsson. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of people around the world - including newspapers, social activists and politicians - are aware of this meeting as its date and nature is being announced and circulated by many people like myself, and will be watching you with keen interest. Most are aware that the primary issue here is one of freedom, democracy, multiculturalism and the rights of the family.
The decision originally made by your office to take Domenic into custody was a serious and heartless breach of human rights and no amount of political word-fencing or supporting decisions made by local courts of appeal are going to alter that. You have already lost the moral battle. The world of ordinary, decent people understands exactly what is going on and is revolted by it. Everybody knows that a mistake was made by the kommun and that the only decent thing left now for the Gotland Social Services to do is to restore Domenic to his parents, and as quickly as possible. If he isn't, the political noise, public outcry and protests will simply intensify until justice is done. This problem will not just go away.
There is no way that the Gotland Social Services can come out of this unscathed but it can choose to diminish the fallout by deciding to do the wisest, most decent and honourable thing by sending Domenic home, and thus restore its - and Sweden's - credibility to the world. Already Gotland kommun and the Swedish state are being viewed at home and internationally as undemocratic, prejudiced, ignorant, autocratic and totalitarian, and undermining the fundamental tenets of Swedish democracy and pluralism and all the good things it has achieved. You should know, if you are not already aware, that a massive legal campaign is now being waged in defence of homeschoolers in Sweden and that it will not cease or diminish in intensity until justice is served. The Domenic Johannsson case is now an integral part of that process and the Gotland kommun is in its direct line of fire.
Gotland was once briefly a part of the autocratic Order of Teutonic Knights long ago and it greatly saddens me to hear echoes of its past filtering down into the supposedly enlightened 21st century. Your kommun is in the spotlight and will remain increasingly so until it makes the humane decision to return Domenic home where he belongs, without restrictions or penalties. We have to all of us learn to live together with people of multiple belief systems, philosophies, political views and customs and not to presume to dictate only one way of living, whether it be in religion or a lifestyle in general. Attempts to impose a uniform system were tried with disastrous results in the last century leaving millions dead. It is time to live and let live. So I ask you, please, to let the light of humanity shine in your deliberations on Tuesday, step down from intransigent positions, recognise that the world has moved on and is leaving archaic, totalitarian political and social models behind too.
We are trusting you to make the right decision and so earn our gratitude and restore our respect.
C.C.M.Warren, B.A.Hons (Biochemistry, Oxford), M.A.(Oxford), Cert.Business Computing (BTT), Cert.Systems Analysis & Design (NCC)
621 81 Visby