Eugenics in the 21st Century

I was navigating the controlled chaos of Denmark’s Legoland together with my children and mother when the shocking news of a brutal mass killing in Japan reached me:

A 26-year old man had broken into a care home for disabled people where he had previously worked and killed nineteen of its residents with a knife.

He was reportedly driven by an intense hatred of people with disabilities and had even proposed in a letter to the Japanese parliament that disabled people should be euthanised for the good of society. Continue reading

And What Do You Do?

“And what do you do?”

Standing in a friend’s garden with a glass of prosecco in my hand and accompanied by my rather more talkative husband, I was engaging in polite small talk with a fellow guest and the question was directed at me.

What do I do?

“I used to be an academic,” I began haltingly, “but now I’m a reader for a Swedish publishing house.”teacher-492674_640

Damn it, I thought to myself. Why is it so hard to be upfront about that which truly matters to me? Continue reading

I Believe

I believe we are all born whole, and that no life is less worthy than another.
I believe that what makes us fully human is that intangible, mysterious essence within us and it has nothing to do with physical or intellectual ability, the number of chromosomes we carry, how we look, what we produce or achieve in the course of our lives.
I worry about a future where scientific ‘progress’ means that no babies are born that don’t conform to societal standards of what is normal.
I am fearful of a world in which all Down’s syndrome babies are aborted and parents encouraged to try again – as suggested by Richard Dawkins not so long ago.
For such a world would be not only poorer in diversity but also more intolerant, cruel and divisive.
That’s not a world I want to live in, nor would I ever wish for such a world for my children, grandchildren and future descendants.
I believe that just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is ugliness and the perception of what is normal.
It’s all a matter of perception and perceptions can, and do, change.
What’s ugly to you is beautiful to someone else; what’s strange, freakish and hideous to one is perfectly normal to another.
Ultimately, we all have a choice in how we look at things. If you look for ugly, that’s what you’ll find.
If you look for beauty, you will find beauty in places, beings and things you never imagined.


airplane-744865_640I was 19 years old and had just finished high school when I flew to Chicago to take up a scholarship at a small liberal arts college in the American mid-west.

My decision to leave Sweden for the United States was at least partially influenced by an unspoken but desperate need to get away from a place that was intimately associated with an often-painful childhood and to start afresh somewhere new. Continue reading