Saturday, November 17, 2012

Trentemøller: Miss You + marstal:lidell: I Mit Hjerte Er En Rytme (Posted in Honor of Jonas Thomsen Sekyere)

I've been a Southern California resident for a long time, but being a native Dane I naturally like to keep up with Danish news on a daily basis via the Internet.  Today I was deeply affected when I learned that 21-year-old Jonas Thomsen Sekyere had died at the trauma center at Copenhagen's main hospital on Saturday morning at 6:13 am local time [Friday 9:13 pm California time], less than two hours after he was stabbed in the chest inside a popular Vesterbro borough nightclub.  His killer is still at large.

I didn't know Jonas personally, but upon seeing his photo online I immediately recalled his moving article published last year in Denmark's largest daily paper Politiken, a piece which earned him much praise and respect.  It was a humble thank-you to the system that took him under its wing and gave him a chance that he might otherwise not have had.

The son of a Ghanaian father and a Danish mother, Jonas was born in Denmark, was raised first by his mother in Copenhagen, then by foster parents in Vordingborg from the age of ten through eighteen, excelled in school, was in law school at the University of Copenhagen at the time of his death, volunteered at an orphanage in Ghana in the summer, wrote freelance articles and opinion pieces, and founded several Danish info websites for students.

Clearly an unusually accomplished and intelligent young man, he was also blessed with great physical beauty.  However, what ultimately struck me the most as I watched him speak was his passion for life, excitement about the future, and his utter lack of arrogance or cynicism. 

I am posting this blog entry to honor Jonas who will be remembered long after the coward who snuffed out his brief but extraordinary life.

NOTE 1:  On Saturday I watched a series of webisodes that Jonas shot for the University of Copenhagen about his life as a student over the course of five months in late 2010-early 2011.  The videos were removed from the web on Monday out of consideration for his family and friends.

NOTE 2: A kind person has set up a Facebook page in memory of Jonas.

NOTE 3: Non-Danish speakers who wish to read Jonas' opinion piece published in Politiken last year can click the "Translate" button in the top right corner of the page of the site (computer generated translations unfortunately contain several errors, but are better than nothing.)

Danish multi-instrumentalist/producer/DJ Anders Trentemøller's 'Miss You' never fails to move me; it seems a fitting track to post, and goes out to everyone, but especially to Jonas' family and friends in Denmark as well as outside Denmark.


Denmark's Television have produced an excellent half-hour documentary on Jonas' life and legacy, entitled 'Hvorfor Lige Jonas?' [translation: Why Jonas?] which, due to extensive use of private video footage, I am certain will move anyone watching it, even those who do not understand Danish.!/

The second video is a tribute song to Jonas by Danish duo marstal:lidell: Henrik Marstal and Anne Liddell; the latter was a friend of Jonas; they lived at the same Copenhagen dormitory, Regensen. The title translates to "In My Heart Is a Rhythm/Beat."

A PERSONAL NOTE: on my annual summer visit to my original hometown of Copenhagen in July of 2013 I visited Jonas' grave and left a single black velvet like flower from my parents' garden. My cousin who lives a stone's throw from the Assistens cemetery accompanied me and we spoke of Jonas and spent some time looking at the photos, poems, flowers and other gifts left by family, friends and people like myself who did not personally know this remarkable young man, but wanted to pay tribute to him.

Below is the link to an article in the (Copenhagen) University Post