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 Rigshospitalet [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 city borough nightclub.  His killer is still at large. [see August 2016 update at the end of this post.]

I did not 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 the city of Vordingborg [60 miles south of Copenhagen] from the age of ten through eighteen. He excelled in school, was in law school at the University of Copenhagen at the time of his death, spent summers volunteering at an orphanage in Ghana, wrote freelance articles and opinion pieces, and founded several Danish info websites for students.

Clearly a highly accomplished and intelligent young man, he was also blessed with extraordinary physical beauty. However, what ultimately struck me more than anything 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.

Non-Danish speakers who wish to read Jonas' opinion piece published in Politiken July 2, 2011 will find Google Translate useful. (computer generated translations unfortunately often contain numerous errors, but are better than nothing.)

Video 1:
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.

Video 2:
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, July 2013:
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: