Written By Dare Lasisi, London
The sudden death of a frontline Swedish journalist and human rights activist, Stieg Larsson on that fateful day of 9 November 2004 in Stockholm at the age of 50 of a heart attack after climbing seven flights of stairs to his office because the lift was not working is still a rude shock not only to his friends and foes alike but to his dedicated and loyal partner of 32 years,Eva Gabrielsson.
There were rumours that Stieg's death was in some way induced, because of several death threats received as editor of Expo, but these have been denied by Eva Gedin, his Swedish publisher. Larsson lived and worked much of his life in Stockholm, in the field of journalism and as an independent researcher of right-wing extremism.
As a coincidence, Stieg’s mother, Vivianne Boström also died of a heart attack at 56 in 1991.
Stieg Larsson was a frontline Swedish journalist and writer. He is best known for writing the "Millennium series" of crime novels, which were published posthumously. He was born in 1954 in Skelleftehamn near the northern Swedish city of Skellefteå, where his father and maternal grandfather worked in the Rönnskärsverken smelting plant. Owing to his suffering from arsenic poisoning, his father had to leave his job. The family subsequently moved to Stockholm, but, because of their cramped living conditions there, they chose to let their one-year-old son remain behind with his grandparents. He lived with his grandparents until the age of nine near the village of Bjursele in Norsjö Municipality, Västerbotten County.
Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy is increasingly recognized as the dominant global publishing phenomenon of the current era, with total book sales exceeding 45 million copies by the end of 2010 and still going strong. Over 15 million copies have been sold in the US, or roughly the equivalent of recent works by John Grisham, Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer, and Stephen King combined.
Eva,Stieg's partner,an architect, expressed her deep-cut pains and disappointment in this book on how she suffered many untold hardship after the death of her partner. She was not legally married according to Swedish laws to Stieg and so difficult to really benefit from the proceeds of Stieg's books which recently sold more than 45 million copies globally, the best-selling books are now translated into many languages. Sadly, Stieg and Eva never married because,under Swedish law, couples entering into marriage are required to make their addresses (at the time) publicly available; marrying would have been a security risk. Owing to his reporting on extremist groups and racist organisations and the death threats he had received, the couple had sought and been granted masking of their addresses, personal data and identity numbers from public records, to make it harder for others to trace them; this kind of "identity cover" was integral to his work as a journalist and would have been difficult to bypass if the two had married or become registered partners. She graphically narrated how she met Stieg in this book. Eva even claimed she inspired Stieg to venture into journalism by introducing him to her father who was a popular newspaper reporter at that time. They shared the same dreams of liberation of the oppressed people from every corner of the globe and their chronic addiction to coffee was legendary.
Eva clearly explained in her book that Sweden is often regarded all over the world as a model example of a civilised nation that protects the rights of all the citizens but Stieg's personal experiences as a journalist proved otherwise. "It is strange that Sweden always seems like a role model to many other nations when here we have the same problems found everywhere."She also stated that all the events in Stieg's books are real events but with a blend of fiction for security reasons.
As an adventurous person, Stieg travelled to Eritrea/Ethiopia in 1977 at the age of 22, it was like a farewell party between him and Eva. Stieg contracted kidney disease and almost died during his sickness in Africa. Stieg predicted his death in the love letter he wrote to Eva before his secret trip to Africa. He wrote :"There are things I want you to know. As I leave for Africa. I'm aware of what is waiting for me. I even have the feeling that this trip could bring about my death, but it is something I have to experience, in spite of everything. I was not born to sit in an armchair. I am not like that.I am not going to Africa as a journalist. I am going on a political mission, and that is why I think this mission might lead to my death."
Eva explained the gory scene of a defenceless girl raped by some men in Sweden which really inspired Stieg to champion women rights in Sweden and elsewhere. Stieg could not do anything to rescue this unlucky girl from these human beasts. He regretted for life his action. Few days later, he saw the girl in a super market and Stieg tried to apologise for his action but the girl wrongly assumed that Stieg was also a member of the gang. This experience haunted Stieg for many years and he decided to for ever defend women rights for the rest of his life.
Although Stieg died intestate but an un-witnessed will was discovered by Eva where Stieg clearly stated that all his possessions, personal writings and anything to do with politics must be handed over to her but the document was not approved by Erland (Stieg's father) and Joakim(his brother) and they continue to claim that Eva was never officially married to Stieg despite living together with him for close to 30 years! Stieg's apartment which was shared with Eva was later decided by Stieg's father that Eva could only shared half of the apartment and Eva must be restricted from using thw whole building!
To the surprise of many people,Stieg's father (Erland) and his estranged brother, Joakin who have never associated openly with Stieg when he was alive and when he was under constant threats of Swedish far right activists are now enjoying the proceeds of Stieg's books. Stieg Larsson was buried at the Högalid church cemetery in the district of Södermalm in Stockholm and unfortunately his father and mother are yet to visit Stieg's grave.
For close to 8 years,Eva has been fighting through legal means in Sweden to have total control of the intellectual property of his life partner but all avenues to were blocked by Stieg's father and brother. Few years ago, Joakim even suggested to Eva to marry Erland in order to benefit from the majority of the proceeds from Stieg's books. Eva considered this advice as very insultive and un-acceptable to the memory of Stieg. Erland and Joakin mounted pressure on Eva to release Stieg's laptop into order to give to the publisher but Eva refused to hand over the laptop based on her past experiences with the Larssons.
The Larssons later re-signed fresh agreement with Stieg's publishers without Eva's consent and gave out filming rights to some companies without following the 'due process'.Eva in this book stated that Stieg would never have appointed his father and brother to determine his legacy since they distanced themselves from him when he was alive with all his struggles. She promised never to give up in this battle as the only way to make Stieg's soul to rest in perfect peace.
The fourth volume of the Millennium books is still saved inside the laptop of Stieg and Eva promised to complete the story and publish it soon since she had already discussed the plots of the novel with Stieg before his sudden death.
When Eva could not hide his hatred and anger for the Larssons and all the enemies of Stieg, she composed a 'nid' which is a traditional curse in Swedish mythology. It is a kind of a taunting curse hurled at enemies.Eva set the date for 31 December 2004 to shower 'heavy curses' on the heads of all the known and unknown enemies of Stieg Larssons. All the people that are feeding fat on Stieg's hard labour and intellectual property without allowing her,his life partner to benefit as expected. She carried out the ritual with her sister, Britt on one late evening at the bank of a river in west of Sodermalm in Sweden. She bought a bottle of wine and a leg of a lamb.She already planned to sacrifice a horse but opted for the leg of the lamb at the last minute. She then recited the 'incantations' with anger to afflict Stieg's enemies:
"I am reading a nid for Stieg. I am reading a nid for you who were against him. You took his time, his knowledge and his friendship. Giving Nothing in return. Friends are duty-bound to be loyal lifelong to their friends and to render gift for gift. Friends reply to the mockery of others And to lies for lies. But no one must befriend a friend's enemy. You the sly, the cowardly, who let Stieg work himself to pieces.For your own benefit and your own career alone. You above all N.N.All sorts of you, in suits and wingtips, this nid is for you. That Freyr and Freyja-fertility, fruitfulness, and love and light-bearing Baldr strip away your joy in life. Turning bread, beer and desire into stones, muddy water,and dejection. That Lord Odin and three Fates, Urd, Skuld,Verandi strike you with confusion.Sinking your career with ill-gotten gains."
As the 'back and forth' legal tussle between the Larssons and Eva Gabrielsson are still raging in Sweden,all lovers of freedom, justice and equality all over the world believe Eva shall one day enjoy the proceeds of his partner's works without any further restrictions. Fiat Justitia, pereat mundus. Let justice be done,though all the world perish.
The three Stieg Larsson's bestselling books; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,The girl who kicked the hornet's nest and The girl who played with fire are still selling like 'hot cakes' in most bookshops in both Europe and America and Eva is planning to publish the fourth volume of the millennium saga in the nearest future.The manuscripts are still saved inside the last laptop used by Stieg before his sudden death in 2004.