Mono, or glandular fever as it’s known outside of America, is very rarely lethal. That is, assuming you’re not a client of the Swedish foster care system, which Donia Hassan, born in 1997, had been for the last five years – against the will of both herself and her mother.
Her care placement began back in 2007, when her mother, caring for two daughters then aged 10 and 13, had to be hospitalized for a brief period. At that time she willingly let the two siblings be placed in social care since she was unable to deal with parental responsibilities. Yet when she was back on her feet again, she found that the social services was unwilling to return the custody of her children – against their wishes as well – citing a destructive influence on their development she could potentially exert. So in spite of the insistence of all three of them, and their futile efforts to get mass media to cover their plight, the next half a year saw the two daughters being trafficked through the social care system, with severe restrictions put on communication between the three. Not only were the daughters separated from their mother, but they were separated from each others as well, placed in different homes.
In late 2007, mother Annina Karlsson made a run for it and escaped the country together with her older daughter. She attempted to get the younger Donia to come along as well, but the authorities stood in the way. For the next couple of years, Donia was moved from place to place – according to her mother, she was briefly placed with both juvenile delinquents and young drug addicts as well, in spite of being neither – while mother Annina kept trying to contact media and writing about the case on user-managed news portals like sourze.se. For most of this period, Donia was allegedly placed with an elderly single woman who put draconian and archaic restrictions on what the young girl was allowed to do. While most teenagers are allowed free access to social media sites like Facebook, Donia was only granted Internet access once every one or two weeks, and similar restrictions were apparently in effect on her phone calls too.
Video of Donia singing along to a Swedish pop song
Though this is not a very proper time to pitch one’s own products, I still feel I have to point out that this was one of the cases I wrote about in my book The Madhouse, after I had been in contact with mother Annina. Next to it, a number of other tragic foster care placements are also covered, five of which lead to the child committing suicide during or shortly after the placement. For a video presentation I made of these case and some other child welfare matters, go here. At the time of writing that book, I could never have anticipated Donia becoming yet another victim of Swedish child welfare, yet she died from glandular fever some time during the night between Friday and Saturday, her foster mother finding her lifeless in bed this Saturday morning. A healthy 15-year-old child dying from mere kissing disease in a socialist society? Someone call Michael Moore!
In all earnest, the foster mother’s recommendations on how to treat this disease may have contributed to the fatality. This woman required Donia to spend four hours every day exercising, and was very reluctant to let anyone see Donia either – not even friends. And according to mother Annina, the foster mother didn’t like how Donia smelled and had her air her room every day even while gravely ill. Nor did she like her older sister’s smell either and was opposed to her coming over for this reason. During the last couple of weeks, both her mother and her sister have been worried sick, and on the 25th Annina started believing Donia was about to die and urged the authorities to get Donia to a hospital. Yet she remained at the foster home. After much pleading, her sister had managed to get the foster mother to let her come over on Friday, something that was postponed to Monday the 30th – yet by then, Donia would be dead.
In spite of the harsh conditions Donia was living under, the foster mother was apparently not at home much, reportedly spending most of her days tending to her horses and coming home late in the evenings. And though Donia wasn’t allowed very much time on social media, nevertheless she had lots of Facebook friends, mostly friends from school, and at the time of writing she’s received a hundred or so condolences on her Facebook page. A group has also been started in her memory – “In memory of Donia Hassan,” along with an event keeping the memory of Donia and other victims of Swedish child welfare alive. To quote a message one of her friends had left her on her wall:
“Truth be told. I remember when you came to our school during middle school, the guys had seen a class photo of you and were fighting over who would get you. When you came to our school most of the girls approached you to talk to you that day, first I thought you were a bitch or something, the kind of babe who’s good-looking, can get anyone and has lots of attitude.. but I got to know you, and got the impression that you were a remarkably fine girl with an big warm heart. You always wanted everyone well, you were always so nice, and when you arrived in the classroom in the morning you were like the sun shining its rays – your cute smile lit up the whole room. So freaking compassionate and good.”
At the time of writing, a mere three hours after this message was posted, 400 people have ‘liked’ it.
As of now, no autopsy or funeral dates have been announced, and no Swedish media has written about the matter either, though some individuals are calling for raising criminal charges against the foster mother and possibly also the social services for being negligent with her placement. Donia isn’t the first child to die due to abuses occurring in the system – young girls with names such as Felicia Petterson, Sophie Lohede, “Elin” (pseudonym) have done so as well – and I’m afraid she probably won’t be the last either. You can help matters by signing this petition I’ve got up for family rights though, calling for the government to let our children go. Hopefully Donia’s death won’t be in vain.
Born 5 March 1997
Dead 28 April 2012