Despite being submitted for the Cavling Prize – the most prestigious Danish journalist award – my father Tommy chose to go his own way to be in the front line for free journalism and truthseaking. He fought as far back as I can remember and until the very end to make the hidden, distorted and deceptive visible, truthful and freely accessible to people aound the world. I am overwhelmed by the enormous number of posts on his Facebook concerning his death Saturday, and it really opens my eyes to how important his work has been and how many people he has touched. In spite of the fact that we lost contact years back and that our relationship was never unproblematic, I am so incredibly proud of him, his work, his knowledge.
Knowledge he shared with me from early childhood. Knowledge I could not understand fully at the time but now am able to reflect back on and use going forward. I am so grateful that he never held back on his understanding of the truth and that he did not take my age into account in that regard. In recent years, he has had success with his project Free21; a global outlet for journalistic material, which he founded in collaboration with journalist Paul Taylor among others, who previously worked at the CNN, BBC and Sky News. I am deeply impressed with the results my dad has achieved, but above all with his perseverance in the face of alienation from his colleagues. And I‘m thrilled to see his mission flourish and evolve around his new project. Most importantly – to me at least – he gave me countless invaluable life lessons. A great man is lost, but his work lives on. I am now an honorary member of Free21‘s Danish Association.
It is an honor and I know he is as proud as I am. He will be missed by thousands and I will miss him a thousand times.
May he rest in peace
Tommys daughter Iben, on Facebook, 24.8.2018
You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
you can remember him only that he’s gone
or you can cherish him memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty
and turn your back or you can do what he’s want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on….
Tommy, we’ll miss you…
Torben Lautberg at Facebook, 24.8.2018
MY FRIEND TOMMY HANSEN
Tommy was my friend. I had the immense pleasure of having him several times as a guest here in our home in Southern Spain. The sight of his old custom-built, non-stoppable RV coming up our dusty gravel road was always a great joy.
Last time I met him was in Denmark. It soon became clear to me that he was seriously ill, and even though he tried to hide it, it was obvious that he at times was in great pain. Still, he kept an incredible focus and ambition to get as much truth and information shared to as many as possible.
And when, I got the message saying that he was actually dying. It felt like someone had placed a ton of bricks on my heart and shoulders, and I sent the following words to his beautiful friend Lya:
“Please tell my dear friend Tommy that he is LOVED and so RESPECTED for how he has lived his life and what he has chosen to focus on. It has made a major impact on millions of people’s lives. I knew from the first second I heard his voice that he was a Man of real values, courage and incredible stamina. I said yes to Open Mind that year, to a large extend just to meet him. It has been such an HONOR and such a PLEASURE to spend time with him, to learn and get inspired by him, and I will ALWAYS keep him and our joint memories cherished in my heart.”
I will truly miss him.
Yes, Tommy was an excellent man. He was very active for peace and justice. We met several times in Switzerland and Germany and immediately knew that we were working for the same goals on a global scale. On the one hand I am very sad that he passed away..We all miss him, don’t we? On the other hand I am very happy for him because he lived up to his highest values. Central values of Tommy were truth, love and courage. These are my values as well. And many in the peace movement today share exactly these values. I personally think that the highest thing you can reach as a human being is to live up to your own values as good as you can between birth and death. To me that is real success. Not money or fame. But to live up to your values, even when you are under pressure to abandon them. And of course Tommy, like myself, were often under pressure. We talked about that pressure sometimes. But that is how it is, if you live up to your values you will be tested. It is easy to say „I want to be courageous“ when there are no problems. But to stand up and say: „We need a new investigation of 9/11 because the Bush administration has not told us the truth“ – while you are a minority and many people call you a conspiracy theorist or worse – that takes courage. And that’s the spirit the peace movement needs in the 21st century. We don’t want illegal wars and war propaganda. We have had enough of that. Thank you Tommy for having lived so close to the wonderful values truth, love and courage. Because they show the road towards peace.
A TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF TOMMY HANSEN
Tommy Hansen could not lie. This is a serious handicap for a Danish journalist.
Even worse, any expectations a budding journalist might have of a job and steady income depend on his or her ability to say what is requested of them. And that is not always the truth.
For this reason, the honest journalists who dare to speak the truth are not generally known in the public domain, dominated by the mainstream newspapers and public service broadcasters. One such journalist was Tommy Hansen, who recently died at the relatively young age of 61 years.
His career got off to a promising start when Tommy was considered for the Cavling-prize – the most prestigious Danish award in journalism – in 1983, while he was working for an influential regional newspaper.
But in the years following the terror attacks in USA on 11 September 2001, Tommy sensed that something was terribly wrong with the official narrative of that event. As many others have also experienced, 9/11 served as the gateway to a broader understanding of the origin of wars and deceit on a global scale.
Tommy started to write about things others dared not write about. Compliance was not Tommy’s style. So he became a heretic in the Danish press and had to make do with a very modest outcome from local business advertising in rural Denmark.
He started an internet medium called pdfnet.dk, where the articles could be downloaded freely in the new PDF format.
In 2008 he wrote a short book in Danish called, ‘September 11 – still waiting for an answer!’. It was an easy read for everyone. The printed version could be purchased on his website or downloaded free of charge as a PDF file. This book has had a great impact in the fight to enlighten Danes about one of the greatest deceptions of our generation. A copy of this book was personally sent to every member of the Danish parliament. Tommy received not a single response.
Four years ago, Tommy had grown weary of the opportunistic mentality of his fellow countrymen. He moved to Berlin with a vision. How he supported himself during these years is not clear, but he lived with very modest means. This was a challenge to his health and not sustainable in the long haul. But against all odds he launched a ship. A great, beautiful ship on its way out onto the European media sea.
Tommy originally trained as a typographer, Gutenberg style. He loved the printed word. Reading on paper is different from looking at a screen. Throwing yesterday’s paper in the waste basket is different from switching off your smartphone.
The ship was christened Free21. It is a brilliant fusion of the printed publication and the potential of the Internet. The PDF format is key, since it allows the reader to get high-quality journalism out of his/her printer, provided that some skilled journalist and layout person have taken the effort to do the research and produce the printable article.
To transform a vision into reality on the European media scene is different from banging on closed doors in the nation’s editorial offices. Did Tommy find any resonance? Yes, indeed. Many shared his vision.
It was always stimulating to talk to Tommy, on his occasional return visits. He told us about a decency, a consciousness and an activism in Europe. These qualities are not abundant on the Danish media scene.
Even though he still lived at a subsistence level, his optimism and enthusiasm never failed. Put simply, your spirits were lifted and your batteries recharged after spending time with Tommy and hearing his tales about the good people down south.
Tommy Hansen was the seed, the catalyst, that initiated formation of the international team now operating under the Free21 banner. Everyone is a volunteer. These are people who mean business. They are doing what they believe in, and believe in what they are doing.
Free21 operates in seven languages. Tommy realised his vision of establishing an Internet-based, independent medium, which is also available in hard copy in a neat layout.
Tommy spent his final months ensuring that Free21 can continue on without him.
Now his candle has gone out.
But the torch Tommy has lit will be carried forward.
He has our heartfelt gratitude.
Dragør, Denmark, September 19th, 2018