Saturday, September 01, 2012

My Rock Tribute To Meredith And Her Family And How It Came To Be

Posted by Timo Rusanen

Meredith’s message seems to me one of universal love, of getting along to help to make the whole planet better. As with others I know of mixed race, she seems to have been extremely smart, very ambitious in a broad selfless sense, upbeat and positive and funny, and I would imagine a very fair and loyal person to get to know. It seems to me she was a popular and charismatic leader, without ever really trying.

What is so interesting to me is that her life and adventurous and positive attitude are becoming something of a universal beam of hope. See the female voice that comes through in the book “Meredith” that Mr. Kercher wrote. Her life and intentions have become something of a universal good example and should become more-so as the years move on.  Maybe there will be more movies and books and poems and songs inspired by her, as well as websites like this which for the support of victims and their families and friends are so badly needed now.

I hope that no-one has been made scared now to go abroad or mix with others for any reason if they do want to go. Meredith followed her life adventure and loved travel and mingling with people not necessarily like herself, and so should we all.

I have sung and played rock music since my teens. I started playing the guitar and began to sing at an early age. I once had a high school rock band in the United States when I was a student there. I now have a band in Europe here and we continue to cut records.

I have lived outside Finland for most of my life. It turned out that I have something of a gift for languages and speak a few very well. My is in English philology, literature and philosophy, and I also did American studies while living in Berlin, at the John F. Kennedy Institute of the Free University of Berlin.

I have lived in the United States which I love. I was at high-school near Cincinatti there. I found New York City is great fun and has a certain kind of European feel to it. Los Angeles has another feel to it, more like the wild wide America of the west, yet at the same time it is on the Pacific coast where you can feel closer to Hawaii and Japan. Many Mexicans are there too. Hola, que pasa?! Funny people, Mexicans, I found them nice. People seemed mostly friendly in Los Angeles and the House of Blues is a great venue for rock music, I saw a great concert there.

My so-called American parents are not living anymore but I was close to them and I communicated with them until shortly before they sadly passed away, within some 4 years of each other. My own mother also passed away just before that, and two other relatives also passed away then. We had 3 funerals in 4 months at the time when my mother died, so I know about sadness and loss.

While I was there at school a friend of mine was shot to death by his so-called friends. Shot as if it was a sort of pass-time, just fun because they had the gun. I went to the funeral, and it was surreal and sad beyond words. There he was in the open coffin and we his school-friends were there grieving, trying to understand. Meredith’s funeral must have been extremely sad as well. Nothing is sadder than the funeral of a very promising young person who died an unnatural death.

I have lived in Germany. If you want to take care of some work matter fast, do it with Germans. But don’t work with them for a longer time, you may never understand German logic! Overall Germans are almost surprisingly polite and nice. Hard working people. They achieve a great deal.

I was also in England. London is a great dream-like city of the world. Meredith got to know it very well well herself, not only growing up there but in her tourist-guide job in the historical parts of the city. If you go to London you can encounter smart funny people not unlike her.

I was also in France. The French are great people and very nice. They certainly know fashion and fragrances. Life seems to be lighter in France. The French seem to float upon life, it’s like there’s only one life so c’est la vie! The French smile a lot. They seem very aware of little things too, like how to make even their mundane experiences interesting or nice. The Parisian arrogance seems to make Paris what it is and some people seem to belong totally to Paris, it is hard to imagine them somewhere else. If you meet French people in their homes, they really make you feel at home.

Have you ever seen Paris from the Eiffel Tower at night in the summer in warm weather? The lights of the city from there? Try it, its awesome! It’s almost an aeroplane-like view. Paris has an ancient Europe touch to it, there are some ultra modern things and yet at the same time you can feel something from the Middle Ages in parts of Paris.

Also I was in Sweden. I used to know many Swedish-speaking people so I know Swedish rather well. I have worked in Stockholm for a while years ago and played some music there. Swedes are nice people for sure.

I was also in Italy. I would love to see Rome again. Everyone I know loves Italy and Rome. Years ago I went to Rome, Milan, Venice, Naples, and the deep south of Italy too. I met Italians who invited me into their home to eat spaghetti and it was noisy and fun. I have never yet been to Perugia though. To me Italy is mystical and even mythical. There was an Italian TV series called “Il segno del comando” a long time ago playing in Europe. I watched it and it made Italy seem very exciting. Someone ought to make a great movie on the basis of that TV series. I can see why Meredith loved Italy. The Italian way of life is really cool and nice.

I was in Somalia in north Africa on and off for a long time. My parents worked in Somalia for 10 years. Somalia had been a colony of Italy, so I met some Italians there while I was visiting. Also some Italian girls with their families there, they were great fun and very pretty. Some Somalis know the Italian language. The war in Somalia ended all development work there. Canadians, Belgians, Dutch, English, Americans, etc, were all working there, as well as Scandinavians. Sadly, they all went away when the war began.

I helped my father to build a school for crippled children with some Canadians in Mogadishu which is the capital of Somalia, People were doing great work there and were disappointed, the Scandinavians especially disappointed, when the war ended those good projects. I played a gig there with Somali African musicians outside a city in a desert bush area. The dance-hall was like from some movie.  There were ostriches running around there by the hall, long white curtains in the wind by high open windows and doors in that clean nice dance hall. Hundreds of people were there. One of the nicest gigs I ever played.

Meredith could well have worked in Somalia later in some task, supposing the war ever ends some day.Had Meredith lived, she could have helped a lot organize the recovery. The Italian language is still needed in Somalia a bit in that work, and her education might have been suited in general for some vital task there in development work.

I met people from India and Pakistan though I have not yet traveled there. They have a lot to teach us over-busy Europeans and Americans. Indian and Pakistani people have ancient wisdom and cultures and despite appearances from affair they are naturally peaceful people. If you meet them in Europe, they stand out for their calm. Indian and Pakistani women are among the most beautiful women in the world, their women do tend to be. Meredith was said to be very eye-catching in a way that her photos dont quite convey.

I found it very fulfilling making this track above. I cant do too much to make it all come right, but I can do this. I think about making more records, it’s easy to plan but to make a record is hard, another thing. I am not looking for a recording deal due to my other career, but if a record label VIP liked my stuff, my songs in general and the Meredith songs, I would of course not say no. This song was made in the studio of Gerald Klöpfer. He owns his own coolly-decorated recording studio. If I get the chance to travel to his studio again and if Gerald has the time, I would go back there and work more. Gerald is pretty good in his craft.

I have always been strongly averse to violence, by anyone against anyone for any reason. I will go to the refresher course of the army in Scandinavia if they call me, as the army is about protection and existing as a frontline unit of a society, not about violence as such. But think of this: Suppose there was a war, any war in any country, and nobody went to fight in such a war. No armies would be needed anymore. Violence is not good for anything.

A long time ago in Scandinavia some guys in a certain city tried to beat up myself and my band members using baseball bats. Police had to line-up as a sort of passage-way for us to get out of the dance-hall after the gig and into a car. It remains unclear why that happened. Maybe there was some kind of jealousy about our band being the ones asked to play.

During my student days in Finland I was attacked in my student dormitory room. Two guys came at me with kitchen knives, after they knocked on my door. I had never seen them before, and they tried to stab me with the kitchen knives. I fought them off. Police could not have done anything, I think, so I did not report it though maybe I should have anyway. The attack was planned by an ex-girlfriend, it seems she and her new boyfriend planned it and sent the guys, organized them, and paid them. The attack was a bit similar to the way that the knife attack on Meredith happened.

I still worry over the ex-girfriend, she actually swore that she will kill me in one way or other. I happen to know this for sure as she told me at the end of our relationship: “You will not live a long time.” She tried to stop my outside activities and slow my whole life, even my music playing. I suspect it all started because the love went bad and she wished she had gone earlier into a relationship with another guy and it seemed to her too late then. I should have ended it before all this happened but I did not get the picture right away.

I love to be with women, they are so cool and wonderful to be with usually, they are simply heavenly to share the world with. It always amazes me that people try to win by hurting each other mentally or physically. It always amazes me how people have to prove themselves and feel better than others due to envy, violence, or mental or physical cruelty. If people have to live together in dormitories, sometimes they will get into arguments about trivial matters and act foolish. The badness of some people always amazes me and upsets me when I think about it.

Marriages fail, friends betray you, your girlfriend betrays you, you might have to end a relationship because it has gone bad, it can not be repaired. People then act hurtfully far too often. But then on some other days you meet good people and that makes you feel quite alright. While Meredit’s death was a shock, I saw right away how such cruel things can happen even between university students in thier home. We do not yet know exactly what happened and I feel sad for her and for her family for still not knowing about it all.

Your friends pull you down, often your friends pull you down. Sometimes strangers too. We shouldn’t let them.  People say we have to help others, we do have to help others, but first and foremost we must take care of ourselves. To make our own journey. Sometimes you also meet people who radiate goodness, there are also good people in the world. Those people can make you feel there is a good purpose. Meredith had a good purpose: universal love and being positive and making a difference in the world. Isn’t that something we are supposed to remember every day in our lives?

Meredit’s message of all of us getting along and working for all is growing now in the world, and hopefully it will go on forever. We should remember her family always. They worked hard to help her become what she was, and we should send them our good thoughts and blessings. Only they know the true pain of it and how much was lost to the world.

Don’t ever forget Meredith or what happened to her here. As her sister Stephanie mentioned, the true victim of the incident has already been forgotten sometimes. Her legacy matters, and here I have tried to play my part.

Posted by Timo Rusanen on 09/01/12 at 08:21 AM in Concerning Meredith

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Here is a passionate rock video to take in, by someone not from the most involved countries. It is by a Finnish-born and much traveled singer, Timo Rusanen, who is now completing a doctoral course on English literature in western Europe.

Not all our contributors take a position on guilt or innocence, some like Timo start and finish by feeling for a grieving family and a much-missed high-achieving girl, and hope to touch the humanity in all of us at the end of the day.

Weeks back, Timo sent along the video link in his first email to us without a word on who he is or how the song came to be, but he became willing to share with our readership why Meredith brushed his life and what his own life experiences have been.

Artist on several planes. Insightful into Meredith, kind to women and to non-Finns! In the crucible too, the competitive rock scene can see such extreme loves and extreme hates among highly creative types. Sing for peace but prepare for war seems to be wise!

It is interesting that Timo is a small-country guy and that he has no problem not living there now. People in small countries often know the most about the outside world because they get out and about more than everybody else. Also they can face big bears of countries who sometimes deliberately or accidentally can do them real harm.

One of the great human development engines is that of simply moving people around. In UN development that was what everybody everywhere always wanted and I spent a small fortune on behalf of the UN simply moving a lot of people from point A to point B. They can soak up so much from others in their same field. Italy was a popular and useful destination.

I have no doubt that Meredith was going to be peripatetic throughout her life. For me, a fellow citizen of the world….

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/01/12 at 04:38 AM | #

Interesting read. Interesting guy. Haven’t listened to the song though as my speakers are out on loan.

Timo’s experiences with the sort of violence that is born of envy, jealousy, the desire to assuage feelings of hurt pride and/or just take it out on the world, echoes to some extent my own, and no doubt many other people’s, experiences. Student dormitories, shared and/or family houses/flats, and pubs are the usual venues.

Posted by James Raper on 09/01/12 at 01:11 PM | #

A very polished performance..the lyrics are stark and honest and a little hard to face..but very timely for me as I am in the middle of John Follain’s new book (so far a great read, balanced, well-edited, very detailed). This tune will stay in my head for a long time.

Posted by 2catsintheyard on 09/02/12 at 02:18 AM | #

Hi James and 2cats:

Reader emails are also commending Timo for the song, for capturing Meredith nicely, and for thinking through and sharing his own brushes with violence and the losses he has had.

We also know from previous emails that not all of our posters and readers are strangers to cruelty and violence and murder. Hopefully posts like this speak to them and hopefully we can have some more.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/03/12 at 03:19 PM | #

@aethelred23, hang in there. Thank you, Timo. This music video is a wonderful tribute to Meredith. Yes, I agree she would be the kind of person to help others all of her life in a nonviolent way. Timo’s similar experience of an unprovoked knife attack by multiple aggressors while in school is uncanny. If the motive was a woman’s jealousy, it parallels with Meredith’s assault (you don’t like me so I’ll hurt you, or get others to. Revenge.)

Be careful of the company you keep.

The issue he sang about that lingered with me the most is Meredith dying alone. I always harbored a dab of hope that Guede might have held her hand or stayed beside her in her dying moment. He mentioned somewhere that she begged him not to leave her. That pitiful cry becomes more poignant with time. I wonder if Amanda and Raf were in the next room, waiting for her to expire.

Timo seems like the peaceful, gentle soul that Meredith was. Be careful, Timo, until you are out of danger with that ex-girlfriend. Watch your back. His experiences and Meredith’s prove you don’t have to do anything in this world but be good and mind your own business to trigger an attack by the envious.

Meredith the beauty queen, and so she was. Thanks for magnifying her in this lovely musical gift, Mr. Rusanem.

Posted by Hopeful on 09/03/12 at 07:41 PM | #

In decluttering a disaster of papers, souvenirs and bedroom bric a brac this morning then reorganizing it, I ran across a poem about Meredith I wrote in March 2011. Timo is welcome to this poem or anyone else who could use it.


You have escaped everything
And left the suffering to your killers.
Good, there is justice in that,
Though you left the world a sadder place
Warmed no more by your smile.

I think of you in music and in snow,
In the red rose blooming beside your cottage.
The place was brimming with love when you lived there,
But now it is desolate and dreaded as a morgue.

Reach out to us Meredith, in all your gentle love,
If you can hear the cry of this wounded heart.
We have all forgotten why we need you so,
But take mercy from your haven of happiness, send us signs.

I know I should be praying for God to do this, not you,
So I revise my prayer to the one who holds your soul.
Reveal something to this sad confusing case.
The murderers would take even your justice if they could
And secure their own pleasures, which cost you everything.

Posted by Hopeful on 09/05/12 at 05:51 PM | #

Not that I´ve finished browsing TJMK for posts I didn´t read during my absence I have noticed that Hopeful encoured me to “hang in there ” in her comment here. Thanks. But I am appalled at the fact that it´s already been a year since Meredith´s murderers were acquitted. How time goes by ! So many things have changed in my life since then but sometimes it seems as if it had happened only yesterday. I´d just finished my degree and was sitting in a university cafe close to the psychiatric clinic where I´d once again ended up a couple of days before. So heavy was I still on the medication that I hated to move or think too much but as I was sipping coffee I still managed to spot a newspaper with a picture of Amanda Knox on the front declaring that she was returning to Seattle. So that must have been October 3, 2011. I found that unusual because our media had scarcely ever commented on this case and this was the first time I sactually saw a German magazine bearing a photo of Knox.Scary to me in many   ways because I´d been thinking a lot about Meredith and also her murderers while I was staying in hospital.  The drugs I´d been given there were very strong so my brain was often foggy and my imagination all became commingled with reality. There was a period when I felt even bad enough to be locked up in isolation fixed to a bed. I know this sounds bad but I can seen how that is necessary so mental patients do not harm themselves . The other patient in the room was a girl who´d tried to commit suicide and her wrists were slashed and bandaged. It was then that I thought about death and Meredith , who was dead :(. I wondered why some people sometimes feel unhappy enough to end their lives deliberately and about Knox and Sollecito , who had taken away a human life and how they could live with themselves. I will never look at death quite the same way again.

Posted by aethelred23 on 10/04/12 at 10:22 PM | #

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