Apr 9, 2017

Sweden in chock and love

At around 8.30 PM I called Trouble 2. And started to cry as soon as I heard his voice. To my surprise. I didn’t know I was in that much need.

I was listening to my Friday Fun radio show Spanarna when suddenly the broadcast was interrupted by the news. A truck hade been driving into one of the main stores on one of the main streets in Stockholm on a Friday afternoon. That I actually knew from a telegram on the news right before Spanarna, but now I was informed it’s been driving Drottninggatan at a high speed and crashed into Åhléns main entrance, hitting people on it’s way. 

In the future, having the question “Do you remember where you were at when you got to know about the April 7 2017 terror attack in Sweden?” I will answer I was lying on my couch and Spanarna didn’t come back on air. Looking at my radio waiting for it to happen. One of those historical moments when time get’s interrupted and you sort of want to stay on the right side of that timeline. Grasping for it. Your mind kind of like a lagging motion picture.

A few hours earlier I had turned acute after a couple of weeks without sharp pain and serious shootings in my body. That didn’t help.

Neither did it help that Donald Trump decided to take action in Syria during Thursday night.

My afternoon and evening was spent in front of the TV. Zapping between SVT Swedish National Television and CNN. A little bit taken by the excellent and lengthy CNN reporting about the situation in Stockholm. Feeling cared about from over seas in the midst of their own political chaos. And holding hands with SVT:s calm voices, the Swedish natural level of emotion, even at a for the nation chocking moment like this.

Hours went by. Same pictures over and over again. People fleeing in panic. Same eyewitnesses. Same reporters running around chasing comments. The king and queen interrupting their trip to Brazil flying back.

There were the stories about many people lying dead and injured on the ground. Blod. Chaos. But no pictures. SVT, the responsible outlet sparing Sweden from what we don’t really need to see. And not putting dependents in the horrible situation recognizing a red coat or a hockey scarf on the ground.

Meanwhile, the news from Pentagon says there were Russians at the Syrian airbase attacked by 59 AmericanTomahawk missiles. So, Donald Trump, who even on the Wednesday condemning of the Syrian chemical attack left out mentioning Putin or Russia (although his ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley did, clearly, the same day) happened to launch missiles landing among Russians. This while FBI, the Senate and the Congress independently are investigating Russian links to the Trump campaign.

What a twist. I would say if this was a TV series. But it isn’t. This is for real. And inside me the little girl who grew up at the Botnian Bay coast during the cold war, the Cuba Crises and Bay of Pigs, awakens. The little Swedish girl squeezed in-between Nato and the Soviet Union. That girl is scared.

April 7 2017 was a dark and ugly day. In the evening this vague feeling of the need for family. Being by yourself on such a day is not a good thing. That’s when I called Trouble 2. And the tears suddenly did break through. I didn’t want to burden my son though, and luckily my friend Eva wasn’t busy. We watched the news and the developing for two hours together talking on the phone. Actually we didn’t say much. But we shared the evening and the moment. It felt good. It was a good thing.

Sweden is now among the world statistics for terror attacks performed like many others in Europe. Four people are dead and 10 wounded still hospitalized in different conditions, several severe. Of those who lost their lives one was a Britt, one from Belgium and two Swedes. An 11-year old girl never made it home from school on Friday afternoon.

We have seen them all over the world through the years, the walls of flowers on the scene for a insane terror tragedy. This weekend the people of Stockholm are building one of those walls. As well as building resistance. And opening up their hearts.

When the subway was shut down on Friday men and women gave strangers in need a ride. While people wasn’t able to get out of downtown, others opened up their homes offering shelter and food. Preschools prolonged their hours for the children who’s parents weren’t able to pick them up. And the police are love bombed with flowers and hugs for their compassionate work during this tragic event. Today tens of thousands gathered at Sergels Torg, the square right at the scene of the attack. Linking their arms together during a minute of silence. In tears and dignity listening to words and music of love, hope and comfort. Sharing the moment.

It was only a matter of time. Already in 2010 a failed attack occurred. And this might sound strange, but in a way the Friday terror attack in Stockholm is making us a part of something bigger. Sweden is no longer spared from the the horror and grief we have witnessed among our neighbors. Our innocence, in this sense, was Friday afternoon stolen from us, like so many other have been robbed. We are now sisters and brothers with our European friends Norway, Denmark, England, France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and Russia. We share the experience. And might that be a good thing?

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