Sarah Dawn Finer singing "Moving On". One of many videos available on YouTube from a manifestation for love and solidarity held in Stockholm on Sunday afternoon (9th April); two days after the terror attack on Friday (7th April), in which four people lost their lives, and many more were injured.
The manifestation was a private initiative by Stockholmers, but also broadcasted live on national TV, with local politicians participating along with several artists - and many thousands of people joining. A silent minute was also held at 14:53 (exactly 48 hours after the attack).
A minute's silence was also observed throughout the country today at noon (Monday 10th April), in connection with an official ceremony in Stockholm including among others the royal family, the prime minister and other official representatives; and especially honouring the police, medical staff and others who did a fantastic job in the midst of crisis.
I'm compiling this post because some of my friends abroad have asked me about the reactions in Sweden after the attack.
My answer is that naturally these have been traumatic days for the whole nation; with newscasts in all the media around the clock, and initially of course just utter chaos. And who can yet foretell all the consequences! But what happened almost immediately, and perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, was that the citizens of Stockholm very quickly rose up to a spontaneous counter-reaction to the meaningless violence, by helping each other out in any way they could think of. Social media were used for good more than for spreading fear. When all public transport was closed down immediately after the attack, a hashtag "openstockholm" was set up and lots of people opened up their homes and offered food or a place to stay or lifts etc to people - including complete strangers - who found themselves stranded in the city and couldn't get home. The reaction with most people really seemed to be: No way are we going to let fear of terrorism take over our city and nation and limit our freedom!
And so, already the next day, people also returned into the city (as close as they could get, with the immediate area of the attack still blocked off for police investigations) - to fill it with flowers and candles and flags and whatever.
Even the police cars were "love-bombed" with flowers:
Although there have also been attempts at spreading fake news over the internet etc, my main impression so far is that Sweden in general, and Stockholm especially, has reacted to the terror attack with professionalism, determination, dignity, generosity and solidarity. May that also be what stays with us.
And blessings to all those who took initiatives to spread love and hope rather than fear and hatred in this most difficult situation.
All photos in this post were borrowed from various news sites on the Internet, via Google.