Monday, April 10, 2017

Moving On

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. 

Bildresultat för Stockholm manifestation

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). 

Flag at half mast at the official ceremony at Stockholm City Hall with one minute of silence at noon to remember the victims of Friday"s terror attack on Drottninggatan

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.

Bildresultat för Stockholm silent minute 

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:

 Bildresultat för polisbil blommor 

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.



  1. The reaction of the Swedish people to this event was an inspiration to all people around the world. I can not think of any other country where people would open their homes to total strangers after such an horrific attack. Or give strangers a ride in their car. After all, the danger was still present and the terrorist could have had accomplices. Thank you for reminding us of the ways that real people combat fear-mongering. Holding on to strong values and demonstrating peaceful solutions to public horror is a powerful way to fight terrorism. Thank you for reminding us what true courage looks like.

    1. Louise, I'm impressed too, by those taking those initiatives. I think (from what I've heard people say on TV) that one source of inspiration was similar reactions happening after the attacks in Paris back in 2015 though.

  2. This doesn't surprise me at all.Sweden has always been so peaceful and loving. Always neutral, who would have anything against your country? It is a senseless act of violence upon an uninvolved country. I guess every and anyone is fair game to this evil.

    1. Ginny, although a man has been arrested and they know he was the driver, and it's been classified as a terrorist crime, it's still unclear whether he was acting alone or not. Probably best not to jump to conclusions but hope for further police investigations to bring clarity.

  3. Like Louise said in her comment, I don't think people would have spontaneously opened their homes to strangers elsewhere. I don't know whether anything like it happened after the terrorist attack at the Christmas market in Berlin last December, but somehow I can not imagine such an act of fearless generosity extending to more than a handful of people here.
    Thank you for this post.

    1. Meike - see my reply to Louise. I do hope the peaceful manifestations will stay in people's minds as well as the tragedy itself though, and help us all deal with things in a better way than just throwing accusations around (blaming immigrants, religion, the government or whatever).

  4. Our world is in chaos for sure, and it was a shock to see this in your country. Even knows no boundaries. great job they did helping each other out in crisis. I have seen that here to, on the TV where people are helping others during times of chaos.. but I have never seen flowers on a police car

    1. Sandra, I've never seen police cars covered with flowers before either. Actually, the amount of flowers that filled the city centre that weekend after was absolutely overwhelming. I can't recall ever seeing so many bouquets of flowers together in any context anywhere. (And yet I only saw it on TV.) They must have emptied every florists' shop in Stockholm!


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