It’s been a while since I last posted, but there’s been so much going on with my move to Stockholm, attending press week and settling down in my beloved city. This post was going to be about all the good things that have happened during the week I’ve been back home and how happy I am. However, on Friday everything took an, unfortunately not, unexpected turn. On Friday April 7th terrorists attacked the thing I love the most in this world. Stockholm. My city. My home.
When I say it wasn’t unexpected, it most certainly was not. What makes Sweden different from for example France, Great Britain and America however is the fact that we are not actively taking part of any ongoing war. We have a small troop stationed in Northern Iraq, but the reasons for this attack were not related to that. The reasons behind this attack were purely based on hatred. A hatred hard to comprehend, but so tangible when it happens in your own backyard.
For someone who loves life, people and this city in particular, it is hard comprehend what can make someone drive a van into a large gathering of people. Thankfully this attack “only” resulted in 4 casualties so far. The numbers are irrelevant. That is 4 people too many. I’ve seen this so many times before. I remember the attacks in Madrid and in the London Underground, not to mention 9/11. I’ve been glued to the TV so many times along the years and my heart has been aching every time. What I haven’t seen is this happening in my beloved Stockholm. Now I’ve witnessed tens of thousands of people walking home from an attacked city. I also have never felt so much love and unity in my city. Stockholm responded to the hatred by coming together, helping each other and by showing love to thy neighbor. Today a huge manifestation took place which gathered the largest amount of Swedes to this date. A manifestation of love.
How do you fight hatred? With love! There is no way of getting rid of all the hatred in the world, but as humans we can fight back. We can fight homophobia in Russia with love, we can fight religious fundamentalists with love. They want to scare us. WE ARE NOT SCARED. The only thing that this has resulted in is that we are even stronger than before. We don’t know what happens tomorrow. All we know is we are alive. Right now. Let’s use that time to love and be loved. Best part of it all, love is free and love has no gender, religion nor ethnicity.
Love also comes from higher powers. If you cannot define what your higher power is, you can begin by believing you are your higher power. It’s no secret my higher power is God. He has got me through more hardships than I can count. Whatever or whoever your higher power is, find it and listen to it.
As I was walking to the grocery store, this sign was left outside a flower shop. Translated it says “On your way to Drottninggatan (the site of the terrorist attack)? Take a flower and lay it down to honor the memory of the dead. Take care of each other!” When our Crown Princess Victoria visited the site earlier she got the question how we will get through this. With tears in her eyes she answered: “Together!” We are one. Stockholm survives and thrives. Nothing can break this modern, vibrant and tolerant city and the people who live in it and visit it. We are not not blinded by primitive hate, instead we embrace the world and welcome everyone to this sanctuary of hope. We love.