Stockholm: Capital of positivity…

Defeating hate with kärlek

I don’t want to dwell on this subject for too long, but it’s something that can’t be ignored.

On Friday 7th April, around 3pm, I had arrived back home from having lunch with a friend and received a call from my girlfriend to say that she would probably be home late as her office had been locked down due to a suspected terror attack in the city. I turned to twitter, and watched the panic unfold.

Ambulances, police cars, and helicopters raced past the flat in the direction of Drottninggatan. This is the closest I’ve ever been to something so terrible, just 2km away.

We made sure that all our nearest and dearest were safe, and invited some of my girlfriend’s family around for dinner so that we could avoid the majority of the travel disruption, and stay off the streets.

Since then, Stockholm’s outpouring of love, sympathy, and above all, positivity has been amazing. The people of this city are kind, open and accepting. They are defiant of hate, understanding of grief and turn out in enormous numbers to support what they believe in.

The tributes have poured in, in their thousands, flowers left along Drottninggatan, in Sergels Torg, and draped over police cars as a tribute to the people who risk their lives to protect the public in these difficult times. Yesterday I saw police officers with armfuls of flowers given to them by the public, children hugging officers, and locals in deep and positive conversation about how they can support the police.

It was best summed up by a local I saw on the news this weekend. He was asked; “You take this route to work every day, will you be changing your route from now on?” His response; “No way. We will not be intimidated by the cowards who wish to utilise hate to divide us. We shall carry on in defiance and in the name of love.”

Stay safe, and be nice to each other.


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