I think, it’s a undeniable fact that we care more about some horrible tragedies than others. Too many people are killed every day anywhere in the world. Through acts of war or acts of terror. Acts of inhumanity. Acts of injustice and for so many more so very wrong reasons. Sometimes I’m quite ashamed about myself that I don’t pay very much attention to all the tragedies which are reported in my news feed each and every day. I guess, it’s also an undeniable aspect of the human psyche that we are selective in what we allow ourselves to care about deeply. It would drive us crazy otherwise, wouldn’t it?
The terror attack on music fans at Bataclan in Paris in 2015 affected me emotionally more than others in years before; not because Paris is a special place for me, but going to see my favourite artist on stage is a special activity for me. The Westminster attack in London two weeks ago also affected me more than other attacks elsewhere recently. Because I love London and I’ve been at Big Ben, on that bridge or in front of the House of Parliaments several times in the past few years. Each time I’ve visited the city probably. It feels like I know these places at least a little bit.
The terror attack in Stockholm yesterday disturbed and touched me on a whole new and much deeper level though. Because I consider Stockholm one of “my” places, since I studied at the Kunglia Tekniska Högskolan (Royal Institute of Technology) for six months over 20 years ago. I’ve been back for a couple short trips since then and always enjoyed these visits very much. Less than a year ago I spent a lovely weekend up North, listening to Frank Turner sing my favourite song in a small, intimate venue on my birthday. I’ve walked down Drottinggatan countless of times in these past 20 years. I’ve shopped at Åhléns City regularily, while I lived there and made it a habit to drop by at least once on every return visit. On that trip last April I found one of my – by now most cherished – objects of daily use – the perfect travel coffee mug – there at the homeware department.
It’s weird to think about mundane things like a coffee mug after such a horrible tragedy, I know. But I guess a brain stringing together the weirdest of thoughts and memories is only human too. The thing is: even after 20 years Stockholm feels a bit like home to me and thus this terror attack feels much more personal and I think it’s going to take some time to shake off that feeling.
I really don’t know what else to write about it expect offering my deepest condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one yesterday and sending heartfelt “Get well soon!” wishes to all the injured. And to send love and good vibes to everyone who had to experience or witness this horrible act yesterday. I hope everyone will get all the help they need to deal with the traumatic experience. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like…
One final thing: I’m proud and glad about the way the citizien in Stockholm, but also government and Sweden in general seem to deal with the aftermath of this. Caring, but calm. Reasonable. That’s the Sweden I know and love.