Saturday, 8 April 2017

Oh no, not another attack!

This is a further blog entry that I really wish that I didn't feel the need to write, but yet again I was compelled to make some form of comment about yesterday's act of mindless terrorism in Stockholm. As I have written before, if that offends any of my regular blog readers, I do hope that they will accept my latest apology.


Stockholm is yet another place that Sue and I have visited over the past fifteen years, and we know the area – and the department store where the attack took place – from our walks around the centre of the city. We have shopped in the Ahlens store and walked up and down Drottninggatan (Queen Street) almost every time we have been there as the P&O shuttle-bus drop-off and pick-up point is in Gustaf Adolfs Torg (Gustavus Adolphus Square) near the southern end of the street.


Over the years I have made the acquaintance of a number of Swedes, and those that I have met have all had a very refreshing attitude to tolerance and social justice. I know from them that there are examples of extremism from both ends of the religious and political spectrum to be found within Sweden, and that it is a problem that has been growing ever since Sweden chose to take in so many non-European migrants. Unfortunately it seems that this may have been one of the reasons why yesterday’s attack took place, but we will not know for sure until the police have completed their investigation.

We will be returning to Stockholm later this year, and during our next visit I hope to visit the wargame exhibition that is taking place in the Army Museum near the centre of Stockholm. In the meantime Sue and I would like to express our support for the Swedish people – and especially those living in Stockholm – and our sympathy for the families of all those affected by yesterday's dreadful attack.

18 comments:

  1. I agree with your point Bob about rising extremist issues in Sweden, but it is still very much the minority vs the liberal and tolerant mass of the population. It just beggars belief that even an Islamist terrorist could start to justify Sweden as a target for this sort of disgraceful attack.

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    1. Adam,

      Currently an increase in extremist political and/or religious ideas seems to be a common factor in many nations, and even though it may be concentrated in a minority of the population, it can have quite literally dreadful results.

      The problem nowadays is that terrorists no longer seem to feel the need to justify what they do to anyone except themselves.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Thank you! I live here in Stockholm and most of us are still in shock that this just happened. I lived through the attack in Washington DC during September 11th and now yesterday. I am getting too old for this. The exhibition is very good. Some of the members of our local club provided some items for the display. Enjoy your trip this year and be safe.

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    1. Rattlesnake,

      We're all getting too old for this sort of thing ... and thank God that we still have the capacity to be shocked. God forbid that we should ever get used to suffering from acts of terror.

      From the little I have seen of the exhibition on the Internet, it looks as if it is excellent, and I am looking forward to seeing it. I've been to the Army Museum before, and it would be worth going there again, even if the exhibition wasn't taking place.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. I second all of those thoughts. (Except that Denmark is the closest I've been to Swede ) But despite the intentional nature of these acts, we need some perspective. Driving on busy high-speed highways is still much more dangerous than these troubled self-made terrorists.

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    1. Ross Mac,

      Denmark is a great place to visit, and Sue and I will be going to the northern tip of the country and Copenhagen later this year.

      Luckily the latest acts of terrorism in Europe have caused fewer casualties than they might have, but it is still shocking ... whereas deaths from road accidents seem to be so commonplace that their impact is far more limited.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    1. Kev Robertson,

      That is shocking news ... and as far as I know, it has not been reported anywhere on the UK media.

      It certainly supports your contention that such acts of violence have changed the way they we live our lives. It also makes one wonder if we are also just becoming so used to them that they no longer warrant reporting internationally.

      What do we do? On an individual basis we can be vigilant and support each other as best we can; on a local and national level we - and I mean everyone, and not just 'the government' - can combat all forms of extremism whenever we encounter it; and on an international level countries must cooperate to destroy those who encourage such acts and to remove the causes of the extremist 'cancer' that seems to be hell-bent on destroying civilization.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. Kev Robertson,

      When I was growing up, our potential 'enemy' was easy to recognise, but now the world has moved on and we have new 'enemies'. Interestingly they hate everyone who doesn't follow their particular extreme religious outlook, and are quite willing to kill anyone who isn't like them, be they Jew, Christian, or Muslim.

      I've lived alongside members of the three Abrahamic religions for most of my life, and I have found a few extremists - a very, very small number - amongst them. At present we have a problem with people who claim to be 'true' Muslims ... but when I listen to the views expressed by some fundamentalist Christians, I shudder.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. My sympathies go out to Sweden and anyone affected by the attack! Our reactions (and governments' reactions) to terrorism have changed how we live. At the same time it doesn't mean we should go around in fear or suspicion of others. Reaction and response is called for. Over-reaction is not. That's my humble opinion as a civilian anyway (I mean that sincerely; I am no expert on these things).

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    1. Fitz-Badger,

      I totally agree. Appropriate action in response to what has happened is necessary ... but not an over-reaction. (I note - for example - that the Norwegians have stepped up their security at airports etc., in response.) Keeping a cool head at these times is very important, and not making a knee-jerk reaction to events is the way forward.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. p.s. that is not meant as criticism of anyone here.

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    1. Fitz-Badger,

      I quite understand, and I am sure that other readers will see your comments as not being specific to anything other than the general discussion that has taken place.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. I can't understand the attitude that "only Christians" should be allowed into a country. As you said Bob, what we hear from some Christians makes one shudder. A few years ago it was the IRA who were blowing people up--Christians all (at least that's what they called themselves). Timothy McVea who blew up the government building in Oklahoma City--Christian. The KKK--Christians (again, so they say). No group has a monopoly on virtue... or on evil, either. Take people one at a time. Terrorists can't or won't; if the rest of us follow their example, there will be no hope at all for a better future.

    Chris

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    1. Chris,

      I think that a lot of people have followed Mr Trump's lead on this.

      I'm put in mind of George Orwell's 'four legs good, two legs bad', which assumes that if you are not like us, then you must be bad. Although it is not a view that I personally subscribe to, it is one that I can understand people having.

      One fear that I have expressed privately for some years is what the consequences might be if one of the nuclear powers was led by someone with extreme Christian views. Hopefully we will never find out.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. I share your thoughts. I worked for many years on a multinational team for a Swedish company and have visited Stockholm many times for business and pleasure. I see no reason for any attack there. As far as I know all my friends and ex-colleagues are safe.

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    1. Whiskers,

      It seems grossly unfair that countries that have taken in so many of those who have been displaced by political and/or religious conflict have become the targets of attacks. Sweden is one such place, and we must be thankful that so few people were killed in this latest incident. Like you, as I know my Swedish friends and acquaintances are all safe.

      Interestingly I was recently reading about the 'Tottenham Outrage', which took place in the early years of the twentieth century. This was an example of political terrorism carried out by people who had escaped to England from Imperial Russian oppression ... so I suppose that there is nothing new under the sun.

      All the best,

      Bob

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