10 April, 2017

How the attack has affected me

The attack has been on the news very often lately, I understand that people want to move on a bit, but I’d just like to quickly share my thoughts about the attack with you. I really hope you’re all safe and sound, and feeling hopeful rather than scared.

I was waiting for someone to call me when I suddenly saw the notification with “Truck drives into crowd on busy Stockholms street”. First, for some reason, I thought it was a sick joke, until I went to the official news app and saw the breaking news. The world stood still for a moment, and the horrible footages of Nice and Berlin went through my head. I walk there almost every day, only not that day because of that call, I was in total shock!

I’d always been a bit scared that there would be an attack in Stockholm. For obvious reasons, but also because I was scared that people would start to dislike each other more, and that the tension between certain groups would build up even more. On the internet, you  see people claiming that “terrorism and immigration is ruining Europe”, and that people are very often scared because of the recent attacks in European cities. People seemed to feel a bit hopeless about the future and acted like there are more bad people in the world than good.

When it became clear that this wasn’t an accident but an attack, I got very scared. On the news you saw the military police, the burning truck, the footage of the people quickly running in the store before the truck drove by, sometimes even pictures with blood. To see the place where you walk so often being covered with blood and chaos, feels very very unreal. I didn’t want to go to Stockholm before Sunday because I wanted to respect the police, so when I went there for the Kärleksmanifestation, I was a bit scared.

I walked to Åhléns, not really knowing what I could expect. I saw on the news that many people put flowers on the places, but that was about it. When I got there, I saw a police car full with beautiful flowers, the wall full with love and inspiring messages, strangers hugging and talking to each other and people being very quiet while wearing the Swedish flag. I felt such an intense feeling of relief and happiness all of a sudden, which was very weird after being rather sad and scared for 2 days.

Everyone felt to connected, and we all shared the same thought: “terrorism will never defeat us”.

In the background you could still see some of the damage the truck had done to other parts of the street, such a contrast.

The Kärleksmanifestation started. I saw on Facebook that around 10k people were joining, but when I looked around me I saw nothing but people, way more than ten thousand. They were wearing hearts, wrote signs with love quotes on them, they seemed sad but hopeful at the same time. The beautiful speeches of Damon Rasti and the other people got me crying uncontrollably, but especially the applause of the crowd was so incredibly strong. Such a HUGE group of all different kinds of people: local Stockholmers, people from other parts of Sweden, immigrants that arrived here decades ago, or immigrants that just recently arrived: we were all in this together, and we finally showed to each other that anxiety and terrorism will never take our happiness and freedom.

Right now, I even feel more relieved than before the attack.  I’ve seen that Swedes will always handle things the Swedish way, even after they got hurt. Their country was attacked, but they handled it with love, care and respect. The heart of the vast majority of people is in the right place. Terrorism has not ruined Stockholm, it has made Stockholm much stronger.

Written by Lydia Hallie 

I’m Lydia, a 19-year-old Dutch girl living in Stockholm. I try to write many helpful posts to help younger people who recently moved to Sweden to get to know the country and how everything works here! 

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