On my way home around 15:15 in the afternoon I received a message from my younger brother, asking me where I was. Then I read from him that a truck had run at full speed into one of the biggest malls in the city of Stockholm, called Åhlens city, which is a giant brick construction.
For a minute I was stunned by my brother’s message, but I called him up as soon as possible and he told me that he was alright, he was on his way from the city center and the epicenter where the attack occurred.
After that, I called up some friends and asked if they were alright, and they told me that were as they were not in the city during the critical minutes.
The rest of the day and evening I followed the news including all the updates until I was too tired and exhausted to concentrate on anything.
It felt sad, to say the least, and surrealistic to go through all the reports: four dead immediately after the terrorist drove the vehicle through the main street (Drottninggatan) until he hit the entrance of the mall. Several people injured.
The city was closed for the rest of the day until the dawn of Saturday. But the police authorities had arrested during the night the possible suspect for this monstrous action, a man originally from Uzbekistan.
When I stepped out this morning for the morning walk with my dog, trying to think about the coming Gagarin Cup final between Magnitogorsk and SKA, I felt in the air, the vibrations that something had been truly disturbed.
Perhaps it is a big knock on the Nordic self-image and the imagination that such things happen elsewhere, out in the big, big world. Not here.
On the other hand, there is the very simple fact, that we are a part of that big, big world, and everything or anything that occurs in other places concerns us as well. We cannot escape from that, no matter how much we’d like to.
And, it doesn’t help to close the borders, as that it is certainly not a solution either, and we would still be a part of the world and connected to any incident of political or social nature.
We must accept that and go forward from that point in our daily work to prevent as much as possible these kinds of attack, even if it is hard enough. But the root of this problem is long and complicated as there are many side roots on this that go up to each government in every country.
For the record though, and I want to underline this part strongly: a lot of people, not only the police and the medical staff, helped out each other and offered shelter to all those who weren’t able to get home as the city was closed
That was something that gave hope that we won’t surrender for any attack and that we stand up for a free society and for our rights to be who we like to be, dress how we want to, and the most important of all: to include everyone no matter their social or religious background.
Nonetheless, I tried to focus on the Gagarin final that started on the day, as I had looked forward to it for a week. I admit though that I had a different feeling when I was waiting for the face-off. Some things are more important than hockey.
But the hockey game gave a moment of peace from the terror attack and all thoughts about it.
It gave me back a feeling of normality again, even joy, as I really enjoyed the game.
This might be a too obvious fact, but I can’t say this enough: Watching hockey or any sport, live or at home, is a normal activity.
Killing another human is, under every circumstance, abnormal.
To the last: the aftermath of the NHL decision to decline the Olympics in South Korea gave me a foul taste.
I wish and still hope for a unified hockey world, where every association helps out every other and takes part in every tournament no matter any cost or insurance.
For the sake of the game and its evolution, and for the fans who want to see the absolute best hockey.
The most important thing though, I wish now more than ever for a peaceful world, and that my friend starts with you and me, with our daily action of kindness, respect, and acceptance for each other.
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.