Around the World in 80 Days, Day 73: Sweden, Part 2 – Knowing They’re on the Street Where You Live

In opening their borders to Muslim extremists, Europeans have effectively let the Orcs into the Shire.  What is worse, they still don’t seem to recognize the fact.

Take, for example, the April 7th terrorist attack here in Stockholm.  On that day, Rakhmat Akilov, a Muslim immigrant and asylum-seeker stole a beer truck in the heart of the city’s shopping district and careened down a fashionable pedestrian lane.  Before the rampage ended, five people were dead and 14 others injured.

This morning I walked from my hotel to the street in question.  Sitting at a sidewalk café, I tried to imagine the scene unfolding before me.  With such heavy foot-traffic, it wasn’t difficult to picture the terror at the too-late realization that the truck bearing down on you has no intention of stopping.  Even so, there is little to signal an unknowing visitor to this place that anything out of the ordinary had ever happened here.

My coffee finished, I walked the length of the street, from where the carnage began to the corner window of the Åhléns department store where it ended.  For a time, plywood took the place of glass and people covered it with Post-It note messages, turning it into an extemporized memorial.  Some of the notes were nonsensical.  Others spoke vaguely of “love conquering” or “love winning.”  What that means in the context of a terrorist attack is not clear.  Still others, however, identified the source of the problem: “Leave Islam,” declares just such a note.

But they mostly don’t get it.

Reversing course, I headed back up the street and went to several businesses along the terrorist’s bloody route asking shop owners and their employees what, if anything, they saw of the attack on that awful day.  One said he was on vacation.  Another told me he was in a back office and saw nothing.  One woman just shrugged uncomfortably.

Then I met Lily.

Lily is a twentysomething who works the counter at a cosmetics boutique.  At the time that I walked in, we were the only two people in the store.  Her blond hair framed a striking Nordic face and pale blue eyes.  She might have been a poster for a Swedish vacation or a member of Abba.

Then I asked about the attack.

The customer service veneer immediately evaporated and was replaced by a deep pathos.  Such a look, indescribable really, seemed incongruous with such a lovely face and on one so young.  In impeccable English, she described the horror of that day.

Lily was upstairs with a customer when she heard tumult from the street below.  Turning to look out of the window, she saw the truck driving down the lane at high speed.  Some people were running; others were motionless.  As the truck passed only feet from where she stood, behind it, she saw the broken form of a boy lying in the street.  A woman was kneeling over the child when a man sprinted in, swept up the boy in his arms, and disappeared into a side alley.  A father?  A bystander?  Lily didn’t know.

The women hurried downstairs.  A young intern who worked on the ground floor was hysterical.  “She had seen a lot more than I had.  Crushed bodies and blood.  It was unimaginable.”  The four of them locked themselves in a tiny bathroom behind the counter.  They called the police and waited fearfully, listening, hoping for salvation.  Two and a half hours later there was a knock on the storefront glass.  The women cracked the bathroom door just enough to see a man in a black uniform, black body armor, and carrying an automatic weapon.

They closed the door abruptly and locked it again.  Was he one of the good guys or a terrorist?  They didn’t know and chose to stay put.  Calling the police again they described the intimidating figure and were told to let him in.  Cautiously they abandoned their refuge.

“We didn’t trust him,” Lily said.

“Why?” I asked.

“He looked pale, terrified,” she said.  “He was very young.  I had no confidence that he could protect us.”

But that day’s terror was over.  She thinks about it a lot.  “People can be so evil,” she observed thoughtfully.  “The man [who did it] was married and had children, yet he targeted women and children.  Why would he do that?”

The answer seemed obvious to me.  I offered a clue: “Do you think religion had anything to do with the attack, Lily?”

To this point, she spoke freely, passionately, articulately.  But not now.  Now her response seemed like a statement prepared by the European Union committee on immigration and diversity: “Not for me,” she said somewhat nervously.  “I don’t think religion is like that.  For him maybe, but not for me.”

Were I to ask any educated person what inspired kamikazes, the suicide bombers of the previous century, to fly their planes into American ships during the Second World War, they would undoubtedly say Emperor worship and Imperial Japan—and they would be right.  So why the inability to make the connection between terrorism and Islam?  Political correctness.  It has rendered the European mind incapable of the sound reasoning that our fathers and grandfathers exercised in saving the free world from fascism and communism.

In her answer, Lily—so bright, so wounded and victimized by the events of the April 7, 2017 Muslim terrorist attack—revealed that whatever she has learned about human nature and its capacity for evil, she had not learned the most obvious lesson of all: that some religions and some philosophies exacerbate that evil and give justification to it.

In this, however, Lily is not alone.  Europe hasn’t learned anything either.

Sweden star rating: 5/10