Don’t let fear govern us: a little chronicle of 2017/04/07 Stockholm

I guess that you already heard a lot about what happened in the Friday afternoon 2017/04/07, here in Stockholm.

My class always have computer lab in the afternoon, with Friday before the long Easter break being no exception. At 14:38, when I was struggling to re-concentrate after lunch, in order to solve the protein docking problem, I heard the whisper around the table about “truck accident in the city center“. “Tianlin, don’t be disturb. Work on your assignment!” I spoke to myself. But minutes after, everyone realized that it is not an accident.

At 15:03 I received the first message from a friend who is now studying in Copenhagen, asking me if I am safe. We exchanged information from each sideand reminded each other to take care and stay vigilant. I kept receiving more and I know that there will be even more tomorrow, after my relatives and friends wake up and watch news from media.

In the coming few hours, my classmates were in a state of extreme shock and sorrow but we still need to face the most practical issue: the public traffic was suspended. My classmates who finished their assignments earlier started discussing how they should go home. Although I live in Södermal, which is 15 km away from Stockholm University, it caused no trouble because I bicycled everyday. From 17:54 I departed from Stockholm University.

My journey home was smooth. Just there was a significant increase in traffic from outside to the center of the city. Just there were so many people walking on the paths. They were talking, arguing, phoning and messaging.

My journey home was smooth until I was stopped by the corder in Östermalmstorget. From there, no vehicles were allowed to enter this region. People were moving out, hugging each other and some were photographing. But it caused no trouble because I am so familiar with this district and took a bypass from another side, then crossed the old town to Slussen. (Reminder: As the police investigation is still going on, for personal safety, you should also avoid crossing the city center as well!)

I arrived in Slussen at 18:42. I have never seen so many people in Slussen, not even in the city Marathon last autumn. I beg if you were standing on wall of the Royal Palace, you would see a huge arrow moving from the city center to the South. For this reason I had to stop bicycling and start walking with my bike for 7 minutes, until I reached the end of Slussen, where the street is less crowded.

I managed to arrive my hostel in Medborgarplatsen at 19:01, so the journey is only slightly longer than one hour. Now I am sitting in front of my laptop, typing my blog as it was a normal Friday night. But 2017/04/07 will never be a normal Friday.

Everyone is questioning why it happened and why it is in Sweden, a country in which tolerance and equality can’t be more ubiquitous and self-evident. I made friends with refugees in the free Swedish course sponsored by the government; I enjoyed medical treatment with high quality almost no cost; I even borrowed 20 Kr from a 7-11 cashier who did not know me at all…..Sweden is a place where you will constantly feel the kindness and trust from ordinary people. So why Sweden?

I don’t know the answer either and I won’t speculate further here. I only know that tonight, people may cry, they may feel weak, insecure or even tormented. But I will never allow fear to occupy my mind——- otherwise, they who did the harm, will win. I will go to the organ concert in St. Nicolas Church tomorrow, as planned. I will go to the King’s Garden in the city center next week, because the cherry trees will blossom, and because I love this city.


Great thanks to my classmate André Rosa, who generously provides the cover photo of this blog.

It was taken on 2017/04/07, sunset in Stockholm.

2 thoughts on “Don’t let fear govern us: a little chronicle of 2017/04/07 Stockholm

  1. Cate

    How do you cycle from Medborgarplatsen to university on winter days?

  2. Tianlin He Post author

    Hi Cate I also cycle regularly in winter days — indeed, so do many people in Stockholm.
    Just need to be careful as the road might be slippery after snow, but it is nonetheless doable and fun 😉

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