A week ago I wrote an article that I sent to the local newspaper back in my hometown in Sweden. The reason I wrote it was the increase of violence that has been going on for a few months. Those of you that have been with me and the blog for a while, might have read a blog post I wrote late June after my brother and two friends were attacked and assaulted one night (if you’re interested to read that post, click here.)
On the night between Christmas Day and Boxing Day, there was another attack in the middle of the city. Only now, the 29-year-old victim didn’t survive the attack…
So, hearing this, I felt I had had enough. I needed to do something. So I did what I do best – I wrote. I wrote an open letter to my hometown Helsingborg and all its people. Because the pen is stronger than the sword.
And it turned out the newspaper liked it and printed it in the newspaper, only hours after I sent it.
My article immediately became wildly popular. People, both friends and strangers, wrote me about it telling me how it was exactly what they needed to hear. The article has been shared over 5000 times on Facebook and over 6000 people have voted on it on the newspapers website (you can see the original above or here, should you want to).
Now, I wanted to share it with all of you – not only because of public demand from my English-speaking friends who desperately wants to read it, but because what’s happening in Helsingborg is unfortunately happening around the world. The words I wrote goes out to everyone, really, no matter where you are.
So I hope to share some light and love with you today, by giving you that letter I wrote:
We share something beautiful. We share a home – our city. I am proud to be born in Helsingborg. But lately I feel a strong sense of worry. A fear of what’s happening to this home of ours. Once again we hear of a horrifying attack – this time it was a 29-year-old, and he didn’t make it out alive…
A few months ago, my family had to experience something frighteningly similar. My brother and friends got away, but we don’t know how close it really was (thank goodness for that). Since then, we’ve heard and read of attack after attack. Gangs roam the streets and follow people around – both those who are alone and those in groups. The other weekend my brother and his girlfriend were almost attacked again, one night after a restaurant visit. But there was a guy with a dog across the street who noticed the gang that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Thank you, to the guy with the dog, for standing up for my brother and his girl! We need people like you.
But what is really happening?
Our beautiful city is slowly falling to pieces and it’s happening right in front of our eyes! Just a few years ago, you could walk home safely, as long as you had company. Another few years ago, all you really needed to do to stay safe was to avoid the City Park. But it’s not like that anymore. These days, you can’t even walk home sober through the main street, without risking losing your life…
How crazy is that?
I’m writing this letter to open your eyes. Some of you have seen it, but I know that many of you are trying to ignore it. But we cannot ignore this! It is because we do so, that Helsingborg is no longer a safe city, soon enough not even in broad daylight.
So it’s time for us to react! This is not okay, this pointless violence that goes on weekend after weekend, and we have to start doing something about it. We have to stand up for each other. We have to stand up for the safety we deserve. We have to stand up for the warmth and the joy. We have to stand up for our city.
I’m not afraid if you are with me. I’ll dare if you dare. And I will protect you, if you protect me. We are safe when we have each other.
So let’s focus on the joy and sense of belonging that us Helsingborgers share. Let’s spread the love and the warmth, and thereby brighten the darkness with the light inside of us. Together we can create a new sense of safety and kindness.
Are you with me?
Like I said, these words go out to all of you, around the world, as world citizens. Join in the light and the love, and brighten up that darkness that don’t belong. It’s what we all need right now.