Fight fragmentation

Now is the time to fight forces of fragmentation, division, hatred and fanaticism, writes Bo Ekman after Saturday’s attack ending the notion of Sweden as a haven safe from terrorism.

The bombs of Stockholm
By Bo Ekman

A 28 year old young man, living in the small town of Tranås in south-east Sweden and of Mid-eastern origin, contaminated this, at least perceived peaceful corner of the world with terrorism. But we have seen it before. In the 1970’s, the Baader-Meinhof gang bombed the West German Embassy, in the 80’s the Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot in street and in 2003 the Minister of Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh became the victim of a madman.

In the recent elections, 7% of Swedes chose to install an islamofobic party in the parliament. This party has roots in fascist ideology. The Sweden Democrats, as they call themselves, will profit from these acts of terror, which only by sheer luck did not kill many, many innocent people in the middle of late Friday afternoon Christmas shopping.

Now is the time to defend the open society and the rule of law on which democracies must be based. Now is the time to fight forces of fragmentation, division, hatred and fanaticism. The Tällberg Forum 2011 will ask the question “How can we Agree to Agree?” The tidings over the last days including the ceremony in Oslo of the delivery of the Nobel Peace Prize, where the award winner was forced to be absent because of him being jailed by the Chinese Government, only amplifies the importance of the work of the Foundation. We have already started to plan for a major Tällberg event on the theme “Is the Business of Free Speech also the Business of Business?” to raise the awareness that free enterprise, free speech and democracy are inseparable.