Sunday, October 25, 2015

Moment Of Silence For School Attack Victims

Via The Local:

Hundreds gathered in Trollhättan on Sunday to observe a moment of silence at 2 pm to remember the victims of last week’s school attack that took the lives of a student, a teaching assistant and the attacker himself.

Many of those taking part stood with heads bowed. The sun shone over the improvised memorial square and in the distance, the sound of church bells could be heard.

Family members of the 20-year-old teaching assistant who was killed, Lavin Eskandar, were among those gathered.

"He saved your children, be proud of him", said the slain man's mother.

"We are all Swedes", Eskandar's cousin added. "We must stick together and teach our children what really matters".

The initiative for the period of silent reflection came from Robin Mashallah, who is from Trollhättan and knows several people who work at the school. Members of his family also know Eskandar's family.

“It’s my way of showing solidarity”, he told the Metro newspaper. “I want to show compassion”.

He organized it via a Facebook event page. As of Sunday morning, 259.000 people had said they would participate.

On Thursday, 21-year-old Trollhättan native Anton Lundin Pettersson rampaged through the Kronan school in the city, stabbing two people to death and seriously wounding two others before being fatally shot by police.

Authorities are calling it a racist hate crime. Many of the school’s students are immigrants and Pettersson methodically attacked dark-skinned individuals.

The attack shocked Sweden, where school attacks are very rare.

“A tragedy has hit Sweden and all of our thoughts go to the victims at the Kronan school in Trollhättan. Therefore we should hold a moment of silence for all who are affected to show solidarity with our fellow human beings”, it said on the Facebook event page.

Mashallah is active in the Social Democratic Youth League, but says there was no political or religious purpose behind the moment of silence on Sunday.

In addition, the youth wing of Sweden’s Left Party has organized an event for Sunday afternoon in Trollhättan. Nearly 4.000 people have registered their participation in the demonstration that will begin with a torchlight procession. There will also be a stage where people can express their thoughts and feelings about the attack.

The Kronan school is still closed and it is uncertain when it will reopen.

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