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Swedish foreign minister stabbed
September 10, 2003 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Scandinavia in shock Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh has been repeatedly stabbed in an attack in a Stockholm department store.
posted by dagny (68 comments total)

 
He also said that he was suspending the campaign for a Yes vote in Sunday's referendum on membership of the euro.

conspiracy time.
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:02 AM on September 10, 2003


Of course judging by the expressivity of the headline it's not nearly as big news as the Pixies coming back.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:03 AM on September 10, 2003


Well I for one am TRULY shocked.

Sweden has department stores? When did that happen?
posted by Outlawyr at 10:07 AM on September 10, 2003


Didn't Sweden ban civilian knife ownership back in '85?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:41 AM on September 10, 2003


[insomnia]...How about this "Pupli"? No, Mom, everyone in school picks on the Pupli kids, even I do. I just hate them so much.

...Place that one, little miss smart guy.

On a more serious note; while I never claimed to know much about Sweden beyond the vague feeling of security and peace it gave me when thought about, I am shocked to hear about what what normally be classified as "U.S. style violence" in Stockholm of all places. [/insomnia]
posted by phylum sinter at 10:47 AM on September 10, 2003


In 1986 Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot dead as he walked home with his wife in Stockholm. The killing has never formally been solved, although a man cleared of the crime later wrote to a newspaper confessing.
Notice the above mentioned in their news paper whenever similar crimes like this happen. Why, being their first PM after the King stepped down or an a nationalized "unsolved mystery" ?
posted by thomcatspike at 10:51 AM on September 10, 2003


Just out of curiousity, is it a law that whenever someone is attacked with something other than a gun in Europe, an American is required to say "Didn't they ban something-other-than-a-gun?"
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:58 AM on September 10, 2003


Just out of curiousity, is it a law that whenever someone is attacked with something other than a gun in Europe, an American is required to say "Didn't they ban something-other-than-a-gun?"

Yes: See 10 USC 311.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:05 AM on September 10, 2003


phylum - it's a quote from The Simpsons.
posted by jonson at 11:15 AM on September 10, 2003


Sweden has department stores? When did that happen?

Ever the class act, outlawyr.
posted by jpoulos at 11:16 AM on September 10, 2003


Sweden has department stores?

Obviously not a reader of wallpaper* magazine.

It's a sad and awful event. And it reminds us that attempts to have a kind of openness in politics -- that's to say, not surrounding ministers with huge details -- hang on very slender threads. Pim Fortuyn was another example.
posted by riviera at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2003


On a more serious note; while I never claimed to know much about Sweden beyond the vague feeling of security and peace it gave me when thought about, I am shocked to hear about what what normally be classified as "U.S. style violence" in Stockholm of all places.

Oh please. What the hell does "U.S. style violence" mean anyway?
posted by Witty at 12:10 PM on September 10, 2003


What the hell does "U.S. style violence" mean anyway?
Yeah, I thought our weapon of choice was the gun.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:12 PM on September 10, 2003


The department stores in Stockholm are quite nice - NK (where the attack took place) and Åhlens have a bit of that old world charm seen in places like Marshall Fields and Carson Pierre Scott here in Chicago.

And that a high ranking government official could and would walk freely through such a public space says much about Sweden. Were I of sufficient means, I'd consider an extended stay.
posted by aladfar at 12:16 PM on September 10, 2003


Sweden has department stores? When did that happen?
If good old Rummy of yours was stabbed/shot would it be material for a "humorous" thread?

That said the Palme investigation is still laughed at. Thousands of policemen were assigned on it, but they found out nothing.

Hope they catch this guy.

or an a nationalized "unsolved mystery" ?
The Palme investigation is a swedish version of the JFK killing - there are many (conspiracy)theories. One very popular tells that South African agents killed Palme, a known human rights activist.
posted by hoskala at 12:44 PM on September 10, 2003


aladfar: What it says about Sweden is that they need to wake up and smell the 21st century. Leaving your politicians unprotected from knife-wielding loonies is not a virture.
posted by rcade at 12:48 PM on September 10, 2003


"If good old Rummy of yours was stabbed/shot would it be material for a "humorous" thread?"

On HomoLeftyFilter?

You are kidding, right?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:51 PM on September 10, 2003


And that a high ranking government official could and would walk freely through such a public space says much about Sweden.

Like?
posted by Witty at 12:55 PM on September 10, 2003


I have a friend from Sweden who tells me about large biker gang presences, turf wars and crank-smuggling Hell's Angels. I told him, really- in SWEDEN? He assured me that Sweden is a rough place in some parts. I didn't question it, he seemed serious.

But in all honesty, people saw this fuckstick stabbing her but no-one felt compelled to chase him down and beat him senseless?

where's the mob justice when you want it?
posted by shadow45 at 1:01 PM on September 10, 2003


"If good old Rummy of yours was stabbed/shot would it be material for a "humorous" thread?"

Metatalk, boys and girls.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:05 PM on September 10, 2003


Blame that rampant Swedish knife culture. Bunch of cowboy chefs.
posted by HTuttle at 1:12 PM on September 10, 2003


"If good old Rummy of yours was stabbed/shot would it be material for a "humorous" thread?"

Gleefully!

And on that note I will Harold Holt out of here (in keeping with mention of JFK, Palme, etc).
posted by Shane at 1:19 PM on September 10, 2003


Though I really don't think it necessary, I suppose I need to elaborate on the following for the sake of Witty and rcade:

And that a high ranking government official could and would walk freely through such a public space says much about Sweden.

That a prominent governmental official - on a par with our own Colin Powell or Condi Rice - can walk about in public without undue fear of harassment is extraordinary. That Lindh was attacked is a bizarre incident in Sweden.

Undoubtedly, this wasn't her first time walking about Stockholm unprotected. That she felt comfortable doing so is not an indication of stupidity, it's evidence of a safer and more tolerant society.

A sort of place the United States would do well to emulate.
posted by aladfar at 1:26 PM on September 10, 2003


What it says about Sweden is that they need to wake up and smell the 21st century.

Why? What evidence do you have that this kind of event is more likely than, say, being struck by lightning?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:35 PM on September 10, 2003


A sort of place the United States would do well to emulate.

Imminent one-word followup from Witty predicted.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:36 PM on September 10, 2003


That a prominent governmental official - on a par with our own Colin Powell or Condi Rice...

Hardly.
posted by Witty at 1:52 PM on September 10, 2003


If good old Rummy of yours was stabbed/shot would it be material for a "humorous" thread?
I would like to answer that honestly, but Mr. Ashcroft is watching.

Hey, by the way, do you know how many Swedish Foreign Ministers that have been repeatedly stabbed in an attack in a Stockholm department store it takes to screw in a light bulb?
posted by Outlawyr at 1:53 PM on September 10, 2003


What it says about Sweden is that they need to wake up and smell the 21st century.

Since the 21st century is so forward and evolved that people should expect to be stabbed while shopping? It's kind of sad that since Americans live in fear of one another, we expect the rest of the world to live in fear of each other as well.

Outlawyr: Three, one to screw in the bulb, one to depend on evil social health-care and one to hate America.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:55 PM on September 10, 2003


Nice try elwoodwiles, but the correct punchline is:
"What? They have light bulbs in Sweden?!?"

Oh, and by the way, I'd say Ms. Lindh is more analagous to the Governor of Indiana, which state has a population of 6,159,068, not too much less than Sweden's slightly less than 9,000,000. I don't see anyone boo hooing about his recent stroke.
posted by Outlawyr at 2:01 PM on September 10, 2003


a stroke=a stabbing? you can't be serious.
posted by dabitch at 2:15 PM on September 10, 2003


It's kind of sad that since Americans live in fear of one another,...

I ain't afraida none of you MFers. "Bring it on"! KNIFE FIGHT... Beat It video style.
posted by Witty at 2:22 PM on September 10, 2003


A stroke isn't analogous to a stabbing in many ways I don't think I need to detail. This story is disturbing in that Sweden is a country many people perceive as being safe - so safe that high ranking government figures can shop just like any other citizen. This example of safety seems foreign to Americans, of course, the US being a country where government figures stay far away from the proles at all costs. Perhaps people think this is funny, or pretend to, out of jealousy. US citizens are taught to trust no one, and further, that they are not trusted.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:24 PM on September 10, 2003


[Pointedly ignores Outlawyr, having already contributed to MetaTalk thread.]

This reads like a whackjob going pyscho, not a conspiracy or assasination nor a professional job. Dreadful. But I don't know that this says anything about Sweden or its politics. People who become famous/well-known are at risk from the violent actions of obsessive deranged people. Something similar in nature though much less violent happened to Maureen McTeer (wife of former Canadian prime minister and present day leader of the PC party Joe Clark) over twenty years ago when she was campaigning on her husband's behalf. She was in a mall, and heard someone say, "Maureen!" She turned to speak to the man, and he grabbed her arm so violently that he tore ligaments.
posted by orange swan at 2:29 PM on September 10, 2003


I'd say Ms. Lindh is more analagous to the Governor of Indiana, which state has a population of 6,159,068, not too much less than Sweden's slightly less than 9,000,000. I don't see anyone boo hooing about his recent stroke.

Does that make the Chinese junior undersecretary for public works analogous to Colin Powell? Or the deputy roads minister in India?

'My country is bigger than your country' makes for silly comparisons, doesn't it?

(But if you're going for the numerical comparisons... well, what if the Mayor of New York were stabbed in Macy's? See, some people in charge of millions of people are more significant than others.)
posted by riviera at 2:30 PM on September 10, 2003


What's funny (and it isn't this woman getting stabbed), is comments like this:

This example of safety seems foreign to Americans, of course, the US being a country where government figures stay far away from the proles at all costs.

Exaggerate much? How about if everyone in this thread blows everything out of proportion just to make some half-assed point about nothing.

No one in the thread has said anything about this stabbing being funny. But if it helps you to make broad-brush generalization about all Americans, go for it I guess.
posted by Witty at 2:32 PM on September 10, 2003


Witty, when is the last time you saw George W. Bush at costco? Powell at Taco Bell? Rice at Saks 5th ave? American government officials are kept far away from "the people" as possible, unless of course you pay $2,000 dollars, in which case after a security check you might be allowed within 50ft or so....

Oh, I guess people are making jokes because they think this is sad. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:37 PM on September 10, 2003


i wonder if this had anything to do with the recent euro vote against joining?
posted by amberglow at 2:41 PM on September 10, 2003


i guess that should be the recent vote against joining the euro
posted by amberglow at 2:42 PM on September 10, 2003


A distinguished minister of a country with an open society, who is also the mother of two, gets brutally stabbed while shopping at a department store. What happened to her was terrible, and I'm sure ALL of us wish her a full recovery, and would like to see the perpetrator brought to justice.

Now what's all the bickering about?
posted by Devils Slide at 2:44 PM on September 10, 2003


So the other shopper's see a woman being bashed senseless by a man and do nothing? You can take tolerance only so far.
posted by spinifex at 2:49 PM on September 10, 2003


Meanwhile the Governor of Indiana was in a coma and has brain damage and all you can do is laugh laugh laugh with that Swedish laughter of yours. And make Swedish jokes about the poor man. Have you no decency?

Oh, and of course I also wish her a swift recovery. Too bad about the loony stabbing her. And too bad the Governor had a stroke.
posted by Outlawyr at 2:51 PM on September 10, 2003


Meanwhile the Governor of Indiana was in a coma and has brain damage and all you can do is laugh laugh laugh with that Swedish laughter of yours. And make Swedish jokes about the poor man. Have you no decency?

Outlawyr, are you joking? Who was laughing at the Indiana governor's stroke? What is with you?
posted by orange swan at 2:58 PM on September 10, 2003


So the other shopper's see a woman being bashed senseless by a man and do nothing? You can take tolerance only so far.

Do you have *any* evidence that there was a crowd of people standing around while this happened, or is this just an utterly lame "disarmed socialist foreigners just let crimes happen" tangent?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:02 PM on September 10, 2003


A joke about Swedish department stores isn't a joke about the hilarity in a woman getting stabbed.

No, I've never seen the President of the U.S. in Costco. But I also wouldn't put the President of th U.S. in the same group as the Foreign Minister of Sweden.

But living in D.C., I see politicians "all the time".

Thank you Devils Slide.

Who was laughing at the Indiana governor's stroke?

And who's laughing at Lindh? Show me one?
posted by Witty at 3:12 PM on September 10, 2003


Uh, nobody. Note that I never accused anyone of doing so. I was querying Outlawyr's bizarre comment.
posted by orange swan at 3:22 PM on September 10, 2003


I'd like to note that high-profile American politicians tend to have security details because they are high-profile politicians of a nation that is a major military and economic power.

That and American politicians in the past tend to suffer a very short lifespan when unprotected.

I'm sure most of them wouldn't mind not having a security detail, they probably would cherish the freedom from them -- but at the cost of their life, and at the cost of letting a nation suffer the loss of a leader?

American-style violence?
Would that be what's displayed in Bad Boys II?
Violence is violence. Weapon selection varies, depending on availability.
posted by linux at 3:26 PM on September 10, 2003


Outlawyr: I'd say Ms. Lindh is more analagous to the Governor of Indiana, which state has a population of 6,159,068, not too much less than Sweden's slightly less than 9,000,000. I don't see anyone boo hooing about his recent stroke.
How about if the governor of Indiana was stabbed in broad daylight, as a more appropriate comparison?
riviera:Does that make the Chinese junior undersecretary for public works analogous to Colin Powell? Or the deputy roads minister in India?
Heh, good point... but you see: It's not the same damnit...
posted by talos at 3:27 PM on September 10, 2003


.... Anna Lindh was one of the best campaigners for voting yes to the Euro, and they might even cancel Sundays vote about it since she can't participate in Friday nights debate. A public vote has never been cancelled before.

back to your regurlarly scheduled bickering.
posted by dabitch at 3:34 PM on September 10, 2003


Another one of those threads...
posted by Shane at 4:57 PM on September 10, 2003


thomcatspike-- to add to hoskala's comparison of JFK and Palme; Palme's murder is generally considered a benchmark of sorts whenever someone's life or security is threatened in Sweden; the end of more innocent times, so to speak (having only been made worse by the fact that it remains unsolved). Not-in-my-backyard, yes, but the connection is natural.
posted by G_Ask at 6:35 PM on September 10, 2003


Sadly, Anna Lindh has died of her injuries. No link that I can find, but it was just reported on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.
posted by jack_mo at 12:34 AM on September 11, 2003


05:29 CET Anna Lindh died.

Swedish link above
posted by psychomedia at 12:35 AM on September 11, 2003


and from BBC
posted by psychomedia at 12:37 AM on September 11, 2003


Sorry, I obviously didn't look very hard...

Also, this thread is grim - I find politicians dying as funny as the next man, but the bizarre attitudes expressed by certain commenters, and the general jokey tone strike me as more than a little innapropriate.

Anyway, I'm off to find the thread where folk are dismissing the Korean protester who stabbed himself at the WTO meeting as an irrelevancy on the grounds that he's a funny little yellow man not from America.
posted by jack_mo at 12:53 AM on September 11, 2003


couldn't agree more jack_mo.
posted by dabitch at 12:58 AM on September 11, 2003


Anna Lekander, a Stockholm-based PR project manager, was in the boutique just minutes before it happened. "There were no more than five to 10 people in the boutique at the time," she told BBC News Online. Soon after leaving the shop, Ms Lekander heard people shouting from inside, "Catch him, catch him". "It happened very quickly, I could see people running and I went back into the shop," Ms Lekander said.

Anna Lindh was one of Sweden's most popular politicians and was tipped as a likely successor to Prime Minister Goran Persson. ... She was at the heart of the government's campaign to win a sceptical public round to euro membership. Commentators had suggested her personal popularity could have been a significant factor in tipping public opinion, prompting one newspaper to crown her the "Yes Queen".
posted by rory at 1:59 AM on September 11, 2003


very weird thread, what Jack_mo said 'bout sums it up for me.

- Amberglow from what I understand the referendum on the Euro is finely balanced although the no vote is ahead in the polls.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:02 AM on September 11, 2003


I'll be voting later today (Last day for swedes living abroad) but really don't feel like it somehow. If there will be a national vote on Sunday only the future will tell. The no side has had some luck in the polls lately, but with the yes-queen dead, that will probably change.
posted by dabitch at 2:28 AM on September 11, 2003


they often compare sweden and switzerland; so a few days ago i was riding a bike in the swiss alps. a couple of motorbikers decided to play with me, pushing close to the railing. and closer. and closer, to the point where i had a choice of either going over and falling 2000 meters or breaking really hard. which i did.
after breaking, going over my head, landing on the highway, and getting back up, i found myself with no injuries at all yet it looked like i was dragged on asphalt for a mile - blood dripping everywhere. so i took my bike and started walking, slowly.
not a single one of the cars that were passing (and they go slow, it's a very steep drive) did as much as open the window and ask what's up.
not that it's a direct parallel (thankfully!), but i think the reason that she was able to walk alone in that store and the fact that nobody tried to protect her are part of the same coin - nobody really cares and the personal space is far greater than in the US (and I hate how large it is here already).
posted by bokononito at 6:55 AM on September 11, 2003


the fact that nobody tried to protect her

bokononito, what "fact" is this? That BBC interview with a bystander talks about it all happening quickly, and people yelling "catch him", which doesn't imply the kind of detachment you're suggesting. How do you "protect" someone from an attack which clearly came out of the blue?
posted by rory at 7:03 AM on September 11, 2003


In the town where I live, the pro- and anti-Euro campaigns have been running from two adjacent booths in the main street. Today, they're both closed, and between them is a makeshift memorial with a few pictures of Ms. Lindh, flowers, and candles. The flags outside the town hall are at half-mast.

Bokononito, 'they' more often confuse Sweden and Switzerland, than compare them, having only a vague idea of European geography, and a disinclination to look beyond the first two letters of the countries' names.
posted by misteraitch at 9:54 AM on September 11, 2003


this is terrible...she seemed like a great person. Any leads or security camera footage or anything to catch the person--and to find out why?

and thanks for clearing up the referendum thing for me
posted by amberglow at 10:15 AM on September 11, 2003


It is commonplace for celebrities and high ranked politicans to live and mingle in and amongst the proleteriat in Europe. Why shouldn't it be? Powerful financiers, CEOs, and politicans all ride the Tube in London. They're people, they're not royalty (seeing a member of the Royal Family on the Tube would be a major surprise).

And the whole 'personal' space issue is real, although often exaggerated.

That said, there have been many stories here in the UK over the past few years, such as the girl who was dragged through a busy mall by a gang of boys before being raped in the car park.. number of people who helped? None.

However, there have been many incidents where people HAVE got involved, something goes wrong, and the police tell people they 'shouldn't get involved'. And, quite honestly, unless I'm sure I'll be safe, I wouldn't. It's just not worth the risk to be lured into traps these days.

a couple of motorbikers decided to play with me, pushing close to the railing. and closer. and closer, to the point where i had a choice of either going over and falling 2000 meters or breaking really hard.

Was that a position really worth getting into? You shouldn't let things drag out until you have to make a choice between dying or, er, being thrown over the bars.
posted by wackybrit at 2:54 PM on September 11, 2003


rory, by jumping in instead of contemplating the rights and the wrongs of interrupting a guy beating up a woman (what it probably looked like). i'm not suggesting it's the objectively right way, just pointing out a different cultural approach. but you are right, it's not a fact at all; i have no way of (dis)proving how the event went.

wackybrit - the "decided to play with me" is a post-event reflection. back then it was more like "what the hell is going on?!"

misterraitch.. heheh. true. especially when going for the adjectives. you are swisdish right?
posted by bokononito at 3:55 PM on September 11, 2003


orange swan

I was kidding about people joking about the governor. Sorry for the confusion. I was attempting to satirize the over-reaction to a joke about Sweden that many misinterpreted as a joke about Lindh.

Sad to hear Lindh died. One hopes they catch the guy who stabbed her.
posted by Outlawyr at 6:07 PM on September 11, 2003


Yeah, bokononito, but it sounds like there were only a few people in that whole part of the store, possibly some distance away, and it was all over in an instant - it only takes seconds to inflict a few stab-wounds. I doubt he shouted out any advance warning, or hung around to wait for other people's response. And as soon as it happened they did start running, presumably to the aid of Lindh and after the guy who did it. Okay, I accept those are assumptions on my part... I was just worried that a "fact" was being assumed here that has in no way been established, and goes against all common sense.

I don't accept that Swedes would stand by and watch a woman getting beaten up in a department store because of some "different cultural approach"; the only thing that might have slowed the response of those in the area would have been the pure surprise and shock of it. And a mere few seconds' delay would have given enough time to inflict those wounds.
posted by rory at 6:11 AM on September 12, 2003


elwoodwiles:
Funny that, I saw my Senator (Jack Reed) in the hot dog restaurant I work in last week. I guess some move among the hoi polloi.
posted by Snyder at 10:24 PM on September 12, 2003


bokononito - .se and .ch are two very different cultures, you are comparing apples and oranges. It's also not common to stand idly by if someone decides to beat up on a woman (or child) in public, people would intercept it immediately (I've witnessed in .se plenty of times), so I'll agree with Rory, it probably went too fast and people didn't have much time to react - but they did scream "stop that man" and plenty took up the chase.

They've released images from the security cameras now, they held on to them as they didn't want to taint any unheard witnesses testimonies. Someone said in another (now deleted) thread that NK doesn't record the security camera footage - this is true for some of the NK shops but not all of them, thank goodness.

The lone madman theory is shaping up as it seems he followed her from another department store (where he shoplifted the knife) to NK. The mind boggles at the lack of security around what was going to be our first female prime minister, days before an inflamed EURO election where she's already been threatened during her speeches several times...
posted by dabitch at 6:06 AM on September 13, 2003


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