I think of when prime minister Olof Palme was shot on Sveavägen in 1986, only a few hundred meters from Åhléns City, and how all of us were faced with a shattering feeling of unreality, and we told each other that such things do not happen here, not in little Sweden, such things happen in the great outside world but not here.
Over 30 years have passed, and today an act of terrorism similar to those in Nice, Berlin and London has been committed in Stockholm.
On breaking news broadcasts, we see grey pictures from downtown.
The street work by Sergels torg that is never finished. The store signs that are so everyday Swedish.
Clas Ohlson. Wayne’s coffee. H&M.
Big flowerpots with colourful pansies that are meant to ease the greyness.
What sets the scene aside from any other day is the back of a truck, protruding out of a storefront at Åhléns City. A blue, somewhat dirty truck that usually transports for Spendrups. Before it crashed into the storefront, it was mowing down pedestrians on Drottninggatan.
At least four people are dead. It is unclear how many are injured.
But what I notice from everyone I speak to, and all I read and see on the news, is that we are not hit by that massive sense of unreality.
We do not say that such things do not happen here.
Because 30 years after the shots on Sveavägen, we know that such things also happen here.
We are all a part of the whole world, and the whole world is a part of us.
Because we have no innocence left to lose.
We knew that it could happen here.
We are serious but collected. We call our loved ones. Where are you? Are you safe? Have you heard anything?
We look to each other. Grow kinder. More considerate. Take a softer tone of voice.
On my Twitter feed, more and more people are calling for calm, and for not jumping to conclusions.
The attack hits in the middle of Stockholm.
In the central hub, the knot that ties together not just the city, but the whole country, because the railways goes through the city centre, connecting southern and northern Sweden.
When you get to Stockholm, this is where you get off.
The train. The bus. Arlanda Express.
All those who came here from Koppom and Ljusdal and Sollefteå and Eslöv. All those who came here from Iran and Iraq and Turkey and Greece and former Yugoslavia.
To the sanctuary of Stockholm.
The city where 500,000 people march in the Pride Parade every year with their message of inclusion and tolerance.
Attacking the big city is also attacking the sanctuary.
An attack on openness, freedom, inclusion.
While I am watching the news, I also notice that every single eyewitness interviewed by reporters on the scene is an immigrant.
They are speaking Swedish with all the different accents and dialects in which my language is now spoken, and they are all concerned and engaged, and they talk of an act of terror taking place in “our country”.
And in that moment, I know that we will get through this.
Because everyone being interviewed is absolutely right.
This is our country.
We will not let them take our Stockholm away from us.
Jonas Gardell is an author and writer for Expressen Kultur.
Traslation: Jakob Eyjolfsson.