A photo from last week’s newspapers crawled into my head and still sits there; In a town south of Stockholm, two teenage girls sit on the sidewalk of a fuel station, facing lit candles, and bouquets of sad roses. The first frame of that silence brought a memory of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion’s opening movement, set to Agnus Dei that begins at the end: Jesus is dead and the title,” Come, you daughters, help me lament.”
I read that their friend, a 12-year-old girl, died after being shot by a gang in the Norsborg area of Botkyrka, south of Stockholm. Such a murder connected to organized gun violence constitutes 8 in 10 shootings in Sweden, states a study by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. The ratio is “significantly” higher compared to other countries in Europe, the Guardian reported.
“We felt safe, but now there is no safety. I don’t know what it would feel like to come here and eat in the future,” said to Aftonbladet the mother of a friend of the girl.
Goodness me! The number of people reduced to photo-frames alarmingly transcends the world’s notions of the epidemic of our time. For some reasons me and you are still breathing. We are continuing their struggle against crude politics to continue the hope and our collective journey. And those of you who believe in the language of guns, are trying to control your own people by spreading fear and collecting corpses! Do you need a gun to have confidence in yourself?
Perhaps, it’s a very depressing time for you. You worked hard to clear up the confusion and helplessness of this time, that fell upon us to crush the humanity. Then there are climate crises and other issues. And you want success in life. Well, no one can solve these problems alone. Goodness is required at a mass scale to help you succeed. But you keep goodness hostage.
Goodness is primal. We naturally save the family. The fight to prevent and care for the health of citizens around the world is a universal testament to the trust between human beings. Isn’t it a necessary goodness that women provide unsolicited care at home? Have you ever wondered how fifty percent of the citizens of a society practice such goodness? How much social toll was recovered by this collective commitment of women?
I believe that you, there, with a gun in hand, is born with innate goodness: you want to see wrongs righted, justice done, virtue rewarded, and evil punished. There grew a formless shadow and ambiguity within you. It begins to kill the greater good that people hold so dearly. The business of creepy crawling fear has made you its slave.
To you, good deeds, stereotypically, are monotonous and silly. It has been portrayed as so. The language of evil is taught with the game of guilt, rank, power, and unnecessary consumption. Evil crushes a person’s human values in the name of religion, nationality, community, and other fractional identities.
In the twentieth century, popular literature focused on frailty, meanness, crime, revenge. Around the world, evil was planned and shaped into extreme violence. The toll fixed in accordance with time and space. In the age of an ecosystem, our attention is being interrupted and degraded. Former Microsoft executive Linda Stone termed it as “continuous partial attention.”
Each of us must strive to address the inattention within us to have our evil-fighting capacity strengthened. Under the sky, which profoundly share the bright sun, moon, stars, and air, you stand on a spinning wheel of a unique tiny specification, with a gun in your hand. In that awe gesture, if one wants a meaning of life and work, the solution is certainly not the gun. Maybe the language of collective sense of agency, the resistance against evils will give a meaning to life.
Nordic societies have a practice of goodness in charity. As a humanist, for me also the little, small goodness and truths are important. I am for the goodness getting birth in that corner, where lives the poverty of values and thoughts.
At the top of the social pyramid of values is the self-sufficient person. He survives if his senses stand on three more levels below; The values that are associated with emotion, the values that change lives, and the values that make one effective in society.
As a survivor of Covid-19, you are part of the history of the world. Have you just realized that by taking a vaccine, you have engaged yourself in the service of the human race?
Jahanara Nuri, f.d Fristadsförfattare, Linköping