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Swedish Foreign Minister dies from stab wounds

The Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, has died from stab wounds inflicted while she was shopping in the centre of Stockholm. This rather macabre and brutal incident, the murder of a prominent Pro-Euro politician by attacker unknown, reminds us, as in the case of Pim Fortuyn, that the ideas we discuss on blogs like Samizdata, can often go far beyond mere words. Anna Lindh’s death will have repercussions on the future of Europe, which will also go far beyond mere words. Whatever they are, I can only offer my heartfelt sympathy to her family, her friends, and her colleagues, and hope the perpetrator of this appalling crime is brought to justice swiftly. It should never come to this.

53 comments to Swedish Foreign Minister dies from stab wounds

  • Kodiak

    Sad. Really.

    I hope they’ll find the coward criminal.

  • Yes, I certainly hope so. A really awful business.

  • S. Weasel

    Oh, damn. Initially, they made it sound like she wasn’t so badly wounded.

  • Sense of country is a very emotional issue for many. It is sad that people feel so helpless in the fact of the EU onslaught that they would have to resort to this sort of action. I fear that if Blair does not give the Britons a proper say on their European future, this type of thing might happen in the UK.

  • She was an enemy of her country, her death is not to be regretted.

  • Ron

    Andrew,

    You are assuming that it is proved as an intentional anti-EU action as opposed to a madman.

    Nevertheless, how long until the increasingly desperate pro-EU activists paint her as being a martyr to the cause?

  • Moderator:

    Time to warn the trolls.

  • triticale

    It may yet turn out that she merely looked too much like a woman who was fooling around with the wrong husband, or something equally random. I almost hope so.

  • Johnathan

    The person above who said this lady was an enemy of her country and hence deserved her fate is an idiot. Sweden, in case he or she has not been paying attention, happens to be a democracy.

    Andy Duncan’s piece was well said. It must also be said that Sweden has an unfortunate history of high-profile political deaths – remember the PM’s assassination a decade ago?

  • A_t

    Andrew, i was wondering how long it would be before someone came out with some crass anti-euro “well, what do you expect” type justification. No-one said anything of the sort about Pim Fortuyn around here… please have the decency to hold off further “i told you so” or “she had it coming”s.

    It’s like people canting about US foreign policy in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11th. Yes, some stuff may have been a contributory factor, but the fact that some nutter asshole takes a dislike to your policies is absolutely NO reason to change them, and does not necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong.

    Equally though, in all the cases discussed above, having murderous nutters coming against you is no reason to harden your position & refuse to listen to more reasonable people may share some opinions with the assholes.

    At the end of the day, you should allow these idiots *no* time or space, & not allow them to change your opinion either way. That’s the most disempowering, & hence discouraging, attitude you can adopt towards them.

  • S. Weasel

    “Disempowering”? Yow.

  • madne0

    I’m sincerely sad by this vile act, but i can’t help but wondering why did every TV channel i watched immediately started reporting this as a murder by a “anti euro nutter”, when, i belief, there is no evidence pointing in that direction. Strange, no?

  • Kodiak

    A-t + Jonathan,

    I’m 100% with you & I’m appalled at some making humour or sick jokes while the corpse isn’t cold yet…

    There’s hope: all the political adversaries (basically favouring the “no”) of Mrs X (I don’t know her name) have decided not to campaign anymore, in memory.

    I find the Swedes very heartful & respectuous.

  • madne0,

    I doubt your sincerity.

    Johnathan,

    What has Sweden being a democracy got to do with anything? She was quite happy to sell its ‘democracy’ down the EU river.

  • Johnathan

    Sword of Justice, are you saying that those in favour of the EU, single currency, etc, deserve to die?

    Don’t be shy.

  • EU Delenda Est

    The Swedes aren’t going to campaign any more in her memory? They’re going to stifle democracy in some puerile, overwrought, anti-democratic gesture of “respect”? How would she be dishonoured by both parties continuing to fight for what they believe in down to the wire? How dare they rob the Swedish electorate of a continued debate? I wonder how many of the fence-sitters will decide to vote for the euro in her honour. The euro issue is a fight for the future of Sweden. It’s sickening that this lady was murdered and her family deserves sympathy, but I sense a Dianafest coming on.

  • Johnathan,

    I certainly don’t think that people deserve to die. I said her death was ‘not to be regretted’.

    Why be a hypocrite? An enemy is dead; Rejoice!

  • Zathras

    Well, life isn’t fair. John Ashcroft is Attorney General rather than the junior Senator from Missouri now because his opponent died in a plane crash, causing a wave of sympathy for his opponent’s wife who went on to win the election. Norm Coleman was trailing in his Minnesota Senate race when his opponent was killed (also in a plane crash); political speeches made at the funeral caused voters to swing toward Coleman, giving him the election victory.

    I don’t have a comment on Sweden and the EU. I do have sympathy for Mrs. Lindh’s family and friends, and great regret that Sweden, like America and so many other places, seems to be losing a great feature of a free society, namely the ability of people in public life to carry on their lives with everyone else without being surrounded by a security bubble. Terrorists are to blame for some of this, of course, but not for all of it.

  • Zathras

    I should add that this site’s moderators need to filter some of the comments coming in here more aggressively. Alternately they could wait until some posters grow up, but that could take a very long time from what I’ve seen.

  • EU Delenda Est

    I just had a thought – could this be anything to do with today’s date – 9/11? (Admittedly she was attacked on the eve.) Could it be some rogue wannabee terrorist conducting some freelance jihad, to disrupt a democratic process in the evil West, and have nothing to do with the minister’s stance on the euro or anything else?

  • Yes, why is Zathras allowed to parade his sachharine insincere sypathies around the place.

    Champagne’s chilling nicely.

  • Kodiak

    Sword of Justice,

    Your risible attempt to show off as a cheap, would-be cynical gallery-character merely points out how hollow your sense of life does ring…

    If it was humour, then try again. It was exceptionally poor & tasteless.

  • S. Weasel

    Oh, I dunno, Kodiak. Me, I suspect our friend Sword here is you. Y’all have a similar technique for generating personal info in the message block.

    Anyone with access to poster IP care to comment?

  • Kodiak,

    Why am I cynical? I’m honest, all these other bleeding heart hypocrites are cynical.

    I’m just off to order the smorgasbord for tonight’s party.

  • Kodiak

    S. Weasel,

    Thank you for your candour.

    I am NOT “Sword of Justice”.

  • Della

    Maybe her death was just pretty much random:

    Some unconfirmed reports indicated that the tragic attack may have been a purse-snatching gone horribly awry

    Although some are looking to profit from her death:

    BRUSSELS, Sept 11 (Reuters) – The people of Sweden should honour murdered Foreign Minister Anna Lindh by voting in this weekend’s referendum on whether to adopt the euro, Sweden’s European Union Commissioner said on Thursday.

    European Commission President Romano Prodi has made similar comments.

    Since the advantage the No camp has over the Yes camp is fairly small it is possible that the murder of Anna Lindh could lead to the entry of Sweden to the Euro. The history of Europe is littered with things that happened because of assasinations and terrorism, and a lot of the things that happened because of assasinations and terrorism were not good. E.g. World War I started becuase of the assasination of Arch duke Ferdinand, Hilter got abosulte power because of the bombing of the Reichstag, the communists won power in Russia because some of the nicer people in the Tsarist goverment were assasinated + World War I, etc.

  • Kodiak

    Sword of Justice,

    A sense of humility when others’ lives are taken isn’t cynical: it’s a rather natural feeling called sympathy.

  • Just checking IP numbers, Kodiak is definitely not “Sword of Justice”. “Increasingly desperate EU activist” is also “Sword of Justice”, but most of us would have guessed that. Otherwise, “Sword of Justice” is not posting in this thread under any other name.

  • S. Weasel

    Ah. Thanks, Michael. Apologies, Kodiak.

  • A_t that is not what I said. Thanks for the misquote. I said I was not surprised (if it is indeed politically motivated) not that I was for the action, you dolt.

  • Katherine

    I did not like Senator Wellstone, but I shudder at the thought at rejoicing at his death. The only people whos death invoke such feelings in my breast (and it is a grim rejoicing) are the likes of Uday and Quesay.

    Very sad story. Hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Sword of Justice, you say the woman’s death was not to be regretted. In other words, you applaud the murder of somone with whom you happen to disagree – in this case, membership of a currency bloc.

    I leave it to the other readers of this site to ponder the depravity of such a viewpoint. And BTW, I oppose the euro and the EU constitution, but take the old-fashioned view that such issues should be resolved via the ballot box. Clearly Sword of Justice thinks differently. If he thinks I am misrepresenting such views, maybe SoJ should be a bit more careful about the use of the English language.

    Gloating about the death of a democractic politician is not, in my book, an honorable thing to do.

  • Johan

    EU Delenda Est mentioned something that I was going to say; there is a risk that people will “sympathy” vote on Sunday, resulting in a Yes instead of No. While I strongly despise the Social Democratic Party (Anna Lindh’s party), and any other incarnation of left-wing politics, that does not mean I don’t feel sympathy for her family and relatives. Anyone feeding on her death, wether it be “it wont be regretted” or any pro-EURO nut suggesting she was a martyr for the EU or any other mad idea of what her death means, is simply and plainly bereft of anything that even remotely resembles a brain. To all on the pro-EURO side – you disgrace her if you use her death to win votes.

    If I could vote (not in the right age yet) I would vote NO, even if armageddon would knock on the door and all hell would break lose.

  • Chris Josephson

    Why are people calling for posts to be removed?

    The opinions expressed may be vile, infantile, and very offensive but is that a reason to ask for censorship? As long as it’s not spam, what’s wrong with it?

  • Johan,

    I’ll bet on the common sense of Swedes, by and large, to resist this sort of mawkish and short-sighted misuse of their votes. The legitimacy of a resulting “yes” would be attacked for years to come. The Swedish electorate is mature enough to know this perfectly well.

    I have to say this faith in Swedish democracy is a new-found item as far as am concerned. Until quite recently I had them down as the most liberally crazy people in the western world. I was wrong and I think, despite this tradegy, they’ll prove the point with an entirely sane “no” vote in a couple of days.

    Of course, if they don’t I’m with Sword of Justice (and he isn’t me, either).

  • Döbeln

    Some on-location commentary: (I walked past the site less than an hour after the attack. Visited it again today…)

    Some points:

    1. The impression that the injuries sustained by Lindh weren’t very serious was due to the laziness of international news agencies, that failed to update as more accurate reports of her condition came in. She suffered massive internal bleeding as well as injuries to vital organs, and was operated on more or less non-stop for 12 hours before she died.

    2. Who did it? I lean towards a political motive. The “purse snatching” theory isn’t getting much traction over here. The killer basically chased Lindh down, knocked her to the floor, and stabbed her repeatedly, all in a short time span. He was wearing a hooded sweater and a baseball cap – very practical if you are looking not to be recognized. The weapon was dropped at the scene. The killer disappeared swiftly from the area, stashing his clothes in a garbage bin along his escape route. ( I hope they can pull some DNA from those…)

    My money is on a far-left (or possibly far right) nutcase. Unlike Britain, opposition to the EU is mostly an anti-globo left thing here in Sweden.

    3.

    Why not continue the campaign? Well – it’s not as if any new arguments are going to surface. Furthermore, most politicians, many of who had a quite strong relationship to Lindh are hardly feeling up to hitting each other over the head in some debate, something that is quite understandable.

    4.
    Lindh also leave behind two young boys (9 and 12 years old), and a husband (Bo Lindh). A guy I work with knows her husband, and attests that yes, she was indeed a very nice person.

    5.
    And finally, to those gloating over her death. Fuck you.
    I might agree with you to some extent over the euro, but you are way out of line on this one.

    Regards, Döbeln

    -Stabil som fan!

  • Dave F

    I join those who have expressed their horror and disgust at this latest manifestation of a world where any act in pursuit of a personal agenda is possible.

    However, I do not think Prodi can escape this category either in view of his blatant attempt to cash in politically before the corpse is cold.

    Indeed, if people were to be persuaded to vote Aye on the basis of this murder, conspiracy theorists would have their biggest field day since 9/11.

  • Johan

    Guessedworker,

    counting how many times the maturity of the Swedish people have reached rock-bottom, not to mention the common sense, you can’t rely on those two. Of course, I hope and wish it’ll be a “No” on Sunday, all I said was that there’s a potential risk of many, not all and perhaps not enough to overthrow the “No” side’s lead, will vote “Yes”. Not to forget, lots of people haven’t decided yet, and something like this can be the turning point for many.

    Döbeln,

    nej men se där, en till svenne :)

  • Kodiak

    S. Weasel,

    Don’t worry. I know I may sound offensive, tedious, irrelevant & vicious to you & others. I may be wrong, but I’m sincere.

    PS: I don’t use 2 identities because I know I’m being watched carefully.

  • Döbeln

    “nej men se där, en till svenne :)”

    Vi finns överallt! =P

    / döbeln

    -Stabil som fan!

  • R.C. Dean

    Based on the details above, this was an assassination. I don’t think there is any question that this killing will increase the “yes” vote due to the sympathy factor. This kind of thing always works to the benefit of the followers or cause of the dead person in the short run (even in the Wellstone example noted above, his replacement came into the race with very high numbers, notwithstanding the incredibly tasteless funeral rally that subsequently dragged him back down to earth).

    So, the question is – was it a really stupid “no” radical who just shot his cause in the foot, or a really cold and clever “yes” radical who will likely reap a nice bounce in the polling numbers for his cause?

  • Kodiak

    R C Dean,

    Your question is the right one.

    Except it’s not the problem: Swedes, only, will settle all those interrogations.

    The “no”-supporters’ decision not to campaign anymore is all the more respectable.

  • Döbeln

    “So, the question is – was it a really stupid “no” radical who just shot his cause in the foot,”

    More likely someone enraged and / or deranged enough to shoot his own side in the foot. The nazis and commies, not groups known for their cool heads, have flocked to the No banner in Sweden, so I can’t say I would be too surprised if this indeed was a radical no-activist running amok.

    As for the ‘yes-supporter’ theory, the extremely personal and ‘down and dirty’ method of attack makes that extremely unlikely. It takes a lot of hate to kill like this…

  • However, the matyr approach does happen. I rather doubt it happened here. I think it is very good of the NO campaign to stop campaigning. I agree with the fact they are going ahead with the vote, it is fitting tribute. However, I think the YES campaign should not campaign either.

  • I can’t understand why no one is calling for the banning of knives, of all knives longer than 3″, or that only registered “cooks” be allowed to own knives, and so on.

    I don’t know much about the late Mrs. Lindh, but I find myself curiously conflicted — when Sen. Wellstone was killed in the plane crash, I felt terrible for his family (less so after his “funeral”).

    But I rejoiced that the American polity was one socialist less.

    While everyone was moaning about Reichsfuhrer John Ashcroft, few people spared a thought for the malevolent statism of people like Wellstone — which was just as bad, or perhaps worse because it was cloaked in the mantle of “inclusiveness” or “generosity”, when in fact it was neither.

  • Döbeln

    “However, I think the YES campaign should not campaign either.”

    They have suspended all activities as well.

    As for the killer, it appears more and more as if it’s the work of a lunatic.

    / Döbeln

  • Dave F

    I see the conspiracy theories started even sooner than I predicted they would. Here, through the looking glass, you have to run very fast just to stay in one place …

  • R.C. Dean

    “As for the killer, it appears more and more as if it’s the work of a lunatic.”

    Sadly, that does not rule out the possibility that it was politically motivated.

  • Verity

    As is so often the case, Mark Steyn has noticed the dog that didn’t bark. As he says in today’s Telegraph, the Swedish minister was murdered in a department store full of people. The murderer chased her up a flight of escaltor stairs, for god’s sake! He then began stabbing her, not once, but several times, while presumably, she fought for her life. And the babies of the ultimate nanny state stood and watched helplessly. Not one person in the crowd of shoppers went to her aid. Not one person tried to grab her attacker as he left the store. They all just watched in frozen horror. Having gone up the escalator, he had to get back to the ground floor and make his way through the store to the door, yet not one person shouted “Stop him!” I think most of us recoil instinctively from “the Swedish model”, but this nightmareish incident demonstrates how right our instincts are. This is what Tony Blair is trying to force mould Britain into.

  • May be the murderer sympathized with the Attac movement in Sweden and had made statements while sitting together with “friends” and then had to
    show that he was not just talking.

  • I would say to “Verity” that your description of Swedish people and the Swedish Model making people non reacting is true. But … Tony Blaire has shown in Iraq that he is not the kind of labour politicians that should be mixed up with the Swedish ones.

  • sam

    no one should die that way but was she going to let in more people from other countrys who do not belong there to start with as we are all sick of people just holding out their hands as if it is their birth right to come to another country and then tell use we are racists because they can not get their sisters brothers and all the rest of their family and friends in ,enough is enough stop the dark skin tide .