Terrified Capital: Terror Strikes Copenhagen

I’m going to preface this by saying that when it comes to terror I always try to keep religion out of it. Religion tends to, unfairly, cloud terrorism and events involving terrorists, so, no, religion won’t be a part of this post. The ultimate goal of this post is not to blame any group of people. That’s important for you, the reader, to understand. Today I’m speaking to you not as simply a passionate political and cinematic nerd, no today I am speaking to you as a Dane.

I will always call Copenhagen my home. I am from Copenhagen – born and raised – it made me who I am today, for better or worse. I walk the streets of Copenhagen every day, even though I don’t live there anymore, I chose to study in Copenhagen – it’s the city that I love more than any other.

During the Valentine’s Day weekend of 2015 terrorism once again became a national topic – this time due to an attack on a freedom we hold dear, a very real attack, indeed. It all started in Østerbro, a part of Copenhagen I am particularly familiar with. Shots were fired at a building housing Lars Vilks, a controversial cartoonist, and the French Ambassador to Denmark. Neither of these men was hurt. The Danish police acted quickly, they treated it as a terrorist attack, and they shot and killed the supposed terrorist on the morning of February 15th, 2015.

The suspected perpetrator managed to murder two men, one at a synagogue, one at the event-building housing Vilks and the ambassador, while injuring five others. There are a ton of questions still to be answered – we still don’t know for sure whether any other terrorist is plotting to finish the attack that the supposed perpetrator ‘failed’ to deliver completely. If anything, however, he/she managed to bring fear back into the hearts of Danes – and all people of Copenhagen.

No, I will not give out the name of the perpetrator. Firstly, we still don’t know for sure whether he/she was the attacker – or the only attacker – and secondly, I don’t wish to give fame to the name of a terrorist. He or She doesn’t deserve any time in the spotlight.

Remember how many times Denmark has been declared the happiest nation of all? Yeah, I doubt that’ll happen again. I fear that we, as a people, will mistrust each other – I fear that this is the beginning of new cynicism. That Denmark will change because of this.

But we mustn’t. Just like the terrorist attacks in Paris, France – Je Suis Charlie – we mustn’t cower in fear. We need to rise again, not change our ways – but become stronger as a result of this. Freedom of Speech and Expression is one of the most important freedoms – and one we cannot let go of. Danes are strong. When we rise again – and we will – we must not bow down to extremists, terrorists and the like. Together we are strong. Denmark. Europe. The World.

Here at the end of the post, I’d like to thank some people. Firstly, the Danish Police Officers – they did extremely well in handling this attack – and I am proud of these men and women. Secondly, the French people, the ambassador, the French Minister of Interior – Bernard Cazeneuve – and the French journalists. Finally, the people, politicians and the like that have chosen to stand with us Danes. Together we are strong.

Libération Front Page, February 16th 2015. ("We Are Danes")
Libération Front Page, February 16th 2015. (“We Are Danes”)

I’m Jeffrey Rex

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