Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Swedish Foreign Minister Stabbed

From the BBC:

Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh has been repeatedly stabbed in an attack in a Stockholm department store.

Doctors carried out emergency surgery on what were described as serious knife injuries.

"She has stab wounds in the chest, stomach and arms and is being operated on now, but the wounds are not life-threatening," police spokeswoman Stina Wessling told Reuters.

Prime Minister Goran Persson said: "The attack on her is an attack on our open society and because of this I am feeling great anger and dismay."

[............]

Police were said to be searching for a man wearing a camouflage jacket who fled from the store, and denied reports that a man was being held.

"There is nothing pointing at a political motive right now," said police spokesman Bjoern Pihlblad.

However, Mr Persson said security had been tightened around government buildings.

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

Ms Lindh, 46, had been playing a leading a role in the campaign, which the government appears likely to lose.

Why would anyone do this? Was this man simply insane? I can't help thinking that there is a political motive at work, despite the denials of the Swedish police. I don't think it has anything to do with the established political parties or the campaigning groups as such; most probably, some rogue operator, along the lines of Pim Fortuyn's murderer, might have decided to take things into his own hands.

What bothers me most about this attack, apart from the sheer brutality of the deed, is that the Swedish public is likely to believe that the attacker was motivated by anti-euro feelings, and will therefore rally to the pro-Euro camp in the upcoming vote, based purely on the sympathy factor. Should that scenario play out, this sick brute will have done more to darken the future of Europe than he could ever have dreamed possible.