A popular Danish proverb reminds us not to lose a sense of proportion. In the hype of the past weekend, this is an important point to remember.
This week, Denmark is recovering from the horror of the Copenhagen shootings – arguably Denmark’s worst terror attack in decades. The mayhem came to a climactic end. Three people, including the perpetrator, were killed and five police officers injured in the line of duty.
In the wake of the event, we learned that thankfully this was not a large-scale international terrorist attack. No terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility, and there have been no further repercussions. Instead, it seems that the attacks were singlehandedly carried out by a born-and-bred Dane with Palestinian roots – a misfit with a criminal record and a history of gang related violence.
The action was a tragedy – a cruel and cold-hearted fiasco in which two innocent people were killed. When a man with an automatic rifle is firing numerous rounds of ammunition throughout the streets of Copenhagen, somebody is likely to be hit.
However, if we consider it a copycat attack of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris earlier last month, it was poorly executed and off-target. These shootings had the potential to be a massacre, but thanks to the Danish federal police and a well-devised city surveillance system, it was not.
The police are to be praised for their efforts in capturing and killing the gunman. We should consider it a blessing in disguise that the culprit opened fire when approached and was therefore shot by police at the scene, so we can now rest assured that we do not have another martyr in our prisons to worry about.
As we try to consider how we can move forward from this tragedy, we must educate ourselves on the cultural barriers present in Denmark instead of letting this man beat us. Something needs to be changed. We, as a society, should work hard to address these issues hand-in-hand with Denmark’s Muslim community. And likewise, the Muslim community in Denmark should reach out to one another to prevent these tragedies before they accelerate into catastrophes.
The reaction from the Muslim community has been encouraging thus far. However, it is crucial that we reach out to the marginalised one percent of their society that upholds radical views and sympathises with extremist Islamic ideals. Perhaps the issue is best reached from within the Muslim community.
Shaken but not destroyed
So what’s next for Denmark? It was a tragic and unnecessary event, but it does not call for the mobilisation of troops or for pompous politicians to turn the actions of this weekend into a revitalised election campaign. We know about the tensions, but right now we can do nothing better than stand together in solidarity and move on with our lives.
It was a tragedy, but not a catastrophe. Denmark is shaken but not destroyed. Prevention is better than cure, so let us consider it a wake-up call and work on building a sense of cultural understanding and compatibility in this wonderful country.
Remember! Vi spiser brød til (we eat bread with our meal).