I guarantee my Valentine’s Day was way worse than yours – Saturday morning, I woke up to a notification from CNN, stating there had been a terror attack in Copenhagen. Upon further investigation I found out that it was still ongoing, as the terrorist had escaped and was now on the loose, and still armed, in the streets of my home city.
While many of you were probably celebrating (or protesting) a day dedicated to love, I was glued to my TV and computer screens, trying to obtain as much information as possible about this hateful action. 1 person had been killed and 3 wounded, when a gunman opened fire at a speaker event, debating free speech and blasphemy. Later that evening, a second attack was launched near a synagogue in downtown Copenhagen, where the terrorist killed another civilian and harmed two other police officers, before once again escaping.
Having just moved to New York a few years ago, I wasn’t present during the horrible attack you all experienced in 2001, and I am in no way trying to compare the two events. But I do now understand the pain and despair of having someone attack your home, your culture and your values much better than I did prior to Saturday’s events.
Much like the 9/11 attacks, our police officers went beyond and above what you could ever expect. Their ability to track down and kill this despicable human being, while keeping the citizens of Copenhagen safe is something I will forever be thankful for. I am also extremely thankful for the heroic action of Dan Uzan, who lost his life as he protected a synagogue full of bar mitzvah-guests from the terrorist. Because of him, numerous lives were saved and he should serve as an inspiration to us all to always stand up for what is right.
Ever since I woke up Saturday my feelings have been ranging from fear to anger, but I have now landed at appreciation, and have managed to stay in this positive mindset for almost 24 hours straight. Having seen, not just my fellow citizens stand together towards this despicable crime, but also having people from around the world supporting us throughout this attack warms my heart and I am confident that it is due to these great people we will win the fight against terror.
The only way for terrorism to prevail is by giving into the fear it tries to push onto us. After all, if they were just trying to get rid off anyone who didn’t think their twisted thoughts, they would probably have dropped a nuclear bomb on us a long time ago. Instead, they are attempting to bully us into accepting their fucked up* reality. But as I have come to learn these last few days, the more they attack us, the stronger we get as a community and as a global unity.
When the calendar hits the fourteenth day of February next year, it will still be Valentine’s Day for all of you, but for Denmark and myself, it will be a reminder of the day terror entered our lives. I suggest that the best way to counterattack this event is to smile more and love more, not just on February 14th, but on every day of the year. Hug yo kids, hug yo wife. Hug a stranger, because why not? We live in a free world after all, and it will stay that way, in large due to the great amount of fine quality people it holds.
I want to thank those of you who have reached out to me personally during this time and of course those who have kept Copenhagen in their thoughts and prayers over the weekend. We are shaken, but not stirred and though I doubt this terror plot is the only we will ever see, we will keep coming out on top. We are fighters, we are winners.
We are Copenhagen. Always.
* Maybe not appropriate language for an educational blog, but I’m exercising my right to free speech, deal with it.