“Love Bombing” Counter-Attack Against Nazi Vandalism
The Stockholm community has hit back against hate by “Love Bombing” a school that was vandalised with Nazi graffiti over last weekend.
Vasa Real, a secondary school in central Stockholm, has more than 800 students between the ages of 11 and 15. Some of the pupils are Jewish, and while they still follow the same curriculum as everyone else in Sweden, they also learn Hebrew and Jewish studies.
When the children arrived for school last Monday morning, they found it was covered with spray-painted Nazi graffiti – the number 1488 that is associated with the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler” and white power, the words “Disgusting Jews” and swastikas covering the building.
Staff members closed the school for the morning while the hate was scrubbed from the walls, and they tried to figure out what to do. It isn’t known who is behind the graffiti, and the matter is still under investigation.
On Monday night, youth members of the Folkpartiet liberalerna (Swedish Liberal Party) gathered together and organised a “counter attack” against the anti-semitism. “We wanted the pupils at the school to be greeted by love in the morning, instead of all the hate they saw on Monday,” explained Bawar Esmail, a member of the group.
Bawar explained that the group cut heart shapes out of paper and wrote messages on the hearts. Some of the hearts had messages such as “Love comes in all shapes and colours” or “Love overcomes hate”, while other messages said that there are 1000 times more lovers in Sweden than haters. “[We] put them up on the doors and in the hallways at the school. People passing by joined in,” said Bawar. He added that he hoped the messages gave the pupils at the school some comfort in light of the experience.
People also showed their support over social media sites, using the hashtag “#1000xFler”, which literally translates to “1000 times more”.
Vasa Real wasn’t the only school hit over the weekend as a nearby school faced a similar fate from the Nazi-vandals. “This is the first time there has been anti-Semitic graffiti aimed at Vasa Real and its Jewish students,” said Lena Posner-Körösi, president of Sweden Jewish Communities. She explained that there has been a growing number of incidents following the same theme, though, across Sweden and the rest of Europe.
“I’m an immigrant myself,” explained Bawar, as if in explanation as to why he wants to help, “and racism really frustrates me.”
There are a thousand times more lovers than haters in Sweden, and they are willing to fight back.