Safety and Security at Eurovision

🇧🇪 We zijn België. Nous somme Bruxelles. 🇧🇪

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Our prayers and thoughts are with Belgium today.


Again, on another day after another senseless act of violence, of terrorism, we find ourselves mourning for the loss, rebuilding what has been destroyed, and trying to understand the pointless. There’s nothing more I can say that I have not already in the wake of the attack on Paris.

I will say, this further emphasizes the need for a coherent, thorough, and visible security presence in Stockholm. The Eurovision Song Contest is a major cultural event that brings all of Europe together. Not to mention that Sweden is an EU country and is known for its super-liberal policies as well as discrimination and violence towards Muslims and folks of Arab descent. This means that SVT cannot simply settle for rent-a-cop security guards or the Globen’s own security force. The city of Stockholm and the country of Sweden need to treat Eurovision as a high-risk event. There will be thousands of fans, many of whom will be aggravated, anxious, and aggressive adult men. Not only do we the fans need to be managed (and much better than in Austria) but if there is not a strong structure in place, then it will be incredibly easy for someone to sneak in with something they should not. SVT and Globen need to not only devise a strong security process, but communicate it.

SVT and Globen have the emails of every ticketholder.Swedish Flag Map They need to send out a dedicated email to all attendees discussing security policies and the what we can expect and rules we need to follow for attending the Contest. Not only that, but also at the arena, they need to have plentiful, visible signage for folks to see with diagrams and words in English, French, Russian, and Swedish.

But, additionally, they need to have a visible police presence. Maybe this is because I’m American, but seeing police. Seeing them, their cars, their dogs, their gear (including weapons) conveys that safety is a top priority and that they have people in position to protect us. And I’m saying that as a black man in the US.

Stockholm, please: Give us police and give us lots of them!

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6 responses

  1. Mandy Baldwin

    There are some countries which shouldn’t be allowed to host important occasions in these high-risk times, and Sweden is one of them. The problem is, Sweden thinks it is 1974.
    What Stockholm – and indeed all of Sweden – needs during the whole of the week of the ESC, is the level of security which my own country, the UK, provided during the 2012 Olympics – ie., enough to scare the beard off any little toad who dreams of that “Alan Snackbar” moment he gets to see infidels suffer.
    But naturally – Sweden being Sweden – that is not what we will get. Because – Sweden being Sweden – they are a bunch of smug idiots, with an agenda to prove that all those who fear terrorists are nasty xenophobes; and they will keep it all as muted and low-key as possible – probably even giving security/temporary jobs to asylum-seekers or refugees, without checks, just to prove that they are inclusive and everyone is a big fluffy bunny rabbit.
    After all – they wouldn’t want to upset any random dodgy-looking young men of arab descent, by having a police presence and therefore suggesting that they mean harm to anyone, would they?
    The Scandis are inept at the best of times – this is a country whose head of state was gunned down in a cinema queue, the bullet had to be picked up by a by-stander, and it was 12 hours before police road-blocks were put up. But now, with the Swede’s customary smug idiocy and ineptness at fever-pitch, and the theme of the contest this year being “refugees” – instead of “having fun” – they will be on even more of a mission to prove that all those angry young men streaming across borders, and known to have IS connections, mean us all no harm and just need a cuddle and a piece of cheesecake.
    After all, there is a chance that nobody will be killed and if that happens, they get to continue being smug “pacifists”. And by God, if that means risking lives in an effort to support their own smug self-image, then so be it. They will take that chance. After all, it will mainly be white Europeans who die – and we are talking about a country whose ruling party think it is “racist” to deport men who commit brutal gang rapes.
    And I’m not “a black man in America.” I’m a woman whose precious children are going to that stupid country to watch that stupid contest at the mercy of those stupid people – and won’t sleep easy until they are home safe.

    Like

    April 17, 2016 at 6:22 PM

    • First, thank you so much for reading the blog. I think you raise some important points about the need for a visible police presence that shows that Stockholm is taking security seriously. Which I agree, this needs to happen. I also agree that sometimes, politicians allow their own pride and opinions to outweigh the very real needs of the people.
      Where we disagree is in some of your rhetoric. The fact is fewer than 1% of Muslims ascribe to the extremist positions that lead to terrorist activity. And, the majority of people of Arab-descent within the Scandinavian countries (and throughout the Western World) face extreme amounts of discrimination and unfair profiling. It would be irresponsible of any government agency, particularly those dealing with security, to hire anyone without proper background checks.
      My personal view, in this regard, is 1) security forces need to be well vetted, 2) employment processes need to stay in effect, so that only those who can legally work in Sweden can get jobs working security, and 3) Sweden has had more issues dealing with domestic people being violence than anything else. We also know that the most effective way of combating extremism is welcoming people to be a part of the community. Extremist groups feed on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiments in the West.
      Finally, I want to address your role as a mother. I understand the fear for the safety of your kids. I know that my parents feel similarly. I want to say the same thing that I have told them this year (and last year when I went to Austria): “I refuse to cower to the terrorist by skipping the thing in the world for which I am most passionate. My faith allows me to travel without fear. God will protect me here on Earth or He will call me home; no amount of hiding or reservations will prevent that. I can just as easily die in the shower as I can in Stockholm (actually, that’s more likely).”
      Ultimately, I do not know you or your family, but I am praying for your kids (and all the ESC fans) to be safe while in Stockholm. I hope that y’all have had the chance to talk about safety and that you are using technology to stay connected throughout Eurovision week (the arenas usually have [slow] wifi, so they can even send messages from the Globen).

      Like

      April 22, 2016 at 4:21 PM

  2. Ariel

    Have you contancted her about your concerns? She is the head of security in Stockholm during the contest. I’m also very worried about the security issues. It might be good to e-mail her and get some answers. If she gets back to you, please let us know..

    EDIT: I removed the email address because I don’t feel comfortable posting it online. I have left the remainder of the comment untouched

    Like

    April 25, 2016 at 12:44 PM

  3. Pingback: Safety and Security at Eurovision – Revisited | Follow EO on Twitter: @escobsession

  4. Ariel

    Great 🙂

    Like

    April 25, 2016 at 3:59 PM

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