On Remembrance Day in 2016 some neo-Nazis decided to bomb a leftist centre in Sweden.
I don’t know how solemn or important Remembrance Day is in your country. In Canada, it is still marked in towns and cities across the country. It used to be a civic holiday (it is only for government departments now) but stores remain closed until after noon that day. Tens of thousands observe a minute of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
I have attended so many Remembrance Day commemorations in so many places. Perhaps the most striking for me was back in 2015 on Vimy Ridge, the site of an iconic battle for Canadian forces in April 1917 during WWI. My eldest daughter Erin and I were there and I recall an overwhelming sense of sadness.
How insulting is it then when the modern day so-called neo-Nazis carry out a terrorist attack on November 11?
Yes, Vimy Ridge marks an important date in Canadian military history (four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together for the first time), but more than 10,600 Canadians were killed and wounded in the assault. The memorial itself is inscribed with the names of the 11, 285 Canadians who died in WWI and who have no grave.
The ceremonies note the sacrifices made to stop totalitarian and fascist regimes from expanding. In WWI it was the German Austro-Hungarian Empire and its allies. In WWII it was Nazi Germany and its likeminded partners. For some, the Nazis were an embodiment of pure evil.
Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM)
How insulting is it then when the modern day so-called neo-Nazis carry out a terrorist attack on November 11? That is exactly what happened on this day in 2016. A neo-Nazi anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant group known as the ‘Nordic Resistance Movement’ (NRM) placed a bomb outside the Syndikaliskt Forum Kafe, a well-known far-left haunt. Thankfully no one was injured in that blast.
A few months later Swedish police arrested three NRM members suspected of planting a home-made bomb outside an asylum centre in Gothenburg on January 5. The blast caused serious leg injuries to a Swedish immigration officer. Yet another device was found on 25 January next to a temporary accommodation centre for refugees that houses up to 140 people, but the police defused the device and no one was hurt.
It is hard to understand how the depravity that was Nazism has appeal today. It is nevertheless true that there are those inspired by this hateful ideology and the pressure is on law enforcement and security intelligence agencies to identify, investigate and neutralise them.
We have a duty not just to the past and all those who died to protect our freedoms but to our future to mark November 11. Lest we forget.