" In the event of a societal emergency, help will be provided first to those who need it most. The majority must be prepared to cope on their own for some time. The better prepared you are, the greater the opportunity you will also have to help others who do not have the same prerequisites."
Just yesterday while waiting for the tram, I couldn't help but notice the advert on the side of the tram stop. It said "Can you manage for three days?" In a very short text, it advised on having enough resources to survive for at least 72 hours in case of crisis. It hasn't been the first time I have seen advice like this.
Living in Sweden has been nothing but idyllic. A clean, modern and progressive society surrounded by nature. Things usually run smoothly and crime, when heard of, is isolated and kept under check. Why is it that on the two years that we have been living here, the above warning has been issued in two different occasions?
There is a unnerving aspect to being warned about something we can't see or feel. I believe in being prepared and I believe in being informed. It is however, impossible not to feel like there's something going on that we aren't being told about. I'll admit it, I'm an X-Files child, the thought about hidden stuff and conspiracies is always fun...until is not. Until we're warned about things. What things? I don't know. I would like to know... would I?
Paranoia aside, I think is important to go back a little and try to see the whole picture. Is it that Sweden knows that something could happen and wants its citizens to be as prepared as possible for it? Or is it that we, coming from anywhere else but Sweden, just don't have the culture of being prepared for no other reason than being prepared? When I think of what scenario is scarier, I honestly don't know what to think.
Do I feel uneasy towards these warnings because the information given is scary? Or do I feel like this because ignorance is bliss? If I can't see it, it can't hurt me scenario. What should be the normal approach towards being informed and prepared? The information presented is clear. It gives precise instructions on what to do and how to act if facing any crisis, being natural disasters or war.
Om Krisen eller Kriget Kommer is an updated pamphlet from the original distributed to every household in Sweden from 1943 to 1991. A new edition has been issued this year and the overall reason is because, according to the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency " We live in a time in which the consequences of extreme weather, IT attacks and terror attacks may cause a breakdown in the function of public services." According to DinSäkerhet, a website about risk and safety and aimed at individuals: " This information is a tool that enables you to take on your responsibilities, but also to be aware of how society works. If you are well-informed and prepared, you can take action and help others if something happens. Responsibility for Sweden's security and preparedness is shared by everyone who lives here."
There are some lines that are particularly powerful inside the leaflet that perfectly reflect the tone of it:
"Every statement that the resistance has ceased is FALSE!"
"Resistance shall be made all the time and in every situation. It depends on You - Your efforts, Your determination, Your will to survive!"
"Sweden wants to defend itself, is able to defend itself and will defend itself! - We never give up!"
The pamphlet is a good reference point that gives advice on many things that everyone should consider, regardless of what country is living. An English version of it can be found here.
Being ready isn't a new thing in Sweden, only new for me. How do you feel about being ready for what we know and more importantly, for that we don't know? I would love to know.