This very day, 25 years ago, prime minister Olof Palme was shot dead in a street in the central parts of Stockholm. The time was 11.21 pm CET. In some of the brain-dead right-wing circles, as for instance among some of the inbred nobilities left over from an ancient and bloody period of this country’s history, champagne bottles were opened. Happy cheering was also later reported to have taken place in some police quarters.
As the brain-dead celebrated, the normal Swedes were chocked by the murder. Never have so many people in this country cried at the same time as on that following day. A mountain of flowers was built up on the side-walk where Palme died. Suddenly immense love and admiration for Palme was expressed by the ordinary Swede. This probably came as a surprise for many, especially in the bourgeoisie.
In his life-time Olof Palme was a controversial figure who often took a strong stand for people in need. Among many other things he engaged Sweden in support for the freedom fighters in South Africa, at a time when USA and others backed the apartheid regime and viewed Nelson Mandela’s ANC as a notorious terrorist organization.
Palme’s early and outspoken criticism of the Vietnam war made him unique among high-level politicians. His engagement for the poor was consistent and rewarded him with seemingly more admiration in the developing world than in his home country. A number of streets and places are named after him in cities around the globe.
The right-wing celebrations of his death was just the natural end-point of their hate towards Palme. Together with the neo-Nazis they had excelled in smear, defamation and lies for centuries, and some of it had probably affected the lumpenproletariat, but also parts of the middle class. What the normal, working Swede thought of Palme was hidden in obscurity. On the day of the murder the true feelings came forward: It was love. Palme’s fight for the poor ones among human beings and his struggle for peace was at the heart of the Swedish mind.
Who did the shooting? Probably an intelligent psychopath and drug-abuser with a violent and criminal background, now dead. His name was Christer Pettersson, and he was identified by Olof Palme’s wife, who had seen him at a meters distance. The police succeeded in screwing up the identification procedure, so that evidence was cancelled by the court. Pettersson was also seen by others near the crime scene before the shooting.
One of many circumstantial evidences was Pettersson’s connection with a Swedish unabomber imprisoned for blowing up a prosecutors home and for two other bombs, killing two persons. This man was a notorious hater of government and Palme, and had in a testament sworn to carry out a bloody revenge on the society for his time in jail. He suffered from cancer but had tied acquaintance with Pettersson in prison before he died. Pettersson was convicted in the first instance, but acquitted in the final one, on grounds of insufficient evidence. The police investigation still goes on.