31 July 2011

Norway in mourning

The flower garden outside Oslo Domkirke (Oslo Cathedral).

Outside the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament).

In Grubbegata. "Vi vil aldri glemme." ("We will never forget".)

In Akersgata, one of the roads that leads to the government offices.

One of the government buildings, where the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Justice and Police held office.

Late Friday night (29 July) I came home from a 3 weeks' long vacation to a capital very different from the one I left… The city I live in and love has got a scar it will take a long, long time to heal. The whole nation has got a scar. Norway is in mourning.

Yesterday I went with my family to downtown Oslo to see with my own eyes the damage the car bomb did to the government offices and surrounding areas on 22 July and to lay down flowers at the flower garden outside Oslo domkirke (Oslo Cathedral). A way of working through the shock and grief one feels after the 22 July terror acts in Oslo and at Utøya.

The terror acts carried out by Anders Behring Breivik were targeted against the government of Norway and the Worker's Youth League's (AUF) summer camp at Utøya, but the whole nation was affected.

It is almost impossible to add anything of substance to everything that has been written in forms of newspaper commentaries and blog articles as well as in the social media after the tragedy that struck our country. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims.

In the midst of this monstrous tragedy it has still been comforting to see how the Norwegian people have reacted in such a dignified manner – it has been wonderful to witness the unity and compassion the Norwegian have shown. It has been good to see true leadership carried out by the prime minister. And it has also been good to see how the royal family has shared the sorrow and grief of the people. The royals have met the AUF members and the families of the victims at the temporary reception centre at Sundvolden Hotel, they have attended mourning services, visited hospitals, held speeches and appeals. But first of all they have offered a shoulder to cry on, shown empathy and compassion.

It has also been comforting to see how the whole world has expressed sympathy and shared our grief. In times like these we need to stand united shoulder to shoulder.


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