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The Day Norway Lost Its Innocence

July 27, 2011

I’ve been meaning to do a little post on last Friday’s horrific events in Oslo and at Utøya, but to be honest it’s taken me this long to start to feel normal enough to do it. The last few days have truly been surreal. The sense of collective grief is tangible – tearstained faces, people not sleeping, not eating. I’ve not been able to watch the news without crying, and I’ve not been able to stop myself from watching them. We’re all exhausted.

Norway is a small country and it’s inevitable that most of us will know someone who knows someone that was injured or killed. The bomb went off next to the government offices where both my cousins worked, but thankfully they were on holiday at the time. Others have not been so lucky.

I lived in London at the time of the July 7th bombings back in 2005, and as devestating as that time was for us all, I never felt the intense grief all Norwegians have experienced over the last few days. The sheer scale of the terrorist attacks, the coldblooded execution of young children and the visible damage to the areas in Oslo where I go out, where I go shopping, where I or any of my friends and family regularly find themselves at any given time – is beyond belief.

What I do feel now, which is comparible to what happened that horrible summer of 2005, is a sense of unity, people being more considerate of eachother and a strong willingness to let these events change us for the better. Facebook groups have been popping up urging us to show understanding and tolerance rather than contempt towards his defense lawyer and family and to answer back by exercising your right to vote. Throughout this whole ordeal our political leaders and royal family has urged us to keep calm and not rush to point fingers.  Norway’s answer to these atrocious events is more love, more democracy, more multiculturalism and more tolerance. Hopefully this will be the lasting legacy of these tragic events.

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