When I went to bed last night, the news from Norway was bad enough. At that point, 7 had died at the site of the Central Oslo explosion & the toll from the Utoeya massacre was around 20. When I woke up this morning, that figure had risen to over 80.
I feel so much for every single parent who saw their sons or daughters off to that camp. Norwegian culture seems in many ways so much more mature than ours & it punches above its weight in its contribution to peace & tolerance in the world. Young people being involved in politics here can be regarded as a bit weird, a bit mad, by their peers and even their families and it may be so in Norway. Nobody would ever expect, though, that attending an event designed at developing political knowledge and skills would turn out to be dangerous.
But for some reason, Anders Behring Breivik wanted to punish those young people who were so engaged in the democratic process. We may find out, but never understand, what was going on in his head. Psychopaths capable of cruelly despatching their fellow human beings can come from any ethnic background and espouse any manner of religious and political belief to justify themselves. Thankfully such individuals are few and far between.
It's so sad to think that so many of the next generation of potential leaders, at a camp in a beautifully tranquil location, were wiped out in an instant. I'm heartened, though, by the robustly liberal response from the Norwegian Prime Minister who pledged that this would not change the democratic heart of the Norwegian people. The appropriate tribute to those young people is to do more to encourage peace and tolerance, to challenge ideologies which threaten those things.
My heart goes out to the Norwegian people in general and particularly anyone affected by yesterday's horrific events.
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