One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests. — Anders B Breivik
Our answer to violence is even more democracy more humanity, but not more naiveté. — Norway PM
Back in Oslo. City center almost totally deserted. Large areas closed off. Police everywhere. Never seen Oslo like this. — Rune Thomas Ege
Soldiers guarding “key objects, possible targets” according to police. Not a usual sight in Oslo. — Rune Thomas Ege
Catched a glimpse of the Govment bldgs again. Without the people, blood, sirens and media, damage looks even more frightening. — Rune Thomas Ege
At least two buses carrying soldiers from HM King’s Guard close to expl site. Will replace police officers working since the blast. — Rune Thomas Ege
05.22. Sunrise in Oslo. People slowly waking up to ubeleivable news of at least 87 dead. Another day, but a totally new world. — Rune Thomas Ege
The first I learnt of the tragedy in Norway, was a message from Paulo Coelho quoting the Norwegian Prime Minister. But it was only later, hearing the news, a bomb blast in Oslo city centre, shooting on an island, that I fully understood the context.
Last night the death toll stood at seven killed in the bomb blast, around ten killed in the shooting spree on the island.
I listened to the BBC World News until the early hours of the morning.
I heard first hand accounts of people jumping into the sea and trying to escape by swimming to the mainland, of youngsters hiding behind bushes, tweeting to their friends, begging them not to call them back as it would highlight where they were hiding.
This morning I was shocked to learn the death toll on the island had risen to at leat 80! Then the Norwegian police said the death toll had reached 84. Later they said they expected the death toll was expected to rise as not everyone was accounted for. They also said a suspect had been arrested, he was described as a Christian fundamentalist.
I heard more eyewitness accounts. People lay amongst the dead hoping that would save them. It did not. The killer went over and blasted them in the head with a shotgun. One group ran from the killer and locked themselves in a cabin. Eventually the killer gave up and went is search of easier prey. To their horror they then saw an open window, luckily the killer did not.
What has struck me is how measured those who have spoken have been, not only those who directly experienced the horror, but also the Norwegian Prime Minister. I heard sadness, but no rage, no calls for vengeance, but a steely determination that this would not effect Norway as an open democratic society.
I have quoted Rune Thomas Ege because he gives a good idea of how Norwegians were feeling.
If this was England or America it would be used as an excuse to clamp down on democracy, to bring in ever more Draconian anti-terror legislation. If it was America it would be an excuse to bomb yet another country back into the Stone Age.
We think of Sweden and Norway as open democratic liberal countries. That is what I found in Sweden. It comes as a shock reading Stieg Larssen and Jo Nesbo to learn that both have a dark neo-Fascist underside. [see The Redbreast]
During the German occupation of WWII, more Germans volunteered to fight with the Germans than joined the Resistance. After the war they were branded traitors. It is easy to see them as collaborators or Nazi sympathisers. Many were, but many were not. They voluntarily joined the Germans and fought the Russians on the Eastern front. They saw Stalinist Russia as a greater threat than Nazi Germany. And less we forget, the non-Agression Pact between Stalin and Hitler had a secret appendix which divided up Europe. Russia invaded Finland and the Baltic States. After the war many were sentenced to death, others imprisoned. Even nurses who served on the Eastern Front were sentenced (despite pleas from the Red Cross). It is only in recent years the nurses have received an apology.
For some time I have been speaking out against Christian fundamentalists. I see no difference between them and Muslim fundamentalists. The only difference between the two is the latter use bombs and slaughter innocent people. We now see what happens when Christian fundamentalists have access to weapons and bombs.
We quite rightly tell Muslim leaders they must speak out against fundamentalists. Is it not time Christian leaders did the same? These bigots, these preachers of hate, who pervert the message of Jesus, who claim some will go to heaven (it always includes themselves) and others will go to hell. Whatever they are they are not Christians. [see Love Wins]
It was depreressing, though of no surprise, to find Muslims and Islamist apologists hijacking the Oslo feed on twitter.
In Olso everyone has been asked to unlock their wi-fi.
I have friends in Norway. I hope they are OK. They should be as they will be busy with their sheep. I want to call them but I think best not to clog up the phone lines.
My heart goes out to all the people of Norway.