By Robert C. Koehler
When our lives are torn open, when the worst possible thing happens, what we have, finally, are our roses and our courage.
“I chose to stay in Oslo the entire week. It has felt like the most natural thing to do. I have never experienced any place any time in my life with such a complete absence of aggression. It feels like the city itself has gone into a peaceful place.”
Is this possible? My sense is that Norway’s reaction to its tragedy transcends much of the media coverage about it, obsessed as the media are with big-headline drama, who did it, who will pay. But something the headlines can’t capture seems to be going on in this small country, some determination among the people, above and beyond any political agenda, to stand — though wounded, though shattered by grief — for their highest values.
Anders Behring Breivik on Utoya Island, Norway
By Robert C. Koehler
“I saw people being shot. I tried to sit as quietly as possible. I was hiding behind some stones. I saw him once, just 20, 30 meters away from me. I thought ‘I’m terrified for my life,’” the young survivor said to a Reuters reporter. “I thought of all the people I love.”
And there’s the moment, in all its politics and horror: no more than this. Young adults — teenagers — being stalked and methodically murdered at their bucolic summer camp on Utoya Island in Norway. In God’s name, why?
This is the question we ask instantaneously, with sucked-in breath. Why? The question is bigger than any answer we make up.
7/25 UPDATE: Norwegian Shooter Loves Israel, By Israel National News. “The time has come to stop the stupid support of the Palestinians…and to start supporting our cultural cousins – Israel.”
7/24 UPDATE: Oslo Police Conducted Bombing Exercise Days Before Terrorist Blast. Also see this June 2011 news flash: Norway Announces Withdrawal From Libya Campaign
After supporting Palestine’s bid for sovereignty at the United Nations in an announcement on Monday, Norway today suffered numerous terrorist attacks.
Three days ago, July 19, Reuters reported:
Norway, host of the 1993 Palestinian-Israeli peace accords, said on Monday it was “perfectly legitimate” for Palestinians to take their case for statehood to the United Nations for voting in September.