Roses are our weapons

Asbjørn Wahl on the Norwegian response to the far-right murder spree

July 27, 2011
3 min read

Little Norway, with only 5 million inhabitants, used to be a calm, open, trustful and peaceful society. Now this country has lost its innocence. About 80 people have been killed, of whom most are young political activists from the social democratic youth. This will go down in history as one of the terror attacks, carried out by a single person, which has claimed most lives. We are crying with the bereaved, the survivors who experienced friends and comrades being killed around them in a war-like scene, and all those who have lost friends, neighbours and relatives.

From when the bomb blasted near the government offices last Friday, the mass media immediately started to hint about Al Qaida or Islamicist attacks. However, as you all know by now, the atrocity was committed by a blond, blue-eyed, 32 year old Christian Norwegian, who is a right wing extremist who had planned and prepared the whole thing down to the last detail over years, and who carried out his misdeed cynically and in cold blood (how else can you systematically, one by one, kill about 70 innocent children and young people in less than one hour?).

It appears at the moment that he does not have a strong organisation around him here in Norway, but he has obviously been in close contact with like-minded people internationally, for example the anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic English Defence League. A big part of his so-called ‘manifesto’ is a direct translation from writings of the well known US right wing extremist, the UNA-bomber Ted Kaczynski.

In Norway we are now mourning together, supporting each other and giving each other strength, but we are also realising that this is a politically motivated attack, so we, who fight for democracy, solidarity, tolerance, multiculturalism and human values, have to stand up more steadfast to our values, and to fight right wing extremism more determined, than ever before.

On Monday evening a great part of the Norwegian population gave a mighty response to what had happened, when hundreds of thousands of us, up and down the country, in big and small places, went to the streets to show our contempt for the atrocity, our grief for the victims, our sympathy with the bereaved and our support for democracy, solidarity and an open society. In Oslo, more than 200,000 people took part in this biggest ever rally in our city (this is more than one third of the total number of inhabitants in our capital, which is close to 600,000).

Roses were our weapons.

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