A Nationwide Grief

In my previous post I wrote about taking a step back from all of the terrible happenings in the world. This post is about when we need to stay put, when we need to remember. Today is the 22 of July, and it is five years ago since a terrorist killed 77 people because of their political views.

Ask a Norwegian, any Norwegian, about 22 of July she will be able to tell you exactly what she did that day. Exactly what happened in the moment when she first heard the news. 22 of July is Norway’s 9/11. I remember I was scrolling through Facebook. I thought it was some kind of sick joke, a bomb could not possibly have gone off in Oslo. No way. Not here, not in peaceful little Norway.

But a bomb did go off. And a man, whom I will not name, (because I hate how everyone knows his but none of the victims’) made his way from the site and to an island where a large group of politically active youths had gathered. He marched through their camp, like a soilder, and killed 69 of them, injuring 66. I cannot put into words the shock Norway was in. Cars pulled over all over the country because the drivers had to focus on the radio. A nation gathered in front of the TV, a nation shook their heads no. No.

Two days later we took to the streets. Some pain is too great to handle alone.

He was ruled sane. I find it astounding, the amount of damage one single human being can cause. The way we manage to justify the most gruesome acts. Horrible things happen every day, but we do not understand until it happens to us. Five years ago today, Norway understood. We will never forget. We will tell their stories. We will say their names. Now, and for as long as the people left behind live, we will feel a nationwide grief.