Today all the Norwegian embassies around the world have been open for people to sign condolence protocols, and so I went to the Norwegian Embassy in London to do the same and to lay down some flowers. It was the only way I could find some peace of mind. This weekend has been an absolute nightmare for the whole nation. The perpetrator not only killed dozens, but by doing so he shook the very core foundations our lives had been built on. He pulled them from underneath our feet and slapped us in the face with them. And we all woke up to a Norway that we begun to wonder had been a lie all along. Throughout this weekend we have found ourselves breaking down in tears. The ordinary citizen on the streets of Norway. The people outside the embassies. Our royal family in church. Our prime minister when holding his speech. Our future and our identity was taken away from us by one single person. A person whom we thought was one of our own. A person whose name is Anders, and lives in Oslo.
I was very touched by how many Britons had queued up together with the Norwegians to sign the protocol. It means so much to us.
Today, between 150,000 – 200,000 people rallied the streets of Oslo with flowers, including our government leaders and royals. And considering that Oslo is a city of only 500,000 people, that says a lot. At times like these, we could respond with hatred and vendetta. But this is a time for sanity and reflection, not for irrational actions and vindictiveness. We have collectively decided that we do not want revenge. We do not want greater security measures. Instead we want more tolerance. More openness. More freedom. More trust in this life of ours.
I was very moved by what a German newspaper wrote: “Even in their deepest sorrow the Norwegians don’t get hysterical. They resist the hate. It is amazing to see how politicians and the whole country react. They are sad to the deepest thread of their souls. They cry in dignity. But nobody swears to take revenge. Instead they want even more humanity and democracy. That is one of the most remarkable strengths of that little country”.
Pictures of Oslo from the Daily Mail:
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his wife Ingrid:
Princess Martha Louise, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit at the rose rally:
I felt very proud of everyone back home in Oslo and Norway today. Hopefully something good can come out of this.