I remember it like it was yesterday. My oldest daughter was nine months old. It was a cloudy summer day, I was reading a book and she was playing on the floor. I was listening to music and had not heard any news.
Then my brother called. “Are you not watching the news?? It’s been an explosion”! From that moment I was stuck in front of the TV the rest of the day and most of the following ones.
At first we thought it was some kind of gas leak in the center of Oslo. Shortly after the shooting in Utøya (also in Oslo) started. The terror speculations started quickly. In the following hours we could watch live TV showing Anders Behring Breivik shoot down teenagers on a small island where they were attending a political summer camp.
My country was in shock! A man dressed as a policeman shooting and killing kids?!
Norway is said to be one of the best countries in the world to live in. Among the natives as well, and also the safest place on earth. What could possibly happen in our little country?
During the day the number of dead and injured kept growing. So did the speculations. There was no longer any doubt that this was an act of terrorism. But the shock was even bigger finding out that it was “one of our own”. Because that is how Norway works. That is how the people are. It is US, all of us. We are a small nation that sticks together. I think most of us thought this had to be an action from outside, maybe ISIS or some other known organization.
Anders Behring Breivik placed and detonated a car bomb in the city center, dressed up like a police officer, went on a boat to attack the teenagers isolated on an island because he didn’t support their political vision. He fooled them to come out from hiding with his costume by saying it was safe and shot them to death while looking them in their eyes. In those hours, five years ago, with the bomb and the shooting, he killed 77 people. Cold blooded, alone.
I think we all know someone that was hurt, killed or involved in the situation. It is the biggest tragedy in Norway during my lifetime, and probably the biggest since world war two. How Norway reacted is truly unbelievable.
The current prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, demanded more democracy, more openness, more unity. We would get through this together. We would not give in. We would not let terrorists push us down.
Norway was like an ocean of roses and I still get goosebumps by thinking of how my little country became one unit in sorrow. Nobody was a stranger, everyone was together as one big family.
There was concerts, speaches, roses, good words, tears, happiness. What happened was a horrible tragedy that I wish nobody had to experience. At the same time I can’t help thinking that it also did good.
My beautiful little country; We will never forget!
(Pictures from Google)