Monday, 25 July 2011

22.07.2011 - The day that will change Norway

I've taken the liberty to translate this well-written comment/article by the Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen, as published on Aftenposten's web. The reason for doing so, is that I believe many of my english speaking friends would also like this text. I really do hope neither Aftenposten nor Mr. Jacobsen will mind.

"It's already been established - nothing will ever be the same after this. This friday will be remembered, just like we remember the Kennedy assassination, 9/11, the murder of Olof Palme, the London Bombings.. Others' national tragedies and traumas, that we shared with them. From a distance.

That distance is now gone. The unthinkable has happened - here. It's desperately close and extremely painful, like phantom pain, even for those of us who 'only' experience it through the media. The focused evil that these atrocities are commited with lacks any comparison in history. It's one of a kind.

Not at all likely.

And in the days and weeks to come it'll be important to hang on to exactly the fact that everything must be done in order to investigate if there have been flaws in the security or preventive measures. But we must not forget that even the most closely scrutinizing dictatorships can't predict and prevent the twisted ideas and actions of individuals. The great builders of our nation knew this. That safety is forged through democracy and open debate, through unwritten social contracts and mutual trust - not with barbed wire and wiretaps. Of course, the debate around our so-called naivety will be fuelled by this, the debate around the fragility and premises of an open society - for it is an important debate, one that must never be silenced.

The main point, however, is that when this country now changes, we will be able to set the direction ourselves - whether to be provoked into a harder path by a twisted nationless nationalist, or to choose our own path.

We have a choice.

We have as good as already made it, by forming a circle around the wounded and the affected, by  trying to take part in that impossible process they're in, to the best of our abilities. We picture those heroic youths that stood up for, and helped each other, staking their own lives when the terror hit; we feel pride for, and acknowledge the volunteers that showed up in masses, the scores of police, aid personell and health personell that through the last couple of days have gone far outside their duties to help. We gratefully confirm that they have shown us what we already knew, but might not always consider, that the Norwegian people is a people of solidarity and civility, a people with an ability for compassionate thought and actions.

We know who we are, and what we stand for. What we see on the TV these days, on the web sites and in the papers, is the soul of the Norwegian people. We see leaders that can speak, feel and think. We see wounded and affected in worthy, desperate suffering. We see a considerate media. As the foreign minister put it yesterday: "The Norway that emerges from this, will be recognizeable".

Everything suggests that he will be proven right. Exactly because of the fact that what we have witnessed, is not the symptoms of a sick society, but the catastrophic consequences of a warped mind - and ultimately: the ability of a living democracy to withstand it. That way, the perpetrator loses in every way."

Link to the original publication on Aftenposten:

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