Jul 22, 2011

our answer to violence is more democracy

i was out getting an ekstra stor pose of Smash! when it happened and all i noticed was that, suddenly, everyone was standing around looking at their cellphones.

the photographs from the scene indicate a large explosion in the street between the prime minister's office and the ministry of oil around 3.30pm oslo time yesterday. a few hours later, reports came in of a shooting on the island of utøya, about 45 minutes away, where the norwegian labour party was running some sort of summer retreat for youth members. as of today, a total of 92 people are confirmed dead, over 80 of them on utøya. a suspect in the shooting was arrested yesterday and named by the police: anders behring breivik, from oslo and thought to have right-wing sympathies.

here, just outside of the city center, everything appears to be normal within reason. trains and buses are running, and the streets which were completely empty of people yesterday are now back to the usual traffic. many shops are closed to mark yesterday's events and, possibly, for security reasons. which seems only prudent. around noon, i went for a run up to the bomb site, only to find an enormous zone of the city center cordoned off and patrolled by the norwegian army. there is a surprising amount of broken glass on the streets.

the norwegians are admirably calm in the face of this attack. jens stoltenberg, the prime minister, had this to say:

We do not know who attacked us, many are dead and injured. Norway will stand together in a time of crisis, we suffer with the wounded. I have a message to whoever attacked us, you will not destroy us, you will not destroy our democracy, and our ideals for a better world. We are a small nation and a better nation. No one will bomb us to silence, no one will shoot us to silence. Our answer to violence is more democracy.

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