Tomorrow, it will be a year ago, since we were staring at each other in shock and disbelieve. Norway had been struck by a national tragedy. The kind of calamity that we hoped would never happen here, had somehow taken place. The tragedy in Oslo and on Utøya Island was so devastating, so unheard of and so unbelievably.
The weeks that followed we saw the funerals of 77 people, the majority of them were under the age of eighteen. They were 77 individuals who wanted to use their lives in the best way possible for the society of which they were a part. Through stories in the media and the eulogies given in their memory, we were been able to learn a little bit about each of those who died.
It is a year ago, since we realized that both as individuals and as a nation it would take us a long time to digest and work our way through what we had witnessed, our grief and our feelings. We had and would continue to need each other in this process.
Eleven months ago there was a National Memorial Ceremony in Oslo. The ceremony was being broadcast live and included speeches by King Harald and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The names of the victims were read by five prominent Norwegian actors.
The victims’ families were joined by survivors, government ministers, and the police and emergency services workers who dealt with the attacks. Leading politicians and royals from neighbouring countries was also in the audience.
Tomorrow there will be a National Memorial Concert in Oslo, and several other places. It has been a year, and we have so much information, about what happened and the one responsible for the attack. It will be a hard day for all those who lost their loved ones, and my heart pounds for you all!
The ceremony we witness at the Spektrum Arena marked the end of a month of mourning for the 77 victims, and the start for Norway as a nation to be ready to move on. The grief after this point was more personal, the families that had lost their loved ones needed to get their privacy. We’ve been here, when someone needed to talk or cry, but we all returned to a more normal life. However, things will never be quite the same. And through the terrorist trial we got even more detail information. We have heard the testimonies from brave young survivors.
When the terrorist began explaining his actions on that fateful day to the victims, their families, their friends, the Norwegian people and the world he admitted to having bombed the Government’s buildings in Oslo, killing 8, before traveling to Utøya were he shot and killed 69 people, most of them only teenagers. He also pleaded not guilty, claiming he acted in self-defense of the Norwegian people against the “conspiracy of multiculturalism”.
The fact that we are using the amount of money on this trial has been debated. As a nation, and a democracy we have no choice. We must let him explain his way to his decisions and actions, even if it feels giving him the platform and the microphone he wanted in the first place. That is how our system works, and right know we need to keep our faith in the system of court.
The concerts and ceremonies tomorrow will help us regain conscience and support to the families that lost their loved ones, the day Norway lost the innocent naivety. We do know that something like this can happened here. But we still hold on to the strong opinion our beloved king Harald proclaimed in his speech:
I firmly believe that freedom is stronger than fear.
I firmly believe in an open Norwegian democracy and society
I firmly believe that we will uphold our ability to live freely and securely in our own country