Today is a special day. A day in sorrow and a day in memories.
One year ago today, on the 22nd of July 2011, 77 lives were so meaningless taken away by terror done by one person filled with hate.
22. of July will never again be "just an ordinary summer day" for us Norwegians....
Norway is a peaceful and silent country. We just turned 5 million peoples in our whole country, a small country where we all feel free and safe. A country where we all feel so connected to each other, where we all feel as a part of an small community. When something happens in one city, it always still feels so close, it always feels like "home".
Its a country were we have always felt so safe, and so innocent... "just a little country where nothing wrong ever happens"... We are a very free and open minded people. We trust each other, and we trust the safety in our country. We can let our babies sleep outside in our gardens without being watched. We can let our small kids go to the stores and buy candies without being followed by a grown up. And we can stop by the road in the middle of the night and sleep safely without being afraid that anything will happen. Our polices are friendly and they do not carry and weapons. They simply just do not have to. In Norway we also believe that to carry weapons gives the wrong signals, that the best way to secure peace is to express piece. Weapons don't do that.
The 22nd of July 2011.
I were in Chicago USA, CHA had just ended the day before. I stayed in Chicago to have classes which I were so looking forward to. I was of course tired after 3-4 hard and long days at CHA, but were inspired and found a bit extra energy in the excitement of finally meet some of these girls and to teach this class I had been looking forward to for so long.
All the sweet girls had just found their spots in the class room, and we were just about to start the class. Some ladies had came all the way from Canada and Texas, and this were going to be a great evening.
Then I opened my Mac which already had Safari up from last time I used it. The last site I looked at was the Norwegian largest newspaper VG, which were still up on my screen. As soon as I opened my Mac, I got automatically internet connection from the class room, and the newspaper site were due to this automatically updated. I will never ever forget the images that came up on the screen then...
The first image were showing some very destroyed large buildings, and I could immediately see that it had to be about a bomb explosion or something. Below the picture it said something as "bomb explosion in Oslo". I just managed to think "no way, not in Oslo?!?", before I discovered another image just below there showing an island and water.. and lots of covered up dead bodies.. Under the picture it said "At least 80-90 killed" or something like that. I were confused, I were in chock... I simply just couldn't understand anything at all. I remember I were thinking "but this photo of this island is not the same as the destroyed buildings"... and "this must be two different things, but it can't be, it says Norway under both...". There was no way I could understand this, the situation were just too unreal, too chocking.. nothing like this could ever happen in my small and peaceful home country Norway.
If you wish to see the two images I first viewed in Chicago, you can click on the links below.
Please be aware, these images contains strong details!
Here is a link to VG from the 26th of July in English explaining the situation in general. Please note that the number of killed people were finally adjusted to 77 people.
All these young and innocent people lost their lives to terror 22nd of July 2011.
Right after the attach this beautiful Norwegian song "My Little Country" from Maria Mena became a "symbol" for this terrible day and for our country in sorrow.
Please click on the arrow on the image below to play the song and lots of memorial images.
After I got these terrible and unreal news, the rest of the evening, the rest of the tour, never ended as I hoped and planned it to. I was not myself, and I could not focus at all. My mind and all my thoughts went to all those young people who lost their lives so brutally that day, and my mind was "back home in Norway". I missed my family, and I wished to take part in the strong community that grew in the following days, where people came together in sorrow to remember the lost ones. To stay together against terror, and to show the world that love is a a lot stronger then hate. One sentence were said from one person this day, which will never be forgotten; "When one person can show so much hate, imagine how much love we can all show together". Norway simply refused to let any hate win over us. Our people stood up from the very first day, stood together, and said "we will not revenge this, we will win over hate with all our love".
I come from Stavanger, the 4th largest city in Norway. Our city is about 600 kilometers from Oslo, but still so close... Our city alone has just above 100.000 citizens. On the 25th of July, almost 100.000 people came together in our city. This shows how strong our people stays together in unreal situations like this one. I wished to be there, but I were on the other side of the world.
Here are some images from my home city Stavanger from the 25th of July 2011;
A carpet of flowers and candles at our old church.
Lots of people laying down roses and set up candles at a little water we have in our city.
Almost 100.000 people together in my home city, together in memories, and together in love against hate.
"All" together to remember the lost ones, to stay together in love against hate. Roses as long as eyes can see...
Even though I were on the other side of the world, traveling around in USA and Canada to teach Prima classes, I could still feel how everyone in the whole world stood together in this sorrow. I never dreamed of that our little country Norway could ever get this attention, to get this sympathy from people around in the whole world. But in a situation like this, it seems like we all comes together, no matter where you come from or how far away. Suddenly the whole world is a smaller place, and we all can feel others sorrow and pain. At the same time as I felt so far away from home, I also felt that the world isn't that large at all. Where ever I went, people came over to me and expressed their sorrow and feelings for what had happened back home in my home country. I felt that people understood my sorrow and my situation to be in, and that gave me strength to continue on on my tour.
I would like to use this opportunity to say "thank you" to all of you who attended my classes on the tour and for your patience and understandings. I am sorry that I were not able to be 100% myself and that my classes probably were not as we all hoped and expected them to be. But you all helped me trough it with all your kindness and all the amazing moments and memories you gave me! It all made it possible for me to look forward to each class and to find inspiration and happiness trough all the pain and sorrow. Every moment I spent with you all was a great and unforgettable moment, and I am so glad that I continued the tour and got the opportunity to meet you all. THANK YOU to all of you from the bottom of my heart <3
22nd of July 2012
This is a link to our largest Newspaper VG today, where you can follow lots of updates on how our
country are remembering 22nd of July 2011 today.
The evil person who took so many lives 22nd of July 2011, have been in court all June to be put to justice. The results of this will be announced later this month. Please note that in Norway can not anyone be sentenced to death. In general we have a maximum punish of 21 years, but in this case the Norwegian people have been promised that this person will never be set free ever again. He is simply too dangerous for our people and for our country.
Today is a sad day, but also an important day. The same with this blog post, which is probably the hardest one I have ever written. No matter how hard I try, everything I write sounds wrong... I just can't find the right and best words for a post like this.
It is always important to try to move on, to look forward. But at the same time it takes time to get through the sorrow. For me it was extra hard to move on when I came back home after my tour. It had then been two weeks since the terrible day, and even though there were still traces of sorrow all over, most people had moved on more then I had. I came back and needed to talk, to ask questions and to be a part of the community. But most people had already gone trough most of that and I were "behind". When I were in USA I were unable to really share my thoughts, I couldn't even call home. I only reached my family on Skype 2-3 times after the terror day. When I were back home, I felt it was too late to do any blog posts like this. I tried to catch up on everyone else and to "move one" as far as that was possible.
So, for me, this blog post today is important. An important step of this memorial day, to remember the hard time one year ago, and to move on. So I would like to thank you all for your time, to let me share this with all of you, and for your patience for this long post ;O) It means a lot to me.
Please remember all our lost ones, please send them all and our country a little thought today, 22nd of July 2012. My thoughts today goes to all those who lost their lives and their families. I hope the times that comes will be better for everyone, that the world will be a better place to live on, were we will never be attacked by any terror again. I hope for piece for everyone.
*Love is stronger then hate*
THANK YOU to you all. I truly appreciate every one of you!