‘You will not destroy us’

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A defiant Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg went on national TV in Norway Friday night and said he had a message “to those who attacked us and those who were behind this.” He said it was a message “from all of Norway:”

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg appeared sad when addressing the nation on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) but also angry and defiant after Friday's attacks. PHOTO: NRK/Views and News

“You will not destroy us,” the grim prime minister said. “You will not destroy our democracy, or our commitment to a better world.

“We are a small country nation, but a proud nation. No one shall bomb us to silence, no one shall shoot us to silence, no one shall scare us out of being Norway.”

Stoltenberg heads Norway’s Labour Party, its coalition government and has been prime minister for the past six years after winning re-election in 2009. He was deeply shaken, first by a massive explosion in the heart of the government complex in downtown Oslo and then by what was shaping up Friday night as a massacre at a summer camp for youth members of the Labour Party on an island in the Tyri Fjord, about an hour’s drive from Oslo. By midnight Friday, police had confirmed that 17 persons were killed in both attacks, and the death toll was likely to rise. Many more were critically injured in the bomb blast and wounded in shootings on the island.

“This is all about attacks on innocent civilians, on youth at a summer camp,” Stoltenberg told the nation. He said the top priority was to save the lives of the injured and wounded.

“Tonight we will take care of each other,” he said. “We mourn our dead, we suffer with the wounded. Norway stands firm in times of crisis. We will mourn our dead. Tomorrow we shall prove that the Norwegian democracy will be even stronger.”

Justice Minister Knut Storberget confirmed that seven were confirmed dead after the bombing in Oslo, 10 were severely injured, and that "many of our youth are dead or missing" after the shooting on Utøya. PHOTO: NRK/Views and News

Stoltenberg described the attacks as “shocking, bloody and cowardly,” noting that they came “so brutally, so abruptly.” The explosion, possibly from a car bomb, went off just before 3:30pm on a Friday afternoon when most government workers are off on annual July summer holidays, or had already quit work for the day. Otherwise the casualties surely would have been much higher.

Justice Minister Knut Storberget, who has responsibility for the police in Norway, joined Stoltenberg at the late-night press conference and said it had been “a very tough day” for Norway. He also referred to the attacks as “monstrous” and “cowardly,” against innocent and unarmed persons. He said all available resources were pressed into service “to find the culprits and hold them responsible.”

Neither Stoltenberg nor Storberget could say what the ultimate target or motive was. Stoltenberg said that Norway’s tradition of political youth camps, used by most all of the country’s political parties, “are among the finest features of our democracy.” The gunman on the island of Utøya, though, seemed motivated to eliminate members of the next generation of politicians and lawmakers in Norway. “It’s difficult to believe we can be confronted by something like this,” Storberget said.

Stoltenberg said he had received calls from all the Nordic prime ministers and condolences as well from many other state leaders such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo nearly two years ago.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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  • magyart

    Stand strong Norway. I’ll keeo all of you in my prayers.

  • Mike Jones

    My heart goes out… In the USA, we’ve heard all the reasons why some hate us, but why would anyone want to hurt Norway?…

  • helberg

    Our prayers are with your our Norwegian brothers! We are watching, aghast, our hearts filled with sadness and sympathy! Please stay strong until justice is achieved.

  • Tine

    What a sad day for Norway. But stand tall and proud, and the world will see what fine people you are. You are in my thoughts and prayers Norway

  • Alexander from Kefalonia – Greece

    My deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this cowardly attack.

    I hope the criminals who did this will be found and punished.

    Even though the sadness is a lot, stay strong and proud.
    I hope nothing will ever alter the culture, peace and civilization Norway represents.

  • gfdgggg

    It seems extremely unlikely a lone actor could plant two bombs and then manage to kill 84 people on the island all by himself. It begs credulity. There has to be at least a support network, at least someone to drive him around and haul all the ammunition.

  • Riikka Söyring

    Norway,

    my heart is with you. Stand tall, and may the light walk with you.

  • Don Larson

    To the people of Norway, the ancestral home of my paternal relatives, I extend my heart felt condolences to the family and friends of the victims. There are millions of Americans of Norwegian descent who have you in their thoughts and prayers. I wish you a full and speedy recovery.
    D. Larson
    Wisconsin, USA

  • Mark Lincoln

    I must commend the Prime Minister for rallying Norwegians to defend the values of a great society instead of using this attack to lead Norway into depravity as happened in the USA following 9/11.

    Live free Norway, do not let a monster drive you to enslave yourselves.

  • Tina Cajulao (The Philippines)

    From Philippines, our sympathies for Norway.

  • Charles Burch

    All human beings are connected by our thread of common experience. We all know what it is to love our families. That is why people all over the world, when they hear of the killing of innocent children, shed a tear and offer prayers and sympathy to Norway.

    When we let political ideology or theology become more important than our humanity, we lose touch with what it is to be human.

    The hopes and prayers of all the world go to those suffering in Norway. We are linked to you by our humanity. In this tragedy we are all one.

  • Myra Walder (Switzerland)

    A truly tragic loss of young and hopeful lives. For this unspeakable act words fail me. My heartfelt sympathies to all those families who have lost a child and for all those others who lost their lives in Oslo city.