‘Faith and hope’ as a nation mourns

Streams of mourners started descending during the weekend on the Oslo Cathedral, itself damaged by Friday’s terrorist bombing in the heart of the Norwegian capital. They left flowers and candles as they paid their respects to the now-more-than 90 persons killed in the attacks, and lined up Sunday morning for a special memorial service.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (center), his wife Ingrid Schulerud and the Labour Party's youth leader Eskil Pedersen, who survived the massacre on Friday, added to the mound of flowers left by mourners outside the Oslo Cathedral on Sunday. PHOTO: Views and News

The regular Sunday service in the cathedral, often used for state occasions and royal weddings, took on new dimensions following Friday’s deadly and destructive bombing in Oslo and a subsequent massacre of young members of the country’s ruling Labour Party. The cathedral’s chief pastor chose the theme of “faith and hope,” and the service was broadcast live on national TV.

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In addition to the hundreds who started lining up hours before the service began at 11am came a stream of top government officials and members of the royal family, all in mourning themselves. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who has been dealing with the tragedy constantly since it began Friday afternoon, King Harald, Queen Sonja, Princess Martha Louise and the leader of the Labour Party’s youth organization, Eskil Pedersen, who survived Friday’s massacre, were all on hand to share their grief and show support for the victims and their families.

King Harald was led into the memorial service at the Oslo Cathedral by Oslo Bishop Ole Christian Kvarme. Behind them followed Queen Sonja, church officials and Princess Martha Louise and her husband Ari Behn as large crowds of mourners looked on. PHOTO: Views and News

Another special church service was being held in the historic Norderhov Church in Ringerike on the Tryi Fjord, not far from where the massacre occurred on the island of Utøya. Both Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were attending it, along with many of the survivors who have been staying in a crisis center at the nearby Sundvollen Hotel since being rescued Friday evening.

Stoltenberg, his diplomat wife Ingrid Schulerud and Pedersen all left their own single white rose on the mounting pile of flowers left by mourners over the weekend, before the bells of the recently renovated cathedral began to ring.

“Now we just have to take care of each other,” Justice Minister Knut Storberget, who has worked more closely than ever with Stoltenberg during the past few horrific days, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). His Labour government colleague, Minister Rigmor Aasrud, agreed: “On a day like this it’s important that we all stand together.”

The service was also attended by other leaders of opposition parties in Parliament including Trine Skei Grande of the Liberal Party (Venstre) and Knut Arild Hareide of the Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkepartiet).

The Oslo Cathedral (called Domkirken in Norwegian) is an important gathering place for Norwegians and also often used as a place of refuge, most recently by asylum seekers whose applications have been denied. The man arrested and charged with the terrorist attacks on Friday has confessed and written that he sought to stop immigration and opposed Norway’s emergence as a multi-cultural society.

Many other churches and also mosques were staying open all over Norway on Sunday to receive mourners from all faiths. Many of the messages of sympathy left among the flowers and candles were from muslim organizations and also a Palestinian refugee group, who expressed their support for the mourning Norwegians.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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A PERSONAL NOTE TO OUR READERS FROM THE EDITOR OF THIS WEBSITE:

It may perhaps be unprofessional of me to admit this, but I have written the above paragraphs with tears in my eyes. After living and working in Norway for the past 22 years, I have found it nearly impossible to fully distance myself from this tragedy that has so deeply affected so many of my friends, colleagues and family here in Norway. We have been working long hours since Friday to try to keep you all up to date on what’s happening in this otherwise peaceful country, but it hasn’t been easy. I have also been somewhat distracted by dozens of calls from international media seeking help and extra coverage of unfolding events, and I have wanted to accommodate them as well. I thank all of you have sent messages of support and sympathy, either through e-mail or through our comment function, and we apologize for being unable to respond to you all. We will continue to do our best to cover events as they unfold, and will appreciate your patience and support.

Most sincerely, Nina Berglund

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  • JERRY SOLBERG

    SO SORRY THIS HAPPENED. WE, IN AMERICA, APPRECIATE YOUR COVERAGE OF THIS TRAGEDY.

  • David

    @Nina
    I also have cried before when I have written something. I always find a stiff drink helps in those occasions.
    I had already posted a message on the LA Times story about Norway mourning. I wish to again express my condolences to the family and friends of those who have moved on due to this stupid, senseless tragedy.

  • Magnus (Sweden)

    You are all in our thoughts in these darkest of times!

  • Anastasia Hobbet

    Nina, Randall and I have been glued to your fine website–thank you, thank you–and I posted your link on my FB page. Several US friends are following your coverage too. I can imagine how incredibly emotional these days have been for you: this attack has shocked the world, and it happened here, at home.

    Warm thoughts to you,
    Staci

  • http://christopherburkett.blogspot.com/ Christopher Burkett

    Your personal comment is much appreciated. Your feelings are part of the truth we need. Our hearts go out to all touched by this horrific violence.

  • John Palmer

    One mad man does not shake my confidence in Norway and Norwegians. I am reminded of the dark days of WWII and the rallying cry, “Alt for Norge.”

  • Molly Glenn

    My heart goes out to the Norwegian people in this dark time. Thank you for your coverage.

  • Jenna (Colorado)

    Dear Nina,
    Thank you for your personal note. My profound thanks to you and your colleagues, to everyone involved in the very important work of reporting this terrible event. Sadly, Columbine taught us that everyone (especially survivors, first-responders, spontaneous helpers, and media) involved in such a surprising and horrific event, and its aftermath will feel its mark. Thank you for being there.
    Jenna, Colorado USA

  • http://n/a Elizabeth

    My heart go out to all the victims and survivors of this senseless tragedy. My prayers are being sent for your nation’s healing.

  • C. Andle (USA)

    Dearest Nina~ Thank you for your truth and your honesty, just two parts of the inner beauty of Norway and her people. You have my patience and my support… and my profound appreciation for all that you and your colleagues are doing to help share this story. Please know you are not alone. And that you all are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Jane Doe

    I would imagine no one can be unemotional about this tragedy especially you guys who are very closely covering the stories. Even I, who are not personally connected nor ever been to Norway, was and still am heartbroken.
    Thanks for being strong and staying committed on providing us updates, and also for the personal note. I can only send you my warmest regards and highest appreciation

  • Beth (Virginia)

    What a horrible tragedy. I’m sure I’m speaking for most Americans when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the Norwegian people. It is completely welcome to see the personal note from the writer–the heartbreak and sadness in this tragedy is an objective truth, an essential element of this story!

  • Molly (Atlanta)

    Thinking, with condolences, of the people of Norway in this horrible time.
    Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Surya Dharma

    Dear Nina,
    Your personal note make your report all the more touching. We all need to stay human in this time of tragedy; to reach out and touch as many people as possible. May the people of Norway find healing, faith, hope, and patience in overcoming heartbreaking event.

  • Ad, (Netherlands)

    We follow the news of this disaster on tv, internet and papers. We fully understand your feelings also in reporting.Norway is the homeland for to of our children and 7 grandchildren . We feel the pain as if it was our own country.

  • http://norwaytamilsangam.com/ Norway Tamil Sangam

    Tamil Sangam I Norge is deeply shocked and saddened at the crime against humanity carried out in Oslo and Utøya.
    It is all the more despicable as it was targeted mainly against those in the prime of their youth exercising their fundamental democratic rights of freedom of assembly and expression.
    We assure our solidarity with our compatriots in this time of grief and have no doubt that we will come out of this heinous crime stronger and more united.
    Tamil Sangam I Norge extends its heartfelt condolence to the bereaved families.

  • Gintaras Kavarskas (Lithuania)

    Dear Your Majesty The King of Norway,
    Dear all the people in Norway,
    I have been deeply saddened for so many people killed in Norway.
    The tragedy has touched my life. When I heard about the tragedy, my eyes were full of genuine tears.
    I am showing my greatest sympathy and I have already bought and brought large flowers in the capital of Lithuania – Vilnius – for the embassy of Norway.
    Would You please kindly accept my sincerest sympathy to all the relatives victims of the tragedy in Norway.

    Gintaras Kavarskas
    English writer, English teacher, Master student 2007-2011 in Lithuania

  • David R (USA)

    Sincere condolences and sympathy to the people of Norway at this difficult time – faith, hope and restoration to the nation.

  • Ann Odegaard

    It is NOT unprofessional to write this story with tears in your eyes. I cried as I read it. There were pictures on a Sunday news program in the USA of the service at the cathedral, and I cried again watching the King and Queen wiping tears away. I so wish we could be in Norway right now and stand with all of you. Please know that you are ALL in our thoughts and prayers, especially the families of all of those beautiful children, Norwegians of all faiths, ethnicities and beliefs will come together and stand stronger because of this. That is how these innocent deaths will have meaning.

  • Joel (Canada)

    Dear Nina,
    Thank-you for your comprehensive coverage of Norway’s horror. You have every reason to be emotional as you go about your work. Strength to you and to all of Norway, a country and people I have always admired. Joel in Vancouver.

  • Graham & Wendy (Australia)

    Along with thousands of others we were horrified by this terrible event. Our sympathy goes to all Norwegians, especially those who have lost loved ones. We do hope that those who were injured recover quickly.
    Our thoghts & prayers are with you all.
    Thank you Nina for your reporting

  • http://n/a Lyla (California)

    Dear Nina,

    My heart and tears go out to you, my childhood friend, at this heartbreaking time. My sympathy to all Norwegians at this time. Your beautiful country’s innocence has been shaken badly. I am in shock about it. Your news coverage has been exemplary. I think your personal note humanizes your story/coverage very much.

    Sending you big hugs from the U.S.,
    Lyla

  • Christopher (Texas)

    Words cannot describe the horror of this, but neither can they describe the strength of the Norwegian people or the love and support that the world feels for you at this time.

    May you find your peace.
    Denton, TX, USA

  • Vicky (UK)

    Dear Norway,

    We’re so sorry this happened and for your tragic loss. Sending you all our love – you know where we are if you need anything.

  • http://SouthAfrica Teresa John (South Africa)

    I too cried as I read this story. We have seen many troubles in the past in South Africa, but this act of senseless violence against young children beggers belief. How dare he call himself any kind of a Christian. Does he really believed that this is what God would want him to do? Charge him with 93 counts of murder, give him 21 years for each one, then throw away the key! My prayers are with everyone in Norway at this very sad time.

  • Michael

    Having lived in Oslo until recently, my heart goes out to everyone – the scale of this tragedy is hard to comprehend.
    Having made many friends and witnessed the closeness of the Norwegian people firsthand, I wish everyone the sincerest of condolences.
    Michael Ives

  • Maria, Canada

    I cannot even begin to fathom how the families of the victims, or even the survivors, feel. Even though I do not think anyone involved in this tragedy is reading this, I still want to express my sincerest condolences.

    I felt sick to my stomach all weekend because of this. I can’t understand how anyone can act in such a sick and twisted way. It’s just awful, and I hope the Norwegian people will be strong through all of this.

    Maria,
    Ontario, Canada

  • Aki (Japan)

    Dear Nina san,
    Please let a Japanese voice his deep grief from the Pacific shore to those who are in the immesurable devastation and loss. Personally I took the occasion to stand in a minute of silent prayers towards Norge at your local time 1200hrs. Your tears are my tears. And our imagination flies faster than light…

  • Kanat Jumagali (Kazakhstan)

    Mine dypeste kondolanser til alle folk i Norge…
    Since the moment I heard about this tragedy I and everyone I know here in Kazakhstan have been mourning for the innocent souls lost.

  • Karen (California, USA)

    Dear Nina,

    As a fellow journalist, I’m awed by your ability to hold it together during this time. I can barely bring myself to read the reports; I can’t imagine what it must take to function on your job when all you want to do is collapse and mourn. Mange Tusen Takk to you and your colleagues for your coverage.

    My heart and condolences go out to all Norwegians. Please know that you are loved throughout the world; we all stand with you in your grief. Yes, Nina, I’m crying too.

    Karen
    California, USA

  • Boston USA

    Dear Nina and staff,
    You all are doing a fine job, hats off to each one of you.

    Thank you for giving us anglophones your coverage during this dark and trying time. The Norwegian perspective and nuances are appreciated.

    Courage and admiration to all of you . . . with heavy heart in Boston, Massachusetts

    • Matt (UK)

      To Nina and Staff at http://www.newsinenglish.no
      I also applaud your efforts during this difficult time.
      There are many people in the UK (with Norwegian partners) like me who struggle to find good Norwegian News in English. You have done a fantastic job.
      To all the Norwegian people my condolences.

  • Zehra Guler (Turkey)

    I and everyone I know were very upset about what happened in your country. We, Turkish people, want to offer our condolences to you. I am sure that you, Norwegian people, will get over this terrible incident with solidarity and compassion.

    So much loves from Turkey…