What scares me now

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This post was originally written in Norwegian, but upon request (hi, mum!), I’ve decided to translate it into English.

One man has tore a hole in my city. One man has put a huge amount of good youths in life threatening danger and killed way too many of them. One man.

One man is putting out demands of the kind you’d only think you’d find from a character in a book. One man who seems to believe that negotiations for information during questioning should happen like in the movies. One man who feels such hate for the society he grew up in, he finds it «gruesome, but necessary» to set off a bomb by the government which kills relatively few, but still too many, and then goes to the idyllic Utøya to calmly shoot and kill as many as he possibly can until someone’s able to stop him. One man who has caused so much grief in this country I doubt my heart can take much more.

This last week and a bit I’ve been on a rollercoaster of extreme emotions. I’ve been so angry I haven’t had a clue what to do. I’ve been so sad I thought I’d cry myself dry of tears, and when I thought I was finally empty, even more tears came. I’ve been so shocked that I’ve lost the ability to take action on anything at all. I’ve been so proud of so many people, I’d thought I would burst. The way so many fellow Norwegians deals with a crisis like this, the way the youths who were on Utøya have been and still are there for each other, the way the Prime Minister and the Royal Family have been behaving showing they too feel grief and are as affected by this as the rest of us, all the heroes who let go of everything they were doing to help with whatever they could. There are so many heroes from the last couple weeks now I never thought it could be possible. And on top of that, I’m proud of coming from a country where most people believe a death penalty would simply be too cheap, they would rather have him locked up for life, preferably with no access to media part from the proofs that we in spite of everything still stick together. We take care of each other. We won’t break that easily.

And then comes the thinking. This isn’t just one mans opinions. What the media says about his socalled manifesto, what flows out from his writings on certain places online, those he draws inspiration from… This isn’t just one scary grouping we need to keep our eyes on. It’s not just the anti-islam websites spewing out this crap. The scary thing is, I find, that many of his arguments might as well come from the person behind you on the bus home. Suddenly they come out of someone at this party you’re at. Someone hear them during lunch at work, other in a coffeshop from friends of friends. It may be the kind neighbour chatting to you over your nice picket fence about the solution to everything is «getting all these problem cultures out of our country». It’s the grandfather who sits in the corner at the family gathering who recieves your sweetest smiles (just to keep the family peace, mind you), even though your innards twists and turns from hearing him voice his opinions. These are opinions you’ll find in ordinary people. That’s the scary bit.

Most people won’t sit down for nine years to plan such a heinous act. Only one of about five million Norwegians did.

For my own part, I’ll admit that the thought «muslim terrorists» did strife by my head too. While people were trying to figure out what was going on, gathering every bit of news they could find about what happened, why and with/by whom, I was on my way from Oslo, sitting on a train watching Twitter and reading about all these rumours and theories. I remember saying to someone (was it my boyfriend or someone on the phone? I can’t quite remember) that this, if it in fact was a bomb, looks like bad planning. After 3pm on a Friday in a month where most of Norway’s on summer vacation in an area with mostly offices is not the place if you want a spectacular death toll. It had to be a gas explosion of some sort, an accident, I said, and a few people who hadn’t been near the blast agreed on this theory.

I found out about the shootings at Utøya about half an hour after it started. It hit me then, was this a strange coincidence? Was it someone who wantet to take advantage of the chaos in Oslo, or was there a connection? Was it really possible to get from the blast in the government district to Utøya with that much equipment during rush hour in such a short time? I guess my account for time wasn’t at its best here, but I have the chaos of getting out of town to blame, I was so delayed I simply lost track of time.

I won’t pretend I wasn’t relieved when I found out there was a Norwegian behind it all. I won’t pretend it doesn’t frighten me. The more I find out about the man and the life he used to lead, the more I recognise elements from completely ordinary people. This is a man with a lot of opinions a lot of people share with him. This is a man who shares some interests with perfectly normal people I know. This is a man who says that one of his favorite books is the same as one of my favorite books. The childhood we hear about is one several children shares. His wanting to be something is a wish many feel every day. The difference is this, that only this man has done something so drastically about it. So far.

The scary thing about this man is not the fact that he thinks it’s a fair demand to take control of this country during his trial. The scary thing is that he’s a bit like so many of us. He’s a bit like me, and he’s a bit like you.

I think it’s more important than ever to question the opinions we don’t particularily like from others. It’s important to identify the parts of ourselves we find are not good and try to do something about them. It’s important to see each others and give each other the support needed.

We are a wounded people, and in spite of what you’d think this wound has its source from within our ranks. Now it’s up to us to work on bringing these opinions out into the light and discuss them. Now is not the time for intolerance, not even towards suchs brutal thoughts. Now it’s time for meeting these opinions with questions and good arguments.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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