Words from Oslo, Norway after the attacks: We will retaliate with more democracy
Norwegian Citizen Resident of Oslo | , Marte Ramborg | 8/11/2011, 12:17 p.m.
The police have arrested a 32 year old blonde Norwegian citizen. He is a right wing extremist. So far it seems he worked alone. I am proud of our police spokespersons that constantly refused to speculate on what Muslim terrorist groups could be behind. I am proud of the prime minister and other representatives from the government who took leadership, but showed compassion, and were never tempted to .
And I am proud of the police, the health workers, the firemen and all the volunteers who saved many lives yesterday. I am also proud of my colleagues. I was at work at the headquarters of the Norwegian Air Ambulance when I heard the news. Incredulous we listened and watched, and started to realize that this would not be a normal day for our colleagues in the air. At the most, six out of our nine medical helicopters were flying wounded youths out of Utoya. I haven't spoken to my colleagues yet. They are still on duty and are debriefing. But what they witnessed on that island I will never be able to fathom.
Today, people are gathering in homes, in churches, schools, streets to be together. The nation is in mourning. We have received messages of support and compassion from all over the world. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both offered their condolences to the affected families and to the nation. My family has received concerned calls from the US, from Uganda and from Sri Lanka. All countries who know what terror is. We are so grateful for all the support.
I am lucky. I am not among the 170 parents who won't get their child back home after summer camp, or the many who have their loved ones in hospital wondering if things will go well. I am safe at home, with my husband, lovely children and family intact. The closest I got was having my friend at the library with her nine year old son and two of his friends. They wanted to lend books for the vacation they were going on today. The Deichman Library is next to the Government offices. The blast from the bomb was so loud. There was glass everywhere. My friend and the kids were in different rooms, but found each other, and ran outside. They walked and ran through what was now looking like a war zone. Not physically hurt, but changed forever.
I hope that in one year, I will recognize my country. We may have bullet proof film on the windows of government buildings, and we may have changed one or two more things that would be smart to change. But today and yesterday, what I hear most is a unanimous vow that we will not let this terror attack change our values or way of life. And I quote, from memory, one of the youths who came back alive: We saw what one man's hatred could do. Imagine what we can do with all our love