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"Maybe she is in a tree, he tells himself. Like a bird."
July 21, 2012 11:30 PM   Subscribe

He turns to the girl. "It would be really nice," he says, "to have a cigarette now."
"Yeah," she says without looking at him.
"Do you think the shop is open?"
The girl laughs and Adrian laughs, and then they laugh about their water-wrinkled fingers and the cabaret scheduled for tomorrow night that probably won't happen, and they keep laughing, because there is nothing else to do until someone finally gets them off Utøya.
— Sean Flynn writes the story of what happened on July 22nd a year ago [single page] when Anders Behring Breivik carried out a bomb attack and massacre in Norway that killed seventy seven people, and how those who survived and those who lost loved ones have dealt with the trauma. [Warning: It's not the easiest read, emotionally]
posted by Kattullus (42 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
He fears only that he, and thus his ideas, will be found insane.


Not "insane."



Evil.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:27 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was a really good article when I saw it on Longreads. Somewhat surprisingly a lot of the victim's families opened up, although with distance it may be easier.
posted by calwatch at 12:44 AM on July 22, 2012


Sadly appears to be blocked in the UK; just getting redirected.
posted by londonmark at 12:47 AM on July 22, 2012


Please try here if you're being redirected.
posted by gen at 12:58 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a very difficult read.
posted by gen at 1:00 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is brutal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:04 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


"If one man can cause so much pain, imagine how much love we can create together."
Damn
posted by nestor_makhno at 1:31 AM on July 22, 2012 [17 favorites]


You know, that was a harrowing, heartrending but very worthwhile read. I am continually impressed with how Norway responded to this tragedy.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:43 AM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


That was a harrowing read. I can't even begin to fathom what those families have gone through.
posted by Skeptic at 2:09 AM on July 22, 2012


What an extraordinary story. It warms my heart to know that this has strengthened people's resolve to fight for equality and freedom, rather than responding with fear and paranoia.
posted by twirlypen at 2:19 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Answers to my AskMe helped me understand this from my Norwegian friend's perspective.
posted by infini at 2:32 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Video from The Guardian about Bano Rashid, who died in Utøya, and her family. Video autoplays and is not an easy watch.
posted by Kattullus at 2:46 AM on July 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


The penultimate paragraph was extraordinary.
posted by Ritchie at 2:48 AM on July 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


It really bothers me that this kind of shit happens in Norway or Seattle or Colorado, because, c'mon people!... Life is pretty good! Mass murder won't make it better.

Are there serial killers in the slums of Mumbai? Maybe I just don't hear about them.

It scares me to think that relatively well-off societies could still generate crazy mass murderers, because being "well off" is supposed to cure that, right?
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:57 AM on July 22, 2012


Are there serial killers in the slums of Mumbai? Maybe I just don't hear about them.

Low police effectiveness, tight social mores, a mobile and undocumented underclass that nobody cares about to the extent that children are abducted to work as beggars very frequently.

Yeah, frankly almost certainly so although it's hard to separate from the background noise of exploitation and violence.
posted by jaduncan at 3:27 AM on July 22, 2012


Are there serial killers in the slums of Mumbai? Maybe I just don't hear about them.

Well, if you're talking about mass murder by a small group of gunmen in the name of politics, yes.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:38 AM on July 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am not Norwegian. I am Danish. It still feels like this happened to family.

.
posted by kariebookish at 4:09 AM on July 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm in Norway now and will be heading to Oslo for the memorial event later. Thanks for posting this.
posted by knapah at 4:13 AM on July 22, 2012


I'm in Norway now and will be heading to Oslo for the memorial event later.

Go well, knapah. And please tell us about the memorial event.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:13 AM on July 22, 2012


Tough, tough read. Thank you, Kattullus.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:29 AM on July 22, 2012


Are there serial killers in the slums of Mumbai? Maybe I just don't hear about them.
India's regions with long term terrorist activities today are Jammu and Kashmir, Mumbai, Central India (Naxalism) and the Seven Sister States (independence and autonomy movements). As of 2006, at least 232 of the country’s 608 districts were afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements. In August 2008, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan has said that there are as many as 800 terrorist cells operating in the country.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_India
posted by gmarceau at 5:49 AM on July 22, 2012


I heard a radio story today, on the BBC(?), about an amateur photog who had been to five camps on Utøya, and had 5,000+ pics from before the massacre.

I'm incapable of finding it at the moment, but it was a really nice message he had: wanting to rehabilitate the island, political debate and show that the fucker didn't win and didn't damage Norwegian society, he just killed a bunch of people who wanted to make it better. So he showed them as alive and vibrant.
posted by Mezentian at 5:57 AM on July 22, 2012


Absolutely heartbreaking.
posted by h00py at 6:08 AM on July 22, 2012


.
posted by stratastar at 9:08 AM on July 22, 2012


Do read infini's askme question.
posted by stratastar at 9:15 AM on July 22, 2012


Thank you for sharing this. I was in Oslo recently, and everyone I walked around with made sure to point out where the bombing had happened, but I didn't understand the full extent of what had taken place that day. I wish I'd have been able to read this story before my trip. Heartbreaking, but a wonderfully written and deeply moving story.
posted by jessypie at 9:24 AM on July 22, 2012


Surrounded by enemies, go into your time.
Within a bloody storm - devote yourself to fight.
Maybe you ask in fear, uncovered, open:
With what shall I fight?
What is my weapon?

Here is your shield against violence, here is your sword:
the belief in our life, the worth of mankind.
For all our future's sake, seek it and cultivate it.
Die if you must,
but increase it and strengthen it.

Then the weapons sink powerless to the ground.
By creating human worth, we create peace.
Those who with their right arm carry a burden,
precious and priceless,
cannot murder.

This is our promise from brother to brother:
We will be good to the earth of mankind.
We will preserve the beauty, the warmth,
as if we carried a child,
carefully on our arm.
posted by gemmy at 10:13 AM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I read the first bit of this this morning, and then ran off to the Mauerpark Flohmarkt (flea market) here in Berlin with a houseguest, with this still bubbling at the back of my mind. I just got back and had a moment to read the rest…

The last two or three pages are really flooring. The one maimed and surviving sister asking why she survived when "the pretty one" died: there's something heartbreaking and infuriating about the notion that some lingering gender politics about "beauty=goodness" could succeed in deepening an already profound mental wound. Then, I tried to imagine how it must feel to be the guy who later found out that his life was spared because Breivik thought he "looked right-wing." The bit at the end about the cellphones, too. Jesus.
posted by LMGM at 10:56 AM on July 22, 2012


Norway massacre anniversary: 'The people have won'. PM Jens Stoltenberg leads remembrance of victims at ceremonies in Olso and Utoya.
posted by homunculus at 11:08 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll read this another day. Not today.
If you want to watch the memorial concert knapah has gone to, you can try this link.
http://www.nrk.no/ and click "Se direkte nå" beside the play button.
posted by Iteki at 11:17 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Twoleftfeet asked about serial killers in the rest of the world, the answer is a resounding yes. See also rampage killers which is maybe more relevant here. Note that "Not included are school massacres, workplace killings, hate crimes or familicides, which form their own categories.".
posted by Iteki at 11:50 AM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bruce Springsteen playing We Shall Overcome with Steven van Zandt tonight in Oslo. Pete Seeger has become a bit of a symbol of all this. His "My Rainbow Race," as translated and performed in Norwegian by Lillebjørn Nilsen, was singled out by Breivik as a particularly objectionable example of multiculturalism. Earlier this year, forty thousand people sang the song with Nilsen in downtown Oslo (post by h00py about that event).
posted by Kattullus at 1:02 PM on July 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Auden:

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 1:04 PM on July 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


He smoked a lot over the winter. He got hate mail from right-wingers, and once, down by the water behind the mall, a little thug told him, "You weren't killed then, but someday I'll make sure you are." When he went out, he left notes in his apartment saying where he'd gone and who he was meeting in case that person turned out to be a lunatic assassin and the police had to search his apartment for clues.

...On the sixth day of his trial, Breivik explained exactly why he didn't shoot Adrian when he had his first chance. "I thought," he told the court, "that he looked right-wing."

I can't even fathom that level of hate. If anyone should have it, it should be the survivors and the bereft, but they don't. The level of civilization and humanity the Norwegians show is another thing I can't quite fathom. It's a shared value, it's baked into their culture. We should be studying them every day, trying to learn from them, trying to be more like them.

What a picture of extremes.

This was a hard read. Thanks for posting it Kattullus.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:08 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I spoke to a Swedish friend after reading this article, and she said that she's found the response almost stifling - there's such pressure to be non-violent, to understand, to move on, that any feelings of anger are essentially forbidden. The stories of people responding with forgiveness and understanding are wonderful, but it appears (at least to her) that this is often due to the larger cultural belief about the appropriate response overwhelming the anger and fear that people feel.

It's still a much better response than fear and vengeance, but the story is often presented as if those feelings were never even considered.
posted by twirlypen at 2:56 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The concert was a powerful experience. There were thousands of people there and an amazing atmosphere. Even with my limited grasp of Norwegian, much of what was said was inspiring and thought provoking. I liked that the host read out notes left with flowers last year and the laugh when a woman was asked (in a prerecorded clip) what defined Norway and she answered 'matpakke'.

Even the surprise appearance of Bruce Springsteen (who had played a big concert near Oslo the evening before) was handled well, given the potential for it to overshadow the event itself.

I'm from Northern Ireland which is no stranger to tragedy, and my respect for the way Norway has handled the aftermath of such a traumatic event grows every day.

I'm writing this on my phone, so I'll leave it brief. I might write more tomorrow.

(one note said 'give hate a kiss and let it die of shame')
posted by knapah at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


twirlypen: It's still a much better response than fear and vengeance, but the story is often presented as if those feelings were never even considered.

During the concert the presenter, Haddy N'jie brought up the fact that many people were still dealing with feelings of rage and anger.

I've talked about this with Norwegian friends, and one of them said that anger is one of the feelings that they're dealing with, but that it isn't any more overwhelming than the other emotions. I got the impression from them that this had been talked about quite a bit, though I'm not sure whether this was in the media or just people talking amongst themselves.
posted by Kattullus at 3:24 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is extremely well written, and poignantly told.

But, is it truly necessary to go over in excruciating detail how people were shot, in which part of the body the bullets entered?

Is it adding to the realism and emotional impact of the story? Or is it just titillating and quenching our unspoken thirst for violent media?
posted by cacofonie at 8:22 PM on July 22, 2012


we believe this person has to be treated like any other criminal, good or bad. We have to stand for our values. If we don't stand for what we believe in, we fail."


My Norwegian friends are in my thoughts today on the anniversary. The response by the Norwegian people has been nothing short of astounding and my prayers are with them as they continue to work through this.

.
posted by arcticseal at 8:26 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


cacofonie: But, is it truly necessary to go over in excruciating detail how people were shot, in which part of the body the bullets entered?

Is it adding to the realism and emotional impact of the story? Or is it just titillating and quenching our unspoken thirst for violent media?


I often think about this. In this case I think it serves two functions. Not of realism, exactly, but as a marker of accuracy. They communicate to the reader that the journalist has done the research. That he knows the details as well as the broad sweep of the events he's recounting. They add to the verity, which adds to the power of the piece.

The second function, I think, is that by giving details of the death, it honors the dead. I feel that by eliding the manner of their death they can lose some of their individuality. If everyone who died was simply described as "shot" then they would run together, as if the way they died was unimportant next to the commonality of being dead. We are reading about individuals who were murdered and their individuality should be maintained to the moment of death.
posted by Kattullus at 11:01 PM on July 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's still a much better response than fear and vengeance, but the story is often presented as if those feelings were never even considered.

From what I recall, in my conversation with my friend last year, the anger and rage were closer in nuance to those that emerge in the grief cycle than the blind lashing out we may imagine this to be.
posted by infini at 11:07 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Suspected Breivik sympathizer arrested, arms seized in Czech Republic
posted by homunculus at 12:54 AM on August 19, 2012


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