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In Norway, church bells rang simultaneously across the country on Thursday afternoon, with memorials to the victims of a double attack by a right-wing extremist who killed 77 ten years ago.
It is the deadliest attack in the country’s history after World War II.
The prosperous and peaceful Scandinavian kingdom remained relatively untouched by violence until July 22, 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik, disguised as a police officer, detonated a bomb near the government building in Oslo, killing eight people.
Then Breivik, dubbed the “Butcher of Norway”, moved to the island of Utoya, where he opened fire for an hour and a quarter, targeting about 600 participants in the Workers’ Youth League summer camp, causing the deaths of 69 people, most of them boys and young men.
Ten years ago, our response to hate was ‘more democracy’ and ‘more humanity,’ said NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who was prime minister at the time of the tragedy and pledged to work for ‘more democracy’ and ‘more humanity’. “.
“But the hatred is still there,” he told a meeting attended by the royal couple, ministers, survivors and members of the victims’ families.
He considered Breivik to be one of those “who believe they have the right to kill to achieve their political goals … it doesn’t matter whether they are politically right or left, and whether they consider themselves Christians or Muslims.”
He believed that “these” “have more in common than with us, who respect the rules of the democratic game”.
Various ceremonies have been organized since the morning and the long day ends with a musical evening, punctuated by a speech by the king.
Survivor Astrid Eddy Homme, who currently heads the Youth Workers League, shares her experience. “I was 16 and didn’t know which funeral to attend in two weeks,” she says.
“It’s doubly painful, if you lose friends when you’re 16 it was a new experience for me, and I think now that I’m in my twenties what they would have been, what jobs they could have, kids and whether they would Marry.”
Ten years after fleeing Breivik’s gunfire, many survivors of the Utoya massacre believe their country does not yet have the far-right ideology that has held him accountable.
In 2012, the court sentenced Breivik to 21 years in prison, with a sentence that could be extended indefinitely, forcing him to spend his life behind bars.
But his action did not end at Norway’s borders, as it set a model that led to similar crimes being committed, most notably the bloody attack on New Zealand’s two mosques in Christchurch in 2019.
This week, Norwegian intelligence warned that “the far-right ideas that motivated the attack continue to be a driving force for right-wing extremists at the national and global levels, and have been an influential factor in launching several terrorist attacks in the past decade. “
After being sharply criticized for not being prepared for the attack at the time, the Norwegian police were mobilized with all their military equipment to coincide with the memorial.
Two days before the birthday, a monument to Benjamin Hermansen, the first victim of a racist neo-Nazi murder in 2001, was vandalized on Tuesday with the words “Breivik was right”.
Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg said she was “outraged and shocked” by what happened.
“Hate cannot be left without a response,” she said at a ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office today, Thursday.
Due to the outbreak of the Corona virus and administrative disputes, the National Monument to the Victims of Brevik, which it was hoped would be inaugurated during the 10th anniversary commemoration in the lake around the island of Utoya, has not been completed.
Despite the passing of a decade, the wounds have not yet healed. According to a survey recently published by the National Center on Disorder and Post-Violence Trauma, a third of survivors of the Utoya massacre last year suffered from serious problems, including PTSD, anxiety, depression and headaches.
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