The shootings in Norway have upset me so much. Since they happened I have woken up at 3.30am every day and been unable to get back to sleep, the various stories of what happened to the victims going round and round in my head. I can’t imagine the hell those directly involved must be going through.
I spent many years as a child in Sweden, my mother is Swedish, I speak Swedish to my children and we go on holidays there. Norway is so similar to Sweden that it is like seeing my home country torn apart by this random act of cruelty.
The names of those killed are like names of my school friends, they look like the people I grew up around, so it feels so close to home. One of the boys murdered looks just like an older Leo.
When it first happened I assumed, as did most people, that it was the work of Islamic extremists. When I discovered the truth, I was shocked that a local man could impose this death sentence on so many of his compatriots, and I’m not just talking about those he actually killed.
I was also shocked at my own prejudices. Growing up in Scandinavia ought to have made me better at fighting against those.
All my thoughts and love go to the people of Norway. I cannot imagine how they will continue to deal with this loss of youth, innocence and the utter waste of such talented, gorgeous young people. But I’m sure it will be with the grace and strength they have shown so far.
As for the mass murderer? My Arab colleague Fadwa suggests they publicly execute him. That is not the Scandie way I told her.
And however many atrocities they go through, I doubt it ever will be.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2011