It is appalling what a single man fueled by hate can do - the devastation, pain and loss of a nation's innocence that he can cause. More than 90 people were killed in Oslo and nearby island Ut√łya in Norway, all because a man who hated decided to act on his hate and blew up a building and randomly gunned down teenagers.

Photo from guardian.co.uk

Unlike most of the rest of the world, Norway is a stranger to man-made tragedies of this proportion. We're talking about a country that has been rated as the most peaceful; its capital Oslo is the home of the Nobel Peace Prize; and where gun violence is so rare that the "average cop patrolling the streets don't carry guns."

That an armed man can walk in unhampered into a camp filled with hundreds of youths for a political retreat and freely shoot down kids speaks volumes of how Norwegians are deeply cocooned in a sense of safety and security. To quote The Globe and Mail:
This is a quiet and orderly city built on deep foundations of order and tranquillity. It is the site of countless peace-treaty summits, UN peacekeeping initiatives and large-scale aid projects funded by the vast oil wealth of Norway, a country of five million that has around 40 murders per year – a figure that has barely changed since the Second World War.
Yet the July 24 bombing and shooting spree left in its wake a death toll that is more than double of Norway's annual murder rate, with victims as young as 16 years old. A political gathering of young people like that would have warranted police protection here in the Philippines, a country that has seen its several shares of evil. But even police presence is not a guarantee against the damage a sick mind can inflict. 

It is painful reading the accounts of the survivors, how the kids scattered about the island, cowered in fear and terror as the gunman fired his way through the camp tents. I have to choke back tears and the waves of rage and sadness. How will these surviving kids deal with what happened to them and their friends? This will forever scar them and their families. I can only imagine what the parents of those who died are going through right now. That day of terror will always be with them and change how they view the world and their future decisions. 

Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has appealed for more humanity in the face of the violence. In a news conference shortly after the twin attacks, he said: "I have a message to the person who attacked us and the people who are behind it: You’re not going to destroy us. You’re not destroying our democracy and our work for a better world. We’re a small country but a very proud country. No one can bomb us to be quiet. No one can shoot us to be quiet. No one can ever scare us from being Norway.”

One can only hope that this single act of madness will not spawn pockets of hate across this small, tranquil nation. Because violence is never the answer, never the solution to anything. There is no justification for it. No matter how much we have been wronged or hate. I wish I can say that gun control is the solution, but it isn't. Hate control is. The solution does not lie in government alone, but in each one of us. Because once we let hate take root in us, it clouds our judgment and dictates our every action. From the profile of the shooter trickling in the news wires, he harbored a deep hate for multiculturalism, of the left and of the Muslims. Look at what his hate led him to do. 

My heart goes out to the victims, their families and all of Norway. 

2 comments:

  1. It is easy to hate and so hard to forget and let go. Self preservation among humans or any other living being remains the top priority for we are generally selfish by nature. Although, you are right that violence is never the answer and the solution lies in each one of us, but it takes a selfless effort to turn the other cheek. One has to attain inner peace to do just that. And to attain inner peace is understanding and experiencing grace from the Supreme being.

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  2. I hear you on how we are all "generally selfish by nature." Yes, the selfless effort of turning the other cheek is hard but not impossible. The values of selflessness, sensibility, of believing in a peaceful way of settling differences should start within the homes. A person raised to reject violence is a person who will have that inner peace.

    Chinky, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! Yay!

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