Norway pledged to fight together against hatred this Thursday, at the end of the tenth anniversary of the attacks perpetrated by the right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, which left 77 dead in 2011.
“Hate cannot go unanswered,” declared the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg during the first tribute of the day, which took place near the government headquarters in Oslo.
It was here that Breivik began his slaughter by exploding a powerful 950 kg bomb that left 8 dead. Later, disguised as a policeman, he opened fire on the small island of Utoya on a meeting of the Youth Labor League (AUF), leaving 69 victims, mostly teenagers.
Several commemoration ceremonies are planned during this day to remember what is the bloodiest crime in this country since the end of the Second World War.
Solberg, who spoke to survivors and families of the victims, highlighted the progress over the last ten years of the security services in their fight against all forms of extremism.
“The most important retaining wall is the one we have to build in each one of us,” said the conservative leader, adding that this will serve “to reinforce the wall against intolerance and hate speech.”
The survivors speak
Many of the survivors of the massacre on the island of Utoya consider that, ten years later, Norway has not yet brought a prosecution against the far-right ideology who is behind the attacks.
“Racism and deadly right wing extremism are still present among us,” he said. Astrid Eide Hoem, a survivor who now runs the AUF.
“They are on the Internet, at the table during the meal, in many very listened to people,” he added. «It is now, once and for all, that we have to affirm that no we accept racism more, that we do not accept hatred.
Shortly after the attacks that occurred during his tenure, Jens Stoltenberg, then Labor Prime Minister and current head of NATO, promised to respond with “more democracy” and “more humanity.”
At noon (10:00 am) all the bells in the country will ring and the day will conclude with a concert and a speech by the rey Harald.
Twenty-one years in prison
The extremist was sentenced in 2012 to 21 years in prison, a sentence that can be extended indefinitely, and he will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars.
But he has had followers: his shadow hangs over several attacks, including those directed against mosques, such as the one in Christchurch (New Zealand) that left 51 dead.
“The far-right ideas that inspired the attack remain a driving force for right-wing extremists at home and abroad and have inspired several terrorist attacks in the last decade,” the Norwegian intelligence service (PST) warned this week. .
On Tuesday, just two days before the anniversary, a memorial to the first fatality of racism in Norway, Benjamin Hermansen, assassinated by neo-Nazis in 2001, was vandalized with the inscription ‘Breivik was right’.
The national monument to the victims of Breivik, on the shore of Lake Tyrifjorden, where Utoya is located, is not yet finished. The cause is the covid-19 but also of the repeated disputes with the neighborhood. Despite the passage of time, the wounds remain open.
According to a study published recently by the National Center on Traumatic Stress and Violence (NKVTS), a third of the survivors of Utoya Last year they continued to suffer from major disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression or headaches.
“It’s clear that when you’ve been through something like this, you don’t go back to being the person you were before,” says Astrid Eide Hoem. «I have trouble sleeping, I am afraid. And I think that I will have to live with it the rest of my life”. Also, many survivors they keep getting threats and hate messages.
“I know someone tried to kill me because of my beliefs,” says one of the victims, Elin L’Estrange. “So if today someone tells me they want to see me dead, I take it very seriously, even if it is not necessarily so.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism