By now I guess that most people have heard about the terrorist attack in Norway. I heard, myself, about an hour after it first happened. Naturally, I was as shocked as anyone else and I spent most of that evening with my eyeballs glued to the online newspapers.
I couldn't shake the feeling that I should say something semi-intelligent on the subject, being norwegian and whatnot.
The act itself - a madman butchering close to 100 innocent people - was disgusting, but in a way I've been as disgusted with things that have been said around this tragedy.
As soon as the story blew, long before anyone knew who was behind this, people started blaming the Muslims. Suddenly my Facebook newsfeed was dotted with exclamations like "throw all those bastards out of the country!" and "death to Islam!" posted by people that I had always credited with normal levels of intelligence. I'm not saying that I can't understand why many would think of religious extremists when faced with an act of terror like this, but since when is an act of hatred an acceptable excuse to spew more hatred? How do you solve a problem like terrorism by acting like a rabid little s***brat in a kindergarden fight?
Then the attacker turns out to be a blonde, blue-eyed, right-wing extremist. He looks like 1/4 of the people I went to school with. After 9/11 we sort of forgot about the "regular" nutjobs and focused all our attention on fanatical muslims. There's a lesson in this to teach us that skin colour and religion isn't a symptom of fanaticism. We can't classify it that way.
The threat of violence is always present, no matter where we go in the world. It's just something we're going to have to live with. There are potential mass-murderers, but there are also serial-killers, muggers, rapists and other creepy crawlies out there. Then there are natural disasters, poisonous snakes and people who drive like bloody lunatics. Does that mean we should spend our lives looking over our shoulder and worrying about those that come from a culture we might not understand? Does that make us any more safe? Why the hell are we so petrified of the Muslims? I'm sure I have a much better chance of falling down the stairs and breaking my neck than I do of being blown up by a jihadist.
I know a lot of people in Oslo, they're alright. One friend had just walked into a building downtown when the attack happened. The windows had all exploded, their car had been totally destroyed. They were incredibly lucky. Another friend was safe at home, outside of the city, but the force of the explosion still made their whole house shake. I can't eve imagine how much worse this could have been. But you know what? I'm not going to spend my life being afraid of what might happen. You can't function that way. We'll be heading back to Norway in a few days and we will have a lovely vacation, free of fear and worry.
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