We, the Norwegian society, will strike back

Saw this comment on the Amnesty International Norge Facebook page:

We, the Norwegian society, will strike back. We will strike back by giving the defendant a fair trial, we will strike back by giving him decent treatment. This way we will demonstrate to him, to ourselves and to the rest of the world that our basic values, such as the belief in justice, liberty, democracy and human rights, has not, despite his insane efforts to break them, moved an inch on the foundation our predecessors build up and fought for, and which many also even died for. And we will move on.

For me it epitomises all that is best about Norway.

Amnesty Norge‘s offices were near the bomb blast and two staff members were injured. We helped organise the gatherings across Norway yesterday, where huge crowds took to the streets in solidarity and sympathy.

This is part of the message I received from our Norwegian director, John P. Egenæs, today:

Here in Oslo at least 200.000 people participated, all carrying roses or other flowers. To give you an idea of the involvement you should know that Oslo has about 550.000 inhabitants, and July is our main vacation month so thousands are not at home. Gatherings of respect for and thoughts about the victims. Gatherings to show that violence and terror will not scare us or silence us. Gatherings to collectivelly start healing the wounds all of us feel in our souls.

I was fortunate enough to address the gathering here in Oslo, and although I never want to experience it again I must say it was a life changing experience. To stand before such a crowd and suddenly see all raise their flowers to make it look like a suddenly appearing field of the most beautiful kind is something I will never forget.

It hasn’t erased the horrific images I have running around in my mind of what the youngsters at Utøya had to live through, but it has created new images of beauty and human strength that will also stay in my mind forever.

My thoughts, and I am sure that of all Slugger readers, are with the families and friends of all those killed and injured and with the people of Norway as a whole at this particular time.

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  • sonofstrongbow

    My thoughts are indeed with the people of Norway and all victims of terrorism.

    Holding the arraignment hearing in camera is not a good first strike.

  • wee buns

    A truly impressive response by Norway’s people.
    To be focused on justice at this time, when aggression might be an equally understandable response shows great maturity. It’s perfectly sane and justified that the case was heard in camera, not least for security reasons but as well because self publicity is his wish.
    You don’t mow down the guts of a hundred people in cold blood and get rewarded with a wish list.

  • Reader

    wee buns: You don’t mow down the guts of a hundred people in cold blood and get rewarded with a wish list.
    He could try. Has he asked for political status yet?

  • sonofstrongbow

    The challenge for any democratic government is to strive for normality when faced with violent abnormality. It is most certainly deeply traumatic for victims and deeply unsettling for the rest of society to listen to the deluded ramblings of those who take up the gun to advance their warped agenda.

    However it is foolish to state that this terrorist or any other likeminded thug will be treated as any other alleged criminal and then go on to make special arrangements for him.

    He will mount a defence even though his lawyer already thinks him insane. It will no doubt be unpleasant listening if it is anything like the garbage he has poster on YouTube but his freedom to do so is part of a fair trial.

    Personally I have no issue with any democratic state enacting laws to deal with the special circumstances that terrorism can bring about. I simply find the hypocrisy of making a claim of normality and then proceeding to set up special measures dishonest.

    In the Norwegian case I’d be quiet content to see the loon hung forthwith. That would send a message to the far-right that the Norwegian government is not the weak liberal do-gooders that they accuse them of being.

  • wee buns

    A slice of flippancy in your wit today I see Reader.

    As the banal authority issues of the playground show: not every bold kid has to receive the same treatment as the next bold kid, in order for justice to be properly done. It’s not hypocrisy, but shrewd judgment.
    The Norwegians are being objective about this.
    The conditions have been put in place- based on the danger which is clearly observed to be present, the facts in other words – not based on feeling and personal prejudices.

  • sonofstrongbow

    I’m intrigued to know what danger was felt to be present during the hearing. An attempt to justify mass-murder? There is already I believe some 1500 pages on thar subject posted on the Internet. A spectacular attempt to free the suspect by a Crusader Commando? The streets of Oslo have already witnessed the deployment of armed troops and police SWAT teams to counter such a threat.

    Norwegian securocrats may indeed have information of such abnormal conditions, and you appear to be in that intel-loop. If so let’s hear the facts rather than protestations of normalcy.

    No one is arguing that the Norwegians are acting on “feeling and personal prejudices”.

  • wee buns

    On live coverage from Oslo the spokesperson for the court said there was a risk of the suspect communicating with other group members through media appearances, which I thought was a reasonable assessment and fair grounds for in camera proceedings.

  • Reader

    wee buns: A slice of flippancy in your wit today I see Reader.
    Wrong way round – I am always flippant and very rarely witty.
    However, I also have a point. I have never supported political status for people who have used violence to advance their aims. However, loads of people here *have* supported political status. So far as I can tell, the accused meets all of the criteria usually advanced.
    So – does he qualify for politcal status?

  • andnowwhat

    The smart money seems to be saying that he will dismiss his defence counsel.

    Back on planet topic, the way Norway has reacted is a lesson to us all. What would have happened if this was in the US or GB? Further erosion of civil liberties? Most probably