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Norwegians fight grief with love

[ 2011-07-29 11:03]     字号 [] [] []  
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Whoever I speak to in Norway looks sad these days, regardless of the topic of conversation.

The streets lack their usual bustle, and people speak in quieter voices.

Grief, fear, helplessness and anger are some of the prevailing feelings after at least 76 people were killed in Friday's bomb blast at the government headquarters in Oslo and the shooting massacre at a Labour Party youth camp hours later.

However, there is another emotion that is more dominant, a feeling of love. In the wake of the massacre, there is a national mood of care and compassion.

Norway is a small country. We are not used to violence, and certainly not on this scale. Oddly enough, could the terror have made Norwegians rethink their values and made them decide to take more care of each other?

Since Friday, all broadcasters have scrapped their regular schedules and provided a non-stop stream of news. I did not realize that I was able to cry so much on behalf of complete strangers.

Numerous volunteers have helped the victims directly, but we, the audience, can only offer our sympathy through public gatherings.

As Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang declared: "Together, we will punish the murderer. And we shall punish him by offering more generosity, more tolerance, more democracy."

Since the tragedy, Norwegians have shown remarkable solidarity.

Many businesses have closed to let their employees mourn, and every city has held remembrance ceremonies.

Politicians across the spectrum have united, and there is strong feeling that politics, race and social status mean nothing. Churches have kept their doors open around the clock, and have been frequented by masses of people who light candles, pray and leave flowers to show sympathy.

The biggest manifestation of solidarity was a rally on Monday in which more than 150,000 people gathered in the center of Oslo, where Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg appeared alongside Crown Prince Haakon Magnus.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg added: "Evil can kill a human being, but never conquer a whole nation."

(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

Norwegians fight grief with love

About the broadcaster:

Norwegians fight grief with love

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.