Norwegian slaughter ‘reality check’

A week today 77 people – most of them teenagers – were slain in Norway.

The youngest was Sharidyn Svebakk-Boehn, who turned 14 just five days before the massacre.

Some of these victims were killed during a bomb blast in the country’s capital Oslo, the others were shot to death attending a youth camp run by the ruling Labour Party on the nearby island of Utoya.

The Norwegian right-wing extremist behind this atrocity Anders Behring Breivik has been described as probably insane by his defence lawyer.

I had BBC News 24 on in the background while doing some research when a breaking news flash revealed the drama that was unfolding in the oil-rich Christian country that is home to a population of 4.9 million people.

My body was instantly gripped by a visceral feeling of dread that I had experienced only twice before – 9/11 and 7/7.

When I sat down in front of the plasma screen, I spluttered: “Oh, no, not again.

Norway, why Norway?”

As it turns out, my utterances were not unique.

We are so programmed to assume that any incident of this nature has been carried out by islamic extremists.

As I watched television transfixed, I was overcome by feelings of sadness and helplessness.

Only at times like these does one realise that death is truly random.

It may be me or it may be you next.

Nationality, birthright, money, power and religion have absolutely no bearing at all when it comes to the randomness of life and death.

May they all rest in peace.

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