The Babe and I stepped out of the chilly misty afternoon into our cozy little apartment, shedding our damp coats and wet shoes at the door. We'd been out to meet with friends for coffee and a snack. It was late when we got home and I still had supper to cook, so I turned on the TV to distract The Babe from all the sharp knives and hot surfaces that he so desperately wants to touch and play with when I am in the kitchen cooking. The Danish news was on and the images that flashed across the screen were clearly those of a place that had been bombed. Broken windows. Rubble. After almost 10 years of The War on Terror, we've all seen images like this what? A hundred times? Maybe more. But something about this scene was different. It seemed...closer. This was not in some sunny, dry desert thousands of miles away. No. This place was grey. It was raining. Like it was raining here.
My first thought was that someone had bombed Copenhagen. Denmark has it's fair share of troubles. Once, while exploring the city with The Babe, I happened upon a small group of immigrants who were protesting before being chased away by twice as many police men. There was a very menacing tension in the air. I turned around instantly and walked quickly back the way I came. I thought of that brief encounter as I turned the channel. If it was big enough to be on Danish TV, then it was bound to be on CNN.
It was not Copenhagen. It was Oslo.
I'm not going to sit here and try to share with you the intricacies of the Danish political landscape. (For that I recommend the excellent blog, Adventures and Japes. ) I haven't been here anywhere near long enough to know all its characters and philosophies. I will say this: Nationalism is not new. Hatred is not new. Fear is not new. It exists everywhere. This horrible thing that happened in Norway, it could happen anywhere. And that is terrifying.
I've tried many times since Friday to write this post. I am heartbroken for Norway. I am heartbroken for us all and the words, well, they are even more difficult to find than usual. I am going to stop trying. Instead, I am going to use a quote from one of the survivors of the Utoya massacre that I found on In My Tree.