Øystein Runde

Øystein Runde

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The tragedy on Utøya - an attempt to understand

In englishPosted by Øystein Sat, July 23, 2011 09:26:59
Anders Behring Breivik is the man who personally, slowly, cold-bloodedly executed eighty teenagers at Utøya, Norway. I have spent the whole night thinking and reading his writings and trying to understand what drove him. I am in two minds about sharing his writings, because ideas are powerful, no matter where they come from and how tainted they - in the outset of things - seem. I think he was smart enough to know this.

I think he wanted to save the world from muslims.

I think his mind was set on saving the world. Saving the "pure", clean ... norwegianness. For some reason, he was thinking these thoughts first, and then he committed the most disgusting, tear-inducing, awful crime I am capable of imagining. Serial killers act out of a sexual-like sick drive. Dictators kill out of paranoia. Anyone can kill if group pressure becomes a factor, like Zimbardo proved. But this? What is this? What IS this?

He is born in 1979, like me, and he is tall and rather norwegian-looking, like me. His facebook page lists George Orwells "1984" and Kafkas "The Trial" as favorite books. Two of my favorite books. I have family members called Breivik.

Anders B has posted a great deal of texts on the internet, in particular on a norwegian right wing islam-critical christian blog. For me, christianity has a lot of humanistic, wonderful tones. "What would Jesus do" is a beautiful, simple credo that every christian in the world should have tattoed on their bodies. What is Anders Behring Breiviks christianity?

There they are, his words. His mind. He brags that he is rich, that he has had successful businesses that allowed him to live without working, to plan for his great book on how muslims will take over the western world. His values: Protestant christianity. Culture-conservativeness. He is a freemason, whatever one can make out of that. He was, some years ago, a member of the right-wing political party Frp - he claims they got a huge amount of success when he worked for them, because of his great understanding of how to market ideas.

Even more reason for me not to write in this blog. He is marketing. Right now. As I write this, with shaking fingers. Even more. And yet - everyone will write about it. Hopefully this can make him understandable. Do not hate him. Do not fear him. Know him, and think: Are these your thoughts? Do you understand? Would you applaud these thoughts before you knew they drove a man to kill children?

To me, these actions stand as the purest evil thinkable. Executing eighty youths, gathered like fish in a barrel, on an island. They were unarmed, they were young, they were an ocean of human potential. A political gathering. What could have been our future prime minister may have died today. She may be dying now.

I do not know what to think anymore. But: He wanted to save the world from the muslim threat. He was afraid. Fear, fear, sickening fear permeates his writing. It is clever. He is well-read. It has all the good, rational ways of explaining a point of view. He is afraid. Nothing in his writing says it clearly. His fellow right-winger bloggers are as shocked as I am. But I never shared any of his horrible fears. I never shared any of his views. I always felt an unexplainable disgust at the flawless reasoning of my Frp friends. And now, his line of thinking led him to this. He chose to sacrifice a few human lives in Norway to save the world from something he sees as a huge, religiously fanatic threat. And when he started doing it, he was so convinced that the screaming, the pain of human beings, could not make him budge in his decision.

Do you understand his thoughts? Would you feel comfortable inside this man's mindscape? Why? What is it that it gives you? I do not want to judge. I have always loved my Frp friends. I will not delete them from facebook, even when they used the first bomb to say "Get out of my fucking country, you fucking fucks" or "time to check out the "against islamization of Norway" website". I believe that we all need friends with different worldviews.

And I have always been a bit embarrassed by the fact that I am by nature ridiculously politically correct. I do believe in non-violence. I do believe that NOT sending the famous Mullah Krekar out of Norway, because he could be executed in his homeland, is a strong signal to send to the world. Both to the east and the west. "Okay, you guys may still want to execute prisoners, but then we'll let him walk freely around in Oslo, because WE happen to believe in something called the sanctity of ALL human life, even the life of this guy who is an obvious terrorist fundamentalist." I am endlessly proud of my tiny country, who has the guts to appear "soft" and "kind" even when the rest of the world pressures us to be "hard".

And I am proud of the fact that we arrested this murderer alive. How would that have played out in USA? Even in this situation, norwegian police was able to catch him alive. It is horrible to have to talk about this. If a sniper bullet could have saved a single life more, of course that would have been immensely much better. But somehow, he was stopped without being killed, and if that happened without risking any more childen's lives, yes, that is a good thing.

My bodily reaction was a sudden wish to have him torn apart by horses. But that is my feelings. Fear. Rage. Disgust. This rage for vengeance is not what makes us human. It is the victory of abstract thought, of faith, that makes us human. The faith that any human can be something different tomorrow than they are today. To him, maybe killing children gave him a physical reaction. For his own sake, I hope he is a complete psychopath, if such a thing exists. If he really did this just to bring attention to his thoughts, and he will now have to face it like a human being ...

If he really cannot feel this, he is colder than anything I have ever known in any work of fiction. Our imaginations have been outreached. But if he WAS able to feel this, and yet persisted, systematicaly killing eighty young people for the sake of drawing attention to his cause, feeling their pain in his mirror neurons, but persisting to tell the world that muslims, muslims are scary ... if this is possible. If faith in one's own justification and perfection can be so over-riding, so much stronger than the sight of another human in pain, even "cold" cannot describe what he is.

This man will be locked up. After 21 years, he will be examined by psychiatrists. They will decide wether he is well enough to get out. But: I can assure all you justice-hungry people out there, it will be decided that Anders Behring is highly intelligent, calculating, and at best, a psychopath. And that he cannot be let out. This is how our "gentleness" works. We give our prisoners hope forever, while locking them away forever. Because we say that maybe ... maybe. If you become a better person. If you don't fight the guards. If you behave nicely. And we mean it.

And it saves us money and makes us look good, and the prisoners are locked away forever, but without going mad and becoming a liability.

In Frank Millers "The Dark Knight", the Joker gets out by pretending he is all fine, and starts a killing spree. So is this "norwegian" way wrong? No. It is this naive trust in people, this faith, that makes Norway a country that even islamic fundamentalists have kept their hands away from so far. I believe that it is impossible to say that a country is "the great satan" if it executes no-one, if it tortures no-one, if its politicians silently, and secularly, say "what would Jesus do?" before they make their decisions. We are all a bunch of atheists up here. But we have faith in democracy. And in humanity. On a day like this, nothing is more impressive, more steadfast, more Jesus-like, than maintaining one's faith in Humanity. And yes, this is what a huge amount of my 913 facebookfriends did. Okay, they're mostly cultural elite people, they direct theater and make movies and write books, and maybe not so many from the right wing, but it really, really felt good to see their maturity. I like my friends. I even like myself today, as my politcal views were clearer to me than in a long time, and as every absurd prejudice I had about freemason-conservative-right-wing-monsters from the rich, blonde upper class became grotesquely true, as if life had turned into a Stieg Larsson novel.

Basically: Coupled with healthy realism and a solid police force the faith in humanity is a valuable thing in itself. It says: Our justice system believes blindly in justice. We will not kill, because killing is wrong.

I know I sound awfully politically correct, as i am relentlessly soft, multi-cultural and left-wing.

But after today, as the worst human being in Europe is hard, mono-cultural and right-wing, it will be very, very, very hard to tease anyone for being too "politically correct".

Fill in only if you are not real

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Posted by Cathrine Mon, August 08, 2011 15:09:41

Åh, dette var en flott post å lese på tross av et grusomt tema. Må lese resten av bloggen din også. Takk!

Posted by Øystein Sun, August 07, 2011 14:12:10

To "Traumaturgist":

Thanks for calling me "sir," traumaturgist! I liked that.

Okay, maybe I gave the word "human" some extra nice characteristics just to win a rethorical battle and force readers to abandon death penalty, which I think is a stupid form of punishment. But when we're being linguists here: If shooting children doesn't allow you to use the word "evil", what does?

I don't want to repress any of the negative sides of immigration et cetera. I welcome a healthy debate. But there are lots of places that allow that. It's not my fault that people then use this space to write "kill all muslims". Sorry if "politically correct" means "repressing" to you. In this context, it was a response to my right-wing friends, who behaved almost triumphant after the bomb. "Look! Look at what the immigrants did! Let's not mollycoddle them anymore!"

Your views on immigration, islam and big, monotheist religions in your link, are balanced and written without fear and hate as far as I can see. I wish the standard of the discussion was at your level. Why www.cbc.ca censors your comments, as you say, is beyond me. I'm sorry to hear that. Please comment here as much as you want, as you seem to be polite and rational-looking. Some aspects of your analysis are flawed, however, as you are still in that place where you think Breivik was actually just "communicating his frustration". I went to that place too, check out my second post after the shooting, "the right to hate and be racist". Put it a bit sharply, but it shows I went through many of the same thought-lines as you. And then I went to the next step, and fell down upon that Breiviks wish to kill came BEFORE his "reasons" to kill. This is hard to know, of course. But anyway, I never TRULY intended this post to understand a madman. I intended it to define what our values were, in a time of emotional turmoil.

I reacted strongly when I saw "kill all muslims!" written on my friend's facebook wall right after the bomb. It was scary, and it was stupid.

It is fear-based talking, fear-based thinking. Fear makes us stupid. You don't like stupid, I don't like stupid. Exactly how does one avoid fear-based arguments that stop a lot of the listeners from thinking? I can say "all irish are rapists" and you can say "no, no, not all irish are rapists", and the only thing left in the minds of our readers is a strong link between irish and rape. I have successfully made a mindvirus, using a glitch in our way of storing memories (we don't process a "not"). So, can we agree that such special ways of using language can be very problematic and unhelpful? Can we call that "hatespeech"? Avoiding unhealthy simplifications implies some level of censorship. Difficult topic, I'd love to hear how much hatespeech you would like to allow. I also like that you want me to avoid simplifying stuff in my way either. Thanks. I hope you will see that my perspectives are more than this one post.

I don't like "politically correct" if it means "fear from dissent" or "never talking about problems". Ok? I'm NOT really "politically correct". I doubt, and I think. Loudly. I protested against "politically correct" being used by right-wingers to label ME. I protested against being labeled "soft" by my right-winger friends because I was against death penalty. I didn't create those labels. And I thought about USA, who have had a tendency to "go hard" in times of crisis. Is that always the right reaction, do you think? I wanted to explore a possible alternative. If you think "go hard" is always the best, feel free to share.

More: You're against my idea of "sanctity of human life"? Is that your point? Your contribution to the world? What do you expect will get better if you win, and get rid of that stupid thought?

I know my idea "sanctity of human life" is really weird and out of touch with what happens in the world. But it still is an idea that inspires good stuff to happen.

Ideals are lies, yes. Until enough people start believing in them. Then they shape reality.

Øystein Runde

Posted by traumaturgist Sat, August 06, 2011 19:40:43

Unfortunately, as long as people such as yourself insist on this obsolete good-evil binarist distinction we will not arrive at a better understanding of what Breivik did. You share a lot of views with Erik Abild, to whom I have already replied here: http://talkingcure.surroundedbyidiots.org/2011/07/a-reply-to-erik-abild/.

You seem to have a lot of Idealist assumptions about what human nature is, thereby forgetting the "nature" in human nature. Nature doesn't give a damn about our moral order; those of us who think "God" created nature also know, deep down, that the devout are murdered, swept away in natural disasters, etc. You can chalk it up to "the lord works in mysterious ways," but that doesn't explain the fact that nature is indeterminate, forever eluding our understanding.

What does this have to do with Breivik? You commit a fatal mistake in labelling him as "evil." Good and evil do not exist in Nature; who are you to say what is "human" and what is "inhuman?" Perhaps you should remember that there are almost 7 BILLION of us on this planet; do you really think we can be one politically-correct "human" family when so many of us overpopulate this planet and compete for limited resources? I will say to you what I said to Abild: if the day ever comes when food and water become scarce you are going to see exactly what it means to be "human" in an indifferent natural world. Rage, vengeance, and the drive to preserve one's own group (be it family, ethnic or religious group) are part of what it is to be a human being in an indifferent world, just like faith and forgiveness Repressing that (and you DO repress it) won't help anything.

All of this is, as I said, to criticize your binarist "either/or" thinking. A country is either "soft" or "hard"? Someone is either "good" or "evil"? "Human" or "inhuman"? The distinctions you make are exactly - EXACTLY like those you purport to criticize. Read some history - humanity does not equal the sweetness and light you paint it as here. Your "healthy realism" is seriously ailing. Your self-admittedly "blind" adherence to justice does just that - blinds you to a more comprehensive and intelligent view of humans, who are animals (whatever else we are).

Thus, Breivik is just as "human" as you or I. For every Breivik who murders innocent people there are thousands who share his views but don't act on them. And there are yet MORE of us (myself included) who agree with multiculturalism and immigration in principle but are harshly critical of their politically-correct implementations. We COULD have used this tragedy (and it IS a tragedy) to productively ask some difficult but necessary questions about immigration and the concept of "multiculturalism." How should we negotiate admitting people who adhere to exclusionist religions (the 3 monotheims of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the best examples) who disallow women from pursuing, say, love interests with "outsiders" (Judaism and Islam are notorious for this)? Who think the rest of the world is going to burn in hell for not sharing their beliefs? Of course, not every Jew, Christian or Muslim believes this - but do radical Islamists (Zionists, Christian fundamentalists) who preach hatred AND promote such actions have a place in a democracy (and, lest you think I'm anti-Muslim, I will state that in a different historical moment I could be talking about Christians or Jews or [insert religion] here as well). I am not talking about freedom of speech here; I am rather talking about the transition from thought to action that is openly endorsed by certain members of religious systems.

But did we bother asking? No. We simply recapitulated all of the same battle lines and for-against discourse that contributed to our present situation to begin with.

It doesn't surprise me at all that your views get web space on the Canadian Broadcasting System - which is a veritable bastion of politically-correct denial on the subject of (Canadian) multiculturalism. But sir, you and the CBC keep your obsolete, Enlightenment-era "sanctity of human life" - you have the right to believe what you want, but it is completely unrealistic to think that all 7 BILLION "miracles of life" are going to be treated the same on a planet with limited resources. It simply cannot be done.

Posted by Øystein Sun, July 31, 2011 01:13:10

Dear Craig, it seems like humanism had a great answer after all. The nation is in sorrow, but at the same time full of love. Love for everyone, outside and inside our borders. More love than anyone of us expected.

Posted by Craig Fri, July 29, 2011 01:38:49

Is it really hard to laugh at people for being too "politically correct" ...It Amazes me that Europe has a very bad habit of producing people like this ,And you immediately seek to reassure yourselves that humanism is the answer , that we must rise above this.
When there is no Evidence to be read or seen that Humanism has any answer to offer.
If you ask "what would Jesus do" then you would need faith in Jesus Not Humanism.

Posted by Øystein Wed, July 27, 2011 14:23:40

Hei, what. Du har rett. Dette var skrive den natta som alt skjedde, altså i affekt, og i overraskelse etter at det viste seg at det ikkje var islamistiske ekstremistar bak. Det er så klart ikkje meininga å akseptere fordommar i noko som helst retning - eg ville berre avsløre mine eigne fordommar. For berre ved å snakke om våre eigne fordommar og få dei opp i lyset, kan vi forholde oss til dei. Dette innlegget var skrive som ein reaksjon på mine høgrevridde venner sin grunnreaksjon på muslimske terroristar, dvs at på wallen til ein kjær venn av meg hadde ein viss Alexander skrive "Drep alle muslimer!" og "og han der advokat Melling også, for han forsvarer Krekar!"

Dette var mitt utgangspunkt. Den fantastiske bølga av kjærleik som har velta over landet etter det, stiller min til dels rasande bloggpost heilt i skuggen. Det er strålande, for det var ikkje meininga å "slå politisk mynt" som det heiter når ein prøver å trekke linjer mellom ord og handling. Men akkurat då det skjedde var nok dette mellom dei meir nyanserte reaksjonane tilgjengeleg. Eg tilhøyrer elles også ein rik, relativt blond overklasse, og frimurerdissing er eit cheap shot som eg ikkje akkurat angrar på enno, men som ikkje får meg til å sjå bra ut. Vurderer å endre akkurat det avsnittet, men foreløpig får det stå som ein påminnar om mine eigne hatreaksjonar.

Posted by what Wed, July 27, 2011 13:25:01

"and as every absurd prejudice I had about freemason-conservative-right-wing-monsters from the rich, blonde upper class became grotesquely true"

Hvordan kan noen kalle dette "nyansert"?
Mistet all respekt for deg da jeg kom til det avsnittet altså.......
Du står ikke for den kjærligheten eller samholdet som alle andre gjør, du er bare ute etter å bruke dette til å disse andre.

Posted by P. Bhakti Wed, July 27, 2011 09:05:19

What use is it to waste time studying the minds of mad-men. Life is to short to risk the contamination.

Posted by Håvard Tue, July 26, 2011 20:08:14

Takk, pappaen til Øystein, for at du lagde Øystein - som setter ord på det vi tenker.

Posted by sandra Tue, July 26, 2011 17:18:04

thank you. Beautifully written. And true.

Posted by Øystein Tue, July 26, 2011 15:40:30

Hello, Patty. Sorry that it sounded wrong in your ears. USA is very dear to me, I have been there five times, NY twice, California twice, Seattle once. I feel a lot of love for America. This is also why this blog post was in english.

No, I cannot name any terrorist attacks like that, and time has shown that the man wanted to be caught alive. Me writing "how would that have played out in USA?" was NOT meant as an implication - it was a question. Thank you for answering it.

I did not know, at the time of writing, that the police had no transport helicopter. I also wonder, mourningly, where the norwegian special army forces were. Having a "soft" worldview should NOT include not having special forces ready, and I hope time will show that the police's reaction was as good as it could ever be hoped to be in such insane circumstances. I hoped to address this when I wrote "healthy realism and a solid police force."

Posted by Øystein H. Brekke Tue, July 26, 2011 07:14:40

Even though you have already had 85 comments, which I haven't had the time or energy to read, I will stilll add mine. As long as people post messages on sites such as http://antijihadnorge.blogspot.com, http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com and http://www.forum-voor-de-vrijheid.nl, it is important that those of us who are _not_ consumed by hatred persist in reaffirming each other's belief in basic human decency. Your blog post, Øystein Runde, is well written and important, and I applaud it. Thank you. -Øystein H. Brekke

Posted by Patty Mon, July 25, 2011 17:45:30

"And I am proud of the fact that we arrested this murderer alive. How would that have played out in USA?". Can you name any terrorist attack in the US where the perpetrators been shot upon capture? No. They have been arrested by the authorities and tried in a court of law. Get your facts straight before you make an implication like that. Unfortunately, none of us are safe from a madman - or woman - with an agenda and access to weapons.

Posted by sambygding Mon, July 25, 2011 17:14:31

Godt skrevet. Imponert over at du fikk frem en så balansert tekst, spesielt med tanke på dagen du skreiv det.

Posted by Eva T. Mon, July 25, 2011 11:08:58

Hei! Så fantastisk å lese dette Øystein. TAKK.
Det er så viktig å bli minnet om det menneskelige bakenom grusomheten. Det er så lett å bli sygd inn i en hat og frykt spiral, som forblinder oss, og der vi også murder, i tankene....
Det er så viktig å gjøre det du gjør, å ta en skritt tilbake og observere seg selv, vedkjenne og akseptere følelsene som hat, deseperasjon, hevntanker som raser i oss, betrakte disse tanker, vite at alle, slik som Anders Behring Breivik , har slike mørke sider, men heldigvis uten å gi dem form, for så rolig å velge et annet sett tanker som bygger opp, forener, varmer, i stedet for å splitte og ødelegge.
Så rolig kan vi velge en annen sett tanker, der man prøver å forstå, se menneske bakenom monsteret, vel akkurat det du gjør i denne analysen.Og slik igjen og igjen.

Posted by Pappa Mon, July 25, 2011 10:30:45

Takk skal du ha Øystein - Dette var heilt utruleg bra, eg er stolt av deg !

Posted by Rebekka Magnus Mon, July 25, 2011 10:08:06

Takk, denne vil jeg dele med alle.

Posted by Kout [CZ] Mon, July 25, 2011 09:58:15

Thank you for a lesson.

Posted by Airborne12 Mon, July 25, 2011 02:57:54

Extremely well written, its too bad that there are sick people that do such destruction towards others. I hope this person it locked up in a cell with all the pictures of all the children that he killed. So they will haunt his soul for the rest of his earth time.


Posted by Solle Mon, July 25, 2011 00:44:38


Posted by Roy G. Øvrebø Mon, July 25, 2011 00:20:43

Thanks for saying this. I think it's the best description of how our society works I've seen yet.

(And it's good to know that an author whose books I've paid money for is a sensible person. I will buy more of your work in the future.)

Posted by M Sun, July 24, 2011 23:31:05

I've read this multiple times, and recommended it more than once to others. I felt the need to finally respond now. Thank you for writing this. In my heart I feel the same things, the desire to see him ripped apart by horses or worse (I'm American, but we are aching here with you, I assure you. Crying with you. Mourning with you.) Thank you for addressing that, and putting it in it's place; FEELINGS. And we are better than that. We must be better than that.

Thank you again.

Posted by David Sun, July 24, 2011 22:51:37

"saving the world from muslims" "to save the world from something he sees as a huge, religiously fanatic threat".... the same way Hitler was thinking, hatred and intolerance of another race and religion

Posted by Geoff Miles Sun, July 24, 2011 21:37:35

One of the the most human attempts to explain the banality of evil that I know is Vasily Grossman's "A Hell Called Treblinka". The more we find out about Breivik's cold execution of nearly 100 young people, and his pseudo-philosophical manifesto, the more chilling the parallel is. Here is Grossman's description of the SS butchers of Treblinka:

..These were the monstrous dragons and reptiles that sprang from the embryo of traditional (German) chauvinism, arrogance, narcissism, self-righteous self-confidence, pedantic, slobbering concern for their own nest and iron-cold indifference to the fate of all living things, from the ferocious and stupid belief that German science, music, poetry, language, lawns, toilets, sky, beer, housing — are the best and most beautiful in the entire universe. It must be emphasized here that these creatures absolutely were not the mechanical executors of the will of others. All witnesses remember their shared traits: a love of theoretical speculation, philosophizing. They all had a weakness for delivering speeches to the doomed, for boasting to them, for explaining the great meaning and significance for the future of what was happening in Treblinka. All of them were deeply and sincerely convinced that they were carrying out a righteous and necessary work. Having worked and partied, as just described, they slept the sleep of the righteous, undisturbed by dreams or nightmares. Their conscience never bothered them, if only because none of them had any conscience. They took interest in gymnastics, passionately protected their health, drank milk in the morning, cared greatly about their household amenities, planted gardens and lush flower beds around their homes, constructed archways of climbing plants. They often, several times a year, vacationed in Germany, because their leadership considered their work very harmful, and carefully protected their health. Back at home, they walked around with head held proudly high, and saying nothing about their work, not because they were ashamed of it but simply because they were disciplined, did not dare to violate their written promise and solemn oath. And when they attended movies in the evening, and laughed loudly, and clip-clapped with their metal-soled boots, it was difficult to distinguish them from most ordinary men. But they were cattle in the greatest sense of the word.

Posted by Dagheid Solholm Sun, July 24, 2011 18:33:03

Thank you for helping us to keep on track! Dagheid

Posted by AF Sun, July 24, 2011 16:57:49

Thank you for posting this and thank you for being politically correct. I feel with Norway, all this is absolutely horrible. I didn't like the bit of freemason bashing though. Theres nothing wrong with freemasonry initially - if you look at them with an open mind. And this comes from an a(nti-)theist. I still hope at least something good will come out of this.. like more people understanding that our world is neither black nor white..

Posted by German mom Sun, July 24, 2011 16:22:33

Thank you for this brilliant article. It makes me want to return to Europe and not raise my children in North America.

Posted by Øystein Sun, July 24, 2011 16:21:02

The comments from christian american readers are particularly wonderful. Thank you. Is there anyone, anyone, anyone, who cannot say "What would Jesus do?"

Being secular is, simply, not being able to believe in all of the collateral magic, the eternal life, the magic healing, et cetera. It is sad, I would love to be able to believe in the rest of it, as I think any faith gives strength. I hope, I hope, that my faith in humans is as strong as that faith. That it can help me through the hardships that life will bring. Being able to think "What would Jesus do" while knowing that your enemy will kill you, and you will die, and be dead forever ... of course it will require courage. I can only hope that we have that courage. I think such a courage might come from a naive, all-encompassing trust. Trust in one's children. Trust in democracy. Trust in love.

The murderer here did not trust other people. Because he saw them as muslims, as a threat, as a mindless mass of evil. So much that he wanted to WARN the rest of us about this mindless, untrustable monster. But Islam is made out of people. Christianity is made out of people. UN is made out of people. Marxist-Communist conspiracies are made out of people. AUF youth camp is made out of people. Human beings always have the potential to change, even though some human beings sadly must be locked away from other human beings forever for safety reasons.

Will we let these arguments seep into our minds? Will we decide not to trust?

We are lucky, up here. We have been invaded by the nazis, but we have trust.

Posted by Sunniva Sun, July 24, 2011 15:45:17

Innsiktsfull refleksjon! Takk....

Posted by synnøve Sun, July 24, 2011 14:36:31

Takk for at du tok deg tiden, og for at du deler!

Posted by Tamera Sun, July 24, 2011 13:17:22

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Thank you for reaffirming my belief that other people believe that vience is never the answer. Peace.

Posted by Henrik Sun, July 24, 2011 12:18:03

Thanks for sharing. Peace.

Posted by johnny segal Sun, July 24, 2011 12:07:22

These days I am thinking a lot of Norway,and all my Norwegian friends.

Thank you for your words.

johnny segal,Israel

Posted by Lage Thune Myrberget Sun, July 24, 2011 11:59:45

Takk for at du "ser" Norge med dine ord!

Posted by Verile Sun, July 24, 2011 11:53:21

Well Written, Thanks for shearing.

Posted by Ingvild Sun, July 24, 2011 11:19:57

Noe av det viktigste jeg har lest de siste to dagene. Sprer det gladelig. Du oppsummerer mye av det mange av oss tenker. Tross det som har skjedd de siste dagene, det forferdelige og ufattelige i det (men dessverre ikke umenneskelige), så vrir det seg et sted dypt inne i magen når fokus fort blir hevn og dårlige polls om at vi i Norge burde hatt dødsstraff.

Posted by Espen R Sun, July 24, 2011 10:53:23

Glimrende, Runde. Glimrende!

Posted by Espen Sun, July 24, 2011 10:49:30

Godt skrevet, du beskriver de verdier verden har bekjempet ondskapen med siden tidenes morgen. Vi ønsker nok alle steile og hjul for denne personen, men hvis staten dreper, så sendes det veldig gale signaler til de staten representerer. Jeg forteller barna mine at å bekjempe den/det man forakter og avskyr ved å opptre som den man forakter og avskyr, alltid bringer seieren til den man forsøker å bekjempe, fordi vi blir som ham. Jeg håper morderen blir erklært tilregnelig og ansvarlig for sine handlinger, en psykiatrisk diagnose vil virke formildende. Jeg tror ikke at Hitler, Göbels, Hesse, Göring eller Himler og alle hans soldater var sinnssyke, til tross for de groteske ugjerningene de utførte. De var produkt av sin ideologi. Derfor trenger vi å forstå at Morderen gjorde det han gjorde på grunn av ideologi, ikke fordi han var gal. Da har vi et effektivt våpen mot den samme ideologien.

Posted by Anna Sun, July 24, 2011 10:38:05

Jeg leser dette igjen, og nå jeg bare si at dette er noe av det beste jeg har lest, og jeg er meget beveget...ydmyk.....tusen takk for dine ord i mitt morsmål...tusen takk for at du skrev en så vakker innlegg. Dette komme til å gi meg styrke framover....Anna

Posted by Anna Sun, July 24, 2011 10:14:45

Tusen takk Øystein, vel skrevet og godt å ha noe på engelsk for mine venner og familie i utlandet

Posted by Debbie Haughland Chan Sun, July 24, 2011 08:24:10

Øystein, thank you for what you have written. My first thoughts about Breivik were similar to your idea of having him torn apart by horses--even that seems too kind--but I am well-chastised by your over-riding attitude that we must rise above such reactions. "What would Jesus do?" you ask. Even though you put that in a secular context (though I'm not sure that's possible), it's a good question to ask. And yet, as a committed Christian, that was not the first question that came to mind; nor the fifth or tenth. I am humbled by what you have written and blessed by a new perspective of the land of my father who was born in the Nordfjord area in 1921. Nicole, one of your commentors, wrote that "Norway is the nation of kindness and forgiveness and even... compassion." I think that sums up what you have written. And, in that regard, I need to become more Norwegian. Thank you so much for what you've written. May God bless you and may God bless Norway.

Posted by Eirik Sun, July 24, 2011 07:49:22

Takk for dine varme og kloke refleksjoner!

Posted by Line Sun, July 24, 2011 04:02:28

Norge <3

Posted by E Leyda Sun, July 24, 2011 03:14:56

Thank you for this. And especially for the last two paragraphs.

Peace from New Orleans, LA, USA


Posted by elayne Sun, July 24, 2011 02:49:07

I don't have any words to express how moving your post is, how deeply it affects me today. I wish I knew more people like you, so that in times like this I wouldn't feel so alone in having those same thoughts and feelings.

Hope and love from Texas, USA,


Posted by 47th Problem of Euclid Sun, July 24, 2011 02:00:36

I was very moved by what you wrote above. Last year, my work took me to Norway for the first time, for three months. I met many wonderful people and have kept many friends, and know you to be a peaceable and reasonable people. I have spent the last two days emailing my friends to see if they were unharmed (thank God, they are), and to console them in this horrible moment. As a Freemason myself, one of the highlights of my time in Norway were my two visits to the oldest Masonic lodge in Norway, where I got to meet many high-ranking Masons, who treated me with exquisite kindness and hospitality. Seeing Anders Behring Breivik in a tuxedo, wearing the apron of a 3rd degree Mason filled me with nausea and disgust. Please do not judge the gentle Craft of Freemasonry by this monster, whose actions are as foreign to true Masonry as they are to true Christianity. If you visit the Grand Lodge building (right across the street from Stortinget), you will find a ballroom with a row of bullet holes in the back wall, from an automatic weapon. When the Nazis invaded Norway, the SS chose the Grand Lodge building as their headquarters. They would get drunk and shoot up the chandeliers with their submachine guns. It took the Grand Lodge until 1960 to clean the building and fix all the damage, and they left those bullet holes in one wall to remind them forever of the violence and savagery of the Nazi occupation. That a man could see those bullet holes in the wall, that are forever fixed in my memory, and perpetuate that violence and savagery, boggles my mind.

My deepest sympathies are with you in Norway in the wake of this unfathomable crime.

Posted by Hopper Stone Sun, July 24, 2011 01:28:25

I have nothing to say but thank you.

Posted by Jaffre Sun, July 24, 2011 00:03:08


Posted by David Mickelson Sun, July 24, 2011 00:01:49

Oystein, your words are profoundly touching, and intuitively right. Norway is an oasis of peace and sanity in this world that gives everyone hope. Please don't change, Norway.

Posted by Michael Sortomme Sat, July 23, 2011 22:44:53

Thank you, Oystein, for posting this wonderful blog piece on the Norwegian Tragedy. It was republished on our DNA and ancestry site on FB by one of my Norse cousins. I am appreciative of your perspective and worldview.

With kind thoughts to you and yours during this difficult time.

Michael Sortomme


Posted by Rain Sat, July 23, 2011 22:24:59

I grieve for those families and your nation. Thank you for showing with your words what you get from living in the most free and open society on the planet - and why that is a goal to be sought.

Posted by Øystein Sat, July 23, 2011 22:05:20

Thank you for correcting the freemasonry point. Removed "high-ranking".

His thoughts and ideas are certainly a very big part of who he is. He just released a 1100-page book two days ago. But I will of course not say that whatever he thinks is wrong just because he kills children. I will not say that. Not even suggesting it.

Posted by Torhild Sat, July 23, 2011 21:31:22

Eg stemmer takksamt i. Dette er "spot on", Øystein.

Posted by Sindre Sat, July 23, 2011 21:18:07

Takk for reflekterte ord. Du satte ord på mye jeg ikke har klart å formulere klart selv.

Posted by Knut Sat, July 23, 2011 21:17:49

Fantastisk godt skrevet. Takk!

Posted by Alexander Sat, July 23, 2011 21:00:45


Posted by Robin Sat, July 23, 2011 20:29:30

Such beautiful words. Thank you for restoring my love of humanity in the face of such inhumanity.

Posted by Kostya Sat, July 23, 2011 20:22:34

Beautiful words, and absolutely true

Posted by Kim (UK) Sat, July 23, 2011 20:06:35

Thank you so much for that. Have no words for anything else.

Posted by Alexander Nyheim Sat, July 23, 2011 20:00:58

Well written. Thanks.

Posted by Robin Sat, July 23, 2011 19:33:07

Jeg er priveligert at jeg kan leve i et land som har sånne som deg Øystein, jeg er stolt over å ha tråkket mine barneføtter hjemme hos så vise og åpne mennesker som dere.

Posted by jim woodring Sat, July 23, 2011 18:45:06

Looking at this tragedy from afar and knowing nothing about this man except for what I read in the news, what I see is apocalypse, the disintegration of a human spirit to the point of incomprehensible, unanswerable monstrosity. Motivation, ideology and politics seem to me to have no more to do with this than they do with the crimes of any mass murderer who acts alone (the massacres carried out by the henchmen of dictators are another matter entirely). It's always something with these guys.

As for his being taken alive, I'm guessing that was his choice.

Whether he is locked up or executed is an open question. There are valid reasons to endorse both options. I have to say that the idea that this man might be judged fit to live among us (or you, rather) in a few dozen years and released gives me pause.

In any event, it's ridiculous to hate a man like this. It's too small a reaction, for one thing. The only response that attains the magnitude of the crime is sorrow and pity for all concerned, including him.

My thoughts and best wishes go out to all of you who have been touched by these horrible events.

Posted by Nicole Sat, July 23, 2011 18:32:40

As a 4th generation Norwegian in the USA, my first thought was how evil this man could be for killing so many children, innocent in their thinking that his "officer" was there to help them but in reality was there to kill them. I thought there had to be a special kind of evil to lure these innocents out with the illusion of safety only to shred that with gunfire. I also thought of ways of how I would retaliate if that was my child murdered by what I deemed was a madman with a gun.

My heart bleeds for Norway right now. I have always embraced my Norwegian roots. But the American in me thought of revenge and retaliation towards this man. The American thoughts of justice by needle, or electric chair.

But after reading this, the thoughts of someone who is there. So close with more at stake than someone who has never stepped foot in the land of my ancestors, I realize that it is not my place to scream for blood. And I realize at this very moment that if the United States is the nation of retaliation, Norway is the nation of kindness and forgiveness and even... compassion. And I know I have never, before this moment, ever been more proud to have Norwegian blood flowing through my veins.

My thoughts, my prayers and my heart goes to everyone in Norway.

Posted by William Sat, July 23, 2011 18:28:54

Takk for at du klarer å sette ord på det vi alle tenker!

Posted by Kris Sat, July 23, 2011 18:28:19

A good read - thank you. One correction, though. The killer was not a high-ranking Freemason. He had grade 3 in a system of 11 grades. And he did not take active part in meetings or other activities. Re: Press Release from the Norwegian Order of Freemasons: http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/oslobomben/artikkel.php?artid=10080647

Posted by chrifpa Sat, July 23, 2011 18:27:23

Thank you.

Posted by Charlotte Sat, July 23, 2011 18:27:09

Takk. Dypt og nyansert skrevet, så tidlig i det norske mareritt.

Posted by Oljanna Sat, July 23, 2011 18:26:09

Thanks for this article, a very good one indeed. And it is very close to a buddhistic point of view. It is interesting how many people think of muslims being "terrorist" when they fundamentally fight for what think is the right way. In a way, they fear that they are taken over. The same the other way round: more and more conservative christians seem to fear to be taken over or terrorised by muslims.

No matter what: Fear and blind justice seems to be the basis for that. And that´s horrible. In both ways.

Today I read a little statement in the memorial for the second world war bombing in hamburg, saying: "A lot people say, they time changes in a bad way. But I´d say the world doesn´t change, it stays the same, but the people worsen."

Posted by Englishman Sat, July 23, 2011 18:21:33

Great piece of writing...i'm English and I was, and continue to be horrified by the tragedy that took place in your country. I've met many Norwegians and have found them all to be extremely kindhearted and moral people and I totally agree with your prime ministers comment that the best aspects of Norway have been shown during this tragic time, I'm talking about humanity, morality and dignity...i hope that as a country, you find the strength to carry on being the Norway you have always been...the rest of the world can, and must, learn a lot from you...

Posted by B Sat, July 23, 2011 17:56:16

Tusen takk! Dette er helt fantastisk skrevet, hvert eneste ord.

Posted by Englishman Sat, July 23, 2011 17:19:52

Some great words written here. I'm sorry for Norway that it took such a terrible day for them to be read.

Posted by Øystein Sat, July 23, 2011 17:05:46

Thank you, Wide Horizons. I now changed the word "islamophobic" to "Islam-critical". I was myself once censored, when my publisher refused to let me draw Allah in the "only the vowel A"-cartoon story "Kan Bjartmann ha katt". I drew the indian god Brahma instead, but I feel it is deeply wrong that the world shall live in fear of such things. However, before the "war on terror", Gary Larson drew Mohammad in this comic strip, read by millions. So something has been done AFTER that to heighten the temperature close to the boiling point. I completely support artists Kurt Westergaard and Lars Vilks in their house arrest, and their fate is horrible and a shame for Islam. Any muslims who want to show their support for Vilks and Westergaard here?

Posted by Jaimi Sat, July 23, 2011 16:56:58

Tusen takk, Øystein.

I'm reminded of a lyric by the Smiths -- "It takes strength to be gentle and kind." Very true right now.

Posted by Wide horizons Sat, July 23, 2011 16:52:06

There is a difference between criticizing Islam and being Islamophobic. Beware what undermines our freedom of speech. Thank you.

Posted by Sindre Helgestad Sat, July 23, 2011 16:46:27

What happened yesterday (22.7) is horrible, truly a sad day for Norway.

This man can't be right, I've read through his comments and what I've seen is scary. I'm only 18, but that is just a number given to me, I'm personally somewhat embarrassed by the immaturity of my friends of same age. They're all set to get Anders B, hanged, killed or executed is some shape or form, I agree with them to a certain extent. But what I personally mean is that it's not the right thing to do, we're just lowering "us" down to the same level he's at.

Your words, Øystein, I agree with them, every single one of them.

Anders B is a demon, he shot down now about 90 teenagers, including one of my friends that're now in-hospitalized and are undergoing an operation.

My hate to him is high, but my sense of right says that we can't kill him, it's wrong and Norway doesn't kill.

Thank you,

Sindre Helgestad, 18, Moss (Norway)

Posted by Todd Sat, July 23, 2011 16:36:24

Excellent post. I'm alarmed by the contrast between how this terrorist is being treated by the media and how he would be treated if he wasn't white. For one, his politically-motivated mass murder isn't being called terrorism. If he was Muslim, it certainly would be. For another, everyone seems obsessed in understanding his reasons and motivations. If he was Muslim, we would sum it up as "the terrorists hate our freedom." It's bizarre how the racist motivations behind his terrorism are being met with racist analysis by the media & the public.

Posted by Victor Sat, July 23, 2011 16:34:41

With you all the way Øystein. It makse me proud to be Norwegian seeing how everybody form emergency response services, sivilian volunteers, political leaders, media and now you have responded to this tragedy.

Peace, understanding and firm hand on anyone who doesn't get it.

Posted by erki Sat, July 23, 2011 15:49:32


Posted by Tessa Vermeiren Sat, July 23, 2011 15:47:07

Heartbroken about the drama in Oslo and Utoya. Thank you for sharing your thougts about the personality and the motives of the murderer. Thank you for helding up a mirror for everybody who has come to think that it is OK to condemn and ostracise everybody who is not 'us'.

Thank you for your strong optimistic view about staying an open, democratic and friendly country. Humanism can save mankind, not extremism, from whatever source.

Tessa Vermeiren, Mol (Belgium)

Posted by HP Skolsegg Sat, July 23, 2011 15:33:32

Takk for at du forsøker å trekke monsteret fram i lyset så vi kan se at det ikke er så annerledes som vi helst vil tro.

Posted by line Sat, July 23, 2011 15:27:47

Takk, du beskriver svært godt det samme som jeg føler akkurat nå, men ikke klarer formulere selv.

Posted by Zoë Sat, July 23, 2011 15:09:42

Touching and inspirational words. Thank you for sharing these important reflections.

Posted by Pablo Sat, July 23, 2011 15:08:32

Glimrende tekst, Øystein. Jeg er lettet over at gjerningsmannen er A. B. Breivik og ikke en Muslim. Kanskje er det slik du sier at de ekstreme jihad-muslimene har for mye respekt for Norge til å bombe oss. Vi får håpe det. Jeg er hvertfall glad for at vi slapp unna å stigmatisere muslimene ytterligere. Vet ikke om Oslo hadde tålt det. Speilberg sa en gang at Nasister er verdens beste fiender. Folk flest elsker å hate dem.

Posted by Pøystein Sat, July 23, 2011 14:53:47

Om vedkomne er intelligent ville han da som fiende av multikulturalisme utført en handling som har samlet oss til den grad denne har?

Posted by Øystein Sat, July 23, 2011 14:47:13


Posted by szev Sat, July 23, 2011 14:36:24


Posted by Kyrre b Sat, July 23, 2011 14:31:18


Posted by Magnus Sat, July 23, 2011 14:25:26

His actions doesn't make sense. If he was a primarily a muslim-hater, why on earth did he kill random, mostly ethnic Norwegian kids from the labor party? If it was the socialist partys youth camp, or a mosque during Friday prayers, it would in a way have made more sense. He must have had some serious issues with the government, but we'll know more about that in a few days I reckon

Posted by e Sat, July 23, 2011 14:22:44

Noe av det mest nyanserte og gjennomtenkte jeg har lest i hele dag. Takk.

Posted by erlend Sat, July 23, 2011 12:28:16

takker for gode tanker, øystein.
prøver å skrive noe sjøl, men trukke det blir noe av.

Posted by Frode S Sat, July 23, 2011 12:23:10

You put words to how I feel, especially about the sanctity of life and the perceived softness of our judicial system. Very proud..

Posted by Larson Sat, July 23, 2011 12:10:48

Thanx! Great work...

Posted by Seth Sat, July 23, 2011 11:40:47

Very good piece about an indescribable event. You helped me to think this through a little more, and I agree with all of your points.

Posted by Christiane Sat, July 23, 2011 11:33:20

Tusen takk for at du satte ord på virrvarret av tankene og følelsene mine, jeg klarte det ikke selv før jeg leste dette. Takk.

- Christiane (mamman til Alfie, rotta du tegnet i Botanisk Hage)

Posted by Sebastian Sat, July 23, 2011 11:09:04

Flott reflektert og skrive. Ikkje lett å setje ord på slike hendingar, men du greier det på ein god og gjennomtenkt måte.

Posted by Miriam Sat, July 23, 2011 10:25:27

Gode ord, Øystein!! Det hele er bare så uforståelig, at jeg tror ikke noen noen gang vil fatte og begripe hva som foregikk (og foregår) inne i hodet på denne personen... om vi kan kalle han det...