July 22, 2011 will be remembered as one of the darkest days in Norwegian history. A day struck by two horrendous attacks leaving 76 people dead, most of them teenagers sharing a strong passion for democracy, welfare and solidarity. A day we will never forget.
Condolence service at the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Bangkok July 27 (Photo: Kaptan Jungteerapanich)
The bomb explosion outside the Government building in Oslo and the massacre at the Labour Party youth camp on the nearby island of Utøya have left few unaffected.
The scope of the attacks is reflected in the massive response from the international community. People have gathered in all parts of the world to offer their condolences and express sympathies with the Norwegian people. That something like this could strike a small peaceful country like Norway is for many still unbelievable.
In an interview, Mr. Erik Svedahl, Minister Counsellor at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bangkok, tells Prachatai; “We were not prepared for something like this to happen. Norway is generally a very peaceful place so this came as a total surprise”.
The Embassy opened a book of condolence on Tuesday and Wednesday (July 26-27). Many people attended this condolence service and after two days the book was filled with messages of sympathy and condolence. Many also brought flowers and lit candles.
As part of the Embassy staff, Mr. Erik Svedahl adds; “It’s very nice to experience the support and sympathy that people come here to express. We are very grateful for the fact that people care about what happened and that they come here to show their support”.
In a letter of condolence addressed to Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the Thai Government strongly condemns the attacks and sends its “profound sympathies and condolences to the victims and the bereaved families, as well as to the Government and people of Norway”.
Following the attacks, the Norwegian Prime Minister held a moving speech at the Memorial in Oslo Cathedral, emphasising that in response to the horrendous attacks, “our answer is more democracy, more openness”.
No one expressed it better than one of the survivors of the Utøya massacre in an interview with CNN; “If one man can show so much hate, think how much love we could show, standing together”.
Emphasising these words, Prachatai offers its sincere condolences and sympathies to all those affected by these horrible acts of terror and encourages the incredible solidarity seen in Norway and around the world.