Monday, July 25, 2011

The Norway Attacks: A Personal Reaction

I've just watched the judge's statement and an interview with the Norwegian Prime Minister on BBC. That's the only English-language news television I've had available during most of this trip.

I keep being impressed with the Norwegian government, the Prime Minister in particular. The reporters badger the officials with their cheap attempts to elicit statements of blame or recriminations, and the officials will not play that game. The police are investigating, and we must wait for their results.

I'm particularly grateful to the BBC for televising the entire service from Oslo Cathedral Sunday morning. I no longer consider myself religious, but I was brought up Lutheran, and I find high-church ritual moving. Sunday morning I came back to my room from a quiet morning on the beach and turned on the television to find the service just starting.

The theme of the service was compassion and comfort. There was even a tiny hint of compassion for the perpetrator, but mention of him was mostly absent. The emphasis was on sharing the grief and helping one another to get through a terrible time.

Do not give in to fear. That was another theme, repeated many times in the Archbishop's homily.

In a way, the service gave me what I had been missing in the response to 9/11. Not macho jumping onto the ruins with a bullhorn. Not telling us to go shopping, but a candid recognition of the horror of the act and the mixture of feelings it provoked. Then reaching out to those most hurt so that healing can begin. Compassion and support.

1 comment:

helmut said...

Elegant and right on.