Norway Remembers Victims of Bomb and Shooting Attacks, One Year on

The country is commemorating victims of a bomb and gun massacre that shocked the whole world one year ago.

Anders Behring Breivik, a 33-year-old far-right fanatic, carried out Norway attacks: a bombing of the government headquarters in Oslo and the gun massacre at the left-wing Labor Party’s youth camp on Utoya island. Photo: Eder Fonseca/Flickr

One year passed since 77 people were killed and 242 in massacres in Oslo and on the island of Utoeya.

In a wreath-laying ceremony Sunday at the place where the bomb was exploded, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Breibik failed in his goal of destroying the country’s commitment to being an inclusive, multicultural society.

The bomb and the shots were intended to change Norway. People responded by embracing our values. He failed, the people won,” Stoltenberg told the crowd.

“It’s been a very heavy year for all of us. Not a day has passed the tragedy has not filled the room,” Norway’s Prime Minister said in his speech.

“The bomb and bullets were aimed at changing Norway. The Norwegian people responded by embracing our values,” he continued. “Let us honour the dead by being happy about the life they had, and the life we share.”

On the Utoya, almost all the survivors met for a commemoration that included releasing a large, heart shaped helium balloon to which they had attached personal messages, ABC News writes.

“Very few people can go through a day without thinking of the events of July 22,” said Vegard Groeslie Wennesland, who survived the bloody massacre.

“You know, a person you miss, someone you were supposed to hang out with or seek advice from or anything like this. Or something that just reminds you of what happened.”

“It has changed me. I now appreciate the moment, enjoy life here and now,” said another suvivor, who escaped the killer by barricading himself in a cabin with about 50 others.

Christin Bjelland, the mother of a boy, who survived the shootings, said the commemorations were especially important for the bereaved.

“What happened here is so huge, there were so many affected, that I think it means a lot to come together for those who wish and feel the love and care between all the affected,” she said.

The buildings damaged in the bomb attack have not yet been fully repaired, reports BBC. The prime minister’s office which was the target for bomb and the ministry of health buildings are still covered in plastic.

Breivick’s attacks are said to be the worst act of violence in the country since World War II. They caused a national debate considering the tolerance and democracy in Norway.

The killer, who has stood trial for three months, made an attempt to justify his moves by claiming he was trying to stop Muslims from taking over Norway.

However, the major part of the population alongside with the government have actively promoted tolerance and openness to counter Breivik’s views.

“I think that people thought it a bit naive to cling to these values of openness in a situation like that,” said Vegard Groeslie Wennesland, a Labour Party activist who survived the attack.

“But I think it’s more naive to think that brutal police, or more restrictive policies will bring you a safer society,” he added.

Judges are to deliver their verdict whether the far-right killer is insane or not, and therefore whether he will be given a long prison sentence or be sent to a secure psychiatric ward.

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