Norwegian Language Blog

Tragedies in Norway Posted by on Jul 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


I have been in complete shock since yesterday morning when I heard about the tragedies in Norway.  My home away from home has experienced something few ever thought was possible.  5 years ago, when Oslo was my home, I read the newspaper every morning, the front page of which rarely contained much about Norway.  The local news in Norway is usually pretty boring and that´s because the majority of people lead very normal and safe lives.  There are many people could not point Norway out on a map or tell you what language is spoken there.  Most people who do know anything about Norway think of it as a kind of paradise.  With a little less than 5 million people, breathtaking nature, plenty of wealth to go around and a socialist democracy run by the Labor Party, Norway is a pretty sweet place to live.  Besides a few rough areas in Oslo and Bergen, it´s difficult to find an place in Norway where one would feel unsafe walking around alone.


Norway is certainly not a place one would expect car bombs and mass shootings to occur.  Norway lost a piece of her innocence yesterday.  In what appears to be a solo mission, a 32 native Norwegian man named Anders Behring Breivik, set off a car bomb in Oslo killing 7 people and injuring more.  The bomb went off in the government quarter.  It blew all of the windows out of several buildings.  Surely a target, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was unharmed.  As if this wasn´t enough of a tragedy, Breivik set out for Utøya, a small island about 60 miles away where young children attend a Labor Party camp every year.


Breivik, who was dressed in police attire, flashed a fake badge to the guards and said he was sent to the island on a routine security check after what happened in Oslo.  He was taken in a boat to the island and proceeded to the central building where the campers were meeting to discuss what had happened in the capital.  Children from 14-19 years old were sobbing and sharing their disbelief about the tragedy in Oslo.  Breivik announced that he´d like all of the campers to gather so he could talk to them.  He entered the building and open fired his machine gun at the campers.  Hundreds of panicked kids ran out of the building to seek refuge in bushes, behind trees, and many attempted to swim to safety.  As of now, the number of death toll is at 82.  Breivik shot down 82 innocent children on an island with nowhere to go.  I don´t believe a more cowardly act is possible.

Breivik´s motives are not completely known at this point, but it is clear, based on the stories that have come out about himself and his political views, that he was targeting the Labor party.  He is an extremist who hates and fears Islam and obviously does not agree with the Labor Party´s immigration policies.  I will not attempt to explain Breivik´s mind in this post, as I will never understand it.

I simply wanted to get the word out to those who may not have heard and offer my condolences through a broader medium to all of those in Norway who are grieving for a loss because of the recent tragedies.  This tells me that no person or place is immune to the anger and violence that humans can reveal.

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. LGB:

    I have been in Oslo too. It’s hard to imagine that this thing can happen there, I must say 🙁 And how crazy people’s mind work: Breivik fears and hates Islam (as you wrote) but he uses the same “methods” as people believe in their belief so much that they can kill too. So he is not even better than fanatic others even the ones he fears … Odd. And very very sad, for sure.

  2. inaki:

    From Bilbao, Basque Country: Very difficult to find any suitable word on this tragedy. Only my warmest support to the people of Norway, who has displayed an utmost mankind with their answer. See you soon, Norway.