According to both Reuters and MSNBC the Norwegians came out by the thousands today. They filled Youngstorget Square in Oslo and gathered simultaneously in other towns across the nation. They carried roses and wept. They sang the song, "Children of the Rainbow." Reportedly it is the Norwegian version of Pete Seeger's 1971 tune, "My Rainbow Race." The lyrics celebrate tolerance and multi culturalism. They speak about a seamless mix of different ethnic groups living in peace together.
Ahh, idealism. I once knew it well.
Despite the presence of Anders Breivik in their midst that noble dream apparently hasn't died the horrible death in Norway. An estimated 40,000 people were singing this particular song because Breivik, who murdered 77 innocent people last year, hates it. He claims it is nothing more than Marxist propaganda meant to brainwash the nation's youth into accepting the creeping take over of Europe and Norway by Islam. He has yet to explain how Marxism, which condemns all religion, has become so tolerant of the Muslim faith. But then logic many times escapes those who have come to the conclusion that killing innocent people is the right thing to do.
Breivik is utterly unapologetic for his brutality. In fact he seems completely proud of it, calling those he killed traitors. He finds it insulting that the court is even considering declaring him insane. He insists his mental capacity is completely undiminished by his xenophobia. He is, in his mind anyway, possibly the only rational person in Norway.
His victims are testifying now. Reuters reports that government employee, Harold Foesker took the stand and testified that the bomb cost him 80% of his eye sight and that his face had to be restored. At the same time Foesker said that he is proud to live in a country that treats criminal defendants with dignity. There is a man who can turn the other rebuilt cheek.
After Tim McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City local residents drove around town for days with car lights on during the daytime. We continued to do so until the last body part was removed from the rubble. I suppose it was our way of singing, "Children of the Rainbow." Of course we then made damn sure McVeigh was shot up with enough poison that he ceased to exist.
Dignity is, like so much else on this blue ball, a relative thing.
The Norwegians are overwhelmingly stunned by Breivik's insanity and gruesome crime. They are desperately trying to cling to their ideals and that beautiful self portrait of their society they hold so dear. I admire them for it sometimes and at others think of them as incredibly naive. I have this terrible suspicion they have now become cynics in training. I hope I'm wrong. It is nice to think somewhere in this world fairy tales actually do exist.
There are so few of them left that, quite frankly, most of us have forgotten the words.