Sunday, July 15, 2012

remembering the attacks in Norway

Ja, vi elsker dette landet!
Ja, vi elsker dette landet! by etnobofin via Flickr (Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license)
The one-year anniversary of the attacks in Norway is on the twenty-second. For the last few days, I've been thinking about those events and the anniversary, and have put together a commemoration of my own, mostly through music, though I am also writing a prayer.

There's a part of me that is still dealing with that news and trying to understand it. Sometimes I cry when I think about the attacks and all the lives lost: the two youngest victims were fourteen years old. Even now, I still find it difficult to put what I feel into words. There are some things that I can describe better through dance and/or visual art, and this is one of them. This is one of the reasons why I'm an artist: so that I can give a voice to things for which there are no words.

On Friday I posted a note on Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg's Facebook timeline, having read a Reuters article saying that Norway had indeed become more open and more democratic since the attacks. I wrote about my experience as a Canadian living on the US/Canada border, and how the US tightened security after 9/11, requiring us to show picture ID or drivers' license and later passports, how "I still long for the days when crossing the border was as simple as answering a question or two," and thanking him for approaching the attacks in the way that he did. After 9/11, the terrorists won: crossing the border became tougher, the US became more paranoid. After 7/22, Norway won: instead of becoming paranoid, Norway, which was already a very open country, became even more so. That is how you respond to a horrific event: with love, and with a refusal to let it change the country. For several years, I have admired Norway for being so open, peaceful and liberal, but after what happened last July my admiration for the country went through the roof, where it has stayed ever since.

Here's the playlist for the commemoration:

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