Norway mourns the massacre of at least 98 victims of terror after years of presuming to be immune to terrorist attacks and to be a model for peace.
The country was shocked by the 32-year-old home-grown gunman, dressed as a policeman, who went on a rampage at a summer camp on an island and killed dozens of children and others at a conference for the youth wing of Norway’s ruling Labor party. The murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, expressed no remorse for the slaughter Friday night.
Norway is the home of the Oslo Peace Accords between the Palestinian Authority and Israel which literally exploded in Israel’s face in 2000 with the outset of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.
“Tucked away in a northern corner of Europe, Norwegians have been in the enviable position of watching others deal with mega acts of violence and even being able to pass judgment on the way others have handled acts of terrorism,” noted the non-political global travel industry website eTurboNews.
Norwegians are struggling with the mega-terrorist attack the likes of which had not been known, until Friday, in the ”Land of the Midnight Sun.” The country is in mourning, with the Norwegian flag at the country's embassy in Israel at half-mast.
More gruesome for Norwegians was the cold-blooded method of the disguised killer, who had planned the massacre for two years. He entered the day camp under the pretense of checking security after a previous bomb blast he set off in Oslo, killing seven people outside the office of the prime minister.
He reportedly told the campers, “Come over and play with me” before opening fire and indiscriminately gunning down anyone in his gun sight. The screams of children helped him located them in the darkness.
Norway also is dealing with the slow response of security forces, which did not arrive at the scene to stop the rampage until 90 minutes after it began. Police, who generally patrol streets unarmed, did not have access to a helicopter and were not able to find a boat that would take them to the scene of the horrendous crime. There is no bridge to the island.
Breivik, a right-wing extremist, wrote a 1,500-word manifesto before the attack, in which he condemned Muslim immigration. Norway also is a safe home for anti-Semitism.
Despite the attack, Norway is not about to change its principles of freedom. “I remain convinced that the belief in freedom is stronger than fear. I remain convinced in the belief of an open Norwegian democracy and society. I remain convinced in the belief in our ability to live freely and safely in our own country,’’ said King Harald V.