When you spend your childhood as a refugee, fleeing nationalism, racism, hatred, prosecution, war, torture, rape and murder... when you go from one day to another, not knowing whether you are now an orphan or not... and you finally make it to a place of peace ... you think... you hope... you eventually believe that you are safe and free...here I can be happy... but even there you hear...
...the hum of a million accusations, questions, suspicions...the hushed comments around friends' dinner tables and drunken ramblings at parties... and all those things you dismiss, you forgive, and you tell yourself that they don't really mean it... and they tell you: "I don't mean you, you're not like the others, you're Norwegian."
This horrifying phrase clearly marks how even people who are close to you distrust, fear, even hate the Others. And I am the Others. And those people, friends, acquaintances, they do mean me. And it hurts.
Yesterday, that hum turned into a blast, gunshots and countless screams. Even now it is a siren rolling down my beautiful Oslo street. And people ask me 'How did this happen?'
And I remember how and why it happened before.
Because people watched in silence. Because people tolerated messages of hatred to spread and grow. Because people let their fears take over.
Do not kid yourselves out there. All those little comments, and jokes, and jabs, and questions add up. The most radical right wing party still stands strong in Norway, as do other similar parties across Europe. Spreading anti-Islamic, racist, anti-immigrant and anti-immigration propaganda, and fueling the monster that reared its ugly head yesterday, they all contributed to yesterday's events.
This was the work of one man, one extremist, but even he was influenced and supported by others.
However. This man does not represent the Norwegian people, though I think we must face some uncomfortable truths at this terrible time.
I firmly believe that it is everyone's duty to make sure that this does not happen again. We must all face our fears and prejudices and deal with them. We must all learn to live together, respect and tolerate each other, and peacefully find solutions to our common problems.
Do not forget! Yesterday's attacks, though based on appalling extremist right-wing ideology, were also attacks on democracy and peace. All I can do is echo the messages of our current government:
We will not be silenced or stopped by violence.
Our answer to this attack must be more democracy and more openness.
My heart goes out to the youth from AUF Utøya, and their families and friends. My heart goes out to the parents and families whose children will not be coming home. I know all too well the feelings and fear they must feel but there are no words to describe it, nor do I wish anyone to know such pain.
My heart goes out to the people of Oslo and all of Norway.
To you my dear WOW players...
Take care of each other. Grant each other love and respect. And don't ever forget.
Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I strongly recommend this article: Norway's attacks reveal a world of hatred.