Erna Solberg says that, ‘July the 22nd will always be associated with fear, despair and sadness’

Prime Minister Erna SolbergOslo. Prime Minister Erna Solberg.Photo : Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

Six years after the bomb exploded at the government building in central Oslo, Prime Minister, Erna Solberg of Høyre, warned against the forgetfulness.

 

‘For us, July the 22nd is a date that will always be associated with fear, despair and sadness,’ said Solberg when she spoke at the memorial outside Høyblokka on Saturday morning.


After the speech, the prime minister emphasised how important it is to not forget the attack, and to remember those who were killed or injured.


‘I understand very well that people want a remembrance, and this is not something to tone down. This was the biggest attack in Norway after World War II, and it hit so bloody and so hard,’ Solberg told NTB news agency.


A distinguished prime minister

The Prime Minister was clearly affected during the remembrance, and dried her tears several times. She stressed the importance of stopping the development of extreme attitudes.


‘It is, perhaps, one of the most important things we can do; to prevent extremism, and prevent people from believing that violence is a way to implement a political agenda,’ she said.


She believes the terrorist attack in 2011 opened many people’s eyes to what can happen if extreme attitudes grow freely.


‘The attack was an epiphany for all of us about how vulnerable we actually are. It’s part of living in an open society, and we can’t get away from it,’ said Solberg.


Arbeiderpartiet (Labour – AP) leader, Jonas Gahr Støre, was present during the remembrance event, which he referred to as important and worthy.


‘It’s important to remember the terrible thing that happened, to prevent it from happening again,’ Støre told NTB news agency after the event.


Important memorial

In her speech, Erna Solberg spoke of the importance of establishing memorials, and thanked, among other groups, the Arbeiderpartiets ungdomsorganisasjon (Labour Youth Organisation – AUF) for their constructive input.


Utøya neighbours in the countryside have conducted a long-lasting fight against plans for a memorial of ‘Memory Wound’ at Sørbråten, and are also opposed to the compromise decision to move the memorial to Utøya-kaia (Utøya quayside).


‘I think it is a search, the situation with the memorials, but that’s because we have had a lot of difficulty in establishing an original memorial on Utøya,’ said Solberg.


AUF leader, Mani Hussaini, also emphasised the struggle against forgetfulness, and keeping an awareness of Breivik’s hateful way of thinking. The schools must take the July 22nd events, and the background to terrorist acts, into the curriculum of their teaching, he believes.


Reading of the victim’s names

‘I hope students also learn about the perpetrator’s way of thinking, ideology and his hatred. We can’t allow ourselves to forget. July the 22nd was not a tragedy, it was terrorism, aimed at our democracy and the AUF. The story must be told time after time’, said Hussaini.


Lars Bremnes played two musical performances. Later on Saturday, the Utøya victims were remembered at a wreath laying ceremony on Utøya-kaia.


The names of the victims of the July 22nd attacks were read out as a part of the memorial. The destruction in the government quarter ended with a wreath-laying ceremony there.

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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