Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Why Norway Matters

A person I know was showing some surprise at the attention the attacks in Norway have received here in Finland. For us, these attacks were something unimaginable, and the degree of shock was high. Why? One explanation is the Nordic closeness – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland share a long, common history. The political cooperation has been tight for decades; all the languages (except Finnish and Sami) are so closely related that we understand each other (more or less). Furthermore, our societies are based on similar values. One of these values is trust towards society, and other people around us. What happened in Norway destroyed this trust, at least partly. Another reason for the shock is the fact that the killer attacked his “own”, there is no “other” that can be blamed – whatever factors that caused this person to act the way he did can only be found in his own head and in the society where he lived. In a society where the left-right divide isn’t as strong as it used to be, where society seems to be suffering from some kind of political apathy -  it seems incomprehensible a reason to murder people – children, whose only crime was that they believed in an opposing political ideology.

Norway also matters because the discussions following the tragedy have shown that, although there is a lot of love out there, there is a lot of hatred. The worst part is that a lot of the people spitting out racist and extreme opinions don’t consider those opinions as such.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's only human to try to figure out the "why" behind tragedies like this, but I'm afraid the answers will never make sense to reasonable people.

Norway will heal. They are loved.