Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Tragedy in Norway: This is a Real Crown Prince
Following the Oslo government buildings bombing and the shootings at Utøya on Friday, Norway and Scandinavia, as with the rest of the world, was plunged into a nightmare scenario of mass killings and domestic terrorism nearly on the same scale as the Oklahoma City bombings. In Scandinavia, the killer's right-wing, anti-Islam, anti-immigrant manifesto is a chilling reminder of the growing native restlessness with non-European immigration to the region, in particular by Muslims.
Norway's royal family hasn't skipped a beat. They have responded to the sadness and the face of death and destruction with compassion and a call for unity and solidarity with the western ideals of democracy and freedom, all under the umbrella of vibrant multiculturalism. In particular, Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Mette-Marit have been at the forefront of the official response. This is a royal family to be proud of. Norway's royals have responded to the task of providing an image of stability and compassion to the rest of the country.
Saturday, 23 July, the royals and prime minister were allowed to visit some of the survivors of Utøya and Oslo and their families.
Later on Saturday, there was a service at Oslo Cathedral attended by the royal children, Princess Ingrid Alexandra (age 7), Prince Sverre Magnus (age 5) and Marius Borg Høiby (age 14).
On Saturday, there was a moment of silence throughout the country. The King, The Queen, and Crown Prince Haakon attended this event in Oslo, while Crown Princess Mette-Marit attended a service near Utøya, where her step-brother was one of the first ones reported killed. Her mother, Mette Tjessem, also attended.
On Sunday, the royal family split duties again with The King, The Queen, Princess Märtha Louise attending church in Oslo at the Cathedral and Haakon and Mette-Marit attending Norderhov church in Ringerrike.
Neighbouring country Sweden got involved and Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel were the royal delegation to Sweden's official mourning service at the Norwegian Seaman's Church in Stockholm. Denmark's queen issued a statement of support and mourning from her official visit to northern Greenland. Denmark's Crown Princely Couple is still on holiday in the south of France.
Monday, 25 July, a Rose Parade was launched in City Hall Plaza in Oslo. First up among speakers was Crown Prince Haakon in this video. What a poised yet forceful speaker. The text of his speech is below. On Tuesday, the Crown Prince visited an Oslo mosque.
Tonight the streets are filled with love.
We have chosen to respond to cruelty with proxies.
We have chosen to meet hatred with cohesion.
We have chosen to show what we stand for.
Norway is a country in mourning. We think of all those who have suffered losses. Those who are missing.
To all who made a heroic effort to save lives and restore peace of mind. And leaders who have been put to tough tests in recent days.
Those who stayed on the island and in the Government quarters were the targets of terror, but it affects us all.
Clearly and terribly, we have seen how much impact individual people's actions can have.
It shows that it means something which positions each of us has, what we choose to build our lives on. And how we choose to use it for the benefit of each other and the community we live in.
After 22 July we can never again allow ourselves to think that our opinions and beliefs are irrelevant. We must confront every day, equipped to fight for the free and open society, those values we are so fond of.
Dear young people: you all are our corrective, our courage and our hope. It is you who will shape and determine which Norway we should have in the years to come. Each and every one of you is inalienable. But we have lost a lot.
The Norway we want no one can take from us.
Tonight's streets is filled with love.
We face a choice. We can't undo that as it was done.
But we can choose what to do with us as a society and as individuals.
We can choose that no one should have to stand alone.
We can choose to stand together.
It is up to each one of us now. It is up to you and it's up to me.
Together, we have a job to do. It's a job that needs to be done around the dinner table, in the cafeteria, in organizational life, in non-governmental life, by men and of women in rural areas and in the city.
We will have a Norway where we live together in fellowship with the freedom to believe and outside us, how we see the differences as opportunities, where freedom is stronger than fear.
Tonight's streets are filled with love.