A terrorist attack is always horrendous, it's always scary and it always leaves us more or less in a state of shock. I'm old enough to have experienced too many of them. But never have I been as affected as now.
It's personal to me this time. So very personal. Not just because of geographical closeness, but because I know the people who were on the island. A few personally, and all of them in my heart. I grew up as a part of this political movement, I went to these camps when I was young. Both in Sweden and Norway. I've been there. I can feel the smell of the tents, how cold it is when you wake up. How you always fall in love with someone on the first day of camp. How you stay up all night to be with them. The taste of the Norwegian breakfast (white bread and jam) that you eat in the company of people who share your ideas and beliefs. Ideas and beliefs that are founded in democracy and peace.
Everyone is naive at 16. It's a naivete that makes you believe in the goodness of people, that we are all capable of tolerance and love, that we can all share the resources of this world and live in peace. It's a naivete that I wish more people would keep their whole life, because if they did, perhaps we what happened at Utøya yesterday wouldn't have happened.
But it did. And 85 kids, 85 naive and beautiful kids, who were on that island because they believed in an ideal world, were brutally killed by a terrorist full of hate. Shot by a man who is convinced that people can not unite, that we with our different cultures and religions are bound to keep separated from each other. That we have nothing to teach each other and nothing to share. A terrorist separatist who thinks that his heritage and his culture is better than everyone else. A man, full of hate and fear. A man who instead of using the democracy we fought so hard to get, decides to murder his opponents.
Today it has felt as if I've been stuck in grief, like quicksand, as the rest of the world rushes past me. I haven't been able to take part in anything else that goes on. But that too, will pass. And when it does, I'm going to take back as much as I possibly can of my 16 year old naivete. For the sake of these 85 kids and for everyone else who ever believed in tolerance and peace. For everyone who doesn't.
Yesterday Norway’s prime minister said “We will retaliate with more democracy.” And I hope will will. Retaliate with democracy and peace and tolerance. I'm not going to spend another second of my life hating the man who did this, because hate will never get them back, hate will never bring us peace or ease our sorrow.
When Ali Esbati fled the island, he stopped to help a girl who was shot and lying on the ground, and she said to him “If I die now, remember that you're all fantastic.”
So remember, that you're all fantastic. And remember Utøya. . Unite, regardless of your political convictions, religions or cultures, and create a world of tolerance and peace. For me, for you, for the kids on the island, and for everyone who comes after them.