"Our response will be more openness, more democracy"

Last updated: 7/28/2011 // On Monday July 25th two hundred thousand people gathered in the centre of Oslo with flowers in their hands. They gathered in remembrance of the victims and in support of the survivors of the heinous attacks on Friday July 22nd. Among them was Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg who delivered this rousing speech.

"Dear all of you,
What a sight!
I am standing face to face with the will of the people.
You are the will of the people.
Thousands and thousands of Norwegians – in Oslo and all over the country – are doing what you are this evening.
Taking over the streets, the squares, the public space, with the same defiant message:
We are broken hearted, but we are not broken.
With torches and roses we are sending a message out to the world:
We will not allow fear to break us.
And we will not allow the fear of fear to silence us.

The sea of people I see in front of me today and the warmth I feel from people all over the country convinces me that I am right.
Norway will pass the test.
Evil can kill individuals, but it can never defeat a whole people.
This evening the Norwegian people are writing history.
With the strongest weapons in the world – freedom of speech and democracy – we are staking out the course for Norway after 22 July 2011.

There will be a Norway before and Norway after 22 July.
But it is we who will decide how that Norway will be.
Norway will be recognisable.
Our response has grown in strength through the incomprehensible hours, days and nights we have been through, and it is amplified powerfully this evening:
More openness, more democracy. Resolve and strength.
That is us. That is Norway.
We will take back our security!

Since the attacks in Oslo and on Utøya, we have been united in shock, despair and grief.
And we will continue to be, but it will not only be like this.
Slowly, the first of us will begin to be able to face everyday life again. Others will need more time.
It is important that we respect these differences. All forms of grief are equally normal.

Still we must take care of one another.
Show that we care.
Talk to those who have been hardest hit.
Be fellow human beings.
We who are gathered here have a message to all of you who have lost one of your loved ones:
We are here for you.

We will also look towards Norway after 22 July 2011.
We must be careful not to draw too many or too definite conclusions while we are a nation in mourning, but there are certain things we can promise one another this evening.

Firstly,
Out of all this pain, we can glimpse something valuable that has taken root.
What we see this evening may be the largest and most important march that the Norwegian people have taken part in since the Second World War.
A march for democracy, solidarity and tolerance.

People all over the country are standing shoulder to shoulder at this moment.
We can learn from this. Do more of this.
Each and every one of us can make the fabric of democracy as little stronger. This is what we are seeing here.

Secondly,
I want to say this to all the young people here.
The massacre on Utøya was an attack against young people’s dream of being able to help to make the world a better place.
Your dreams have been brutally crushed.
But your dreams can be fulfilled.
You can keep the spirit of this evening alive. You can make a difference.
Do that!
I have a simple request to make of you.
Get involved. Care.
Join an organisation. Take part in debates.
Use your vote.
Free elections are the jewel in the crown of democracy.
By taking part, you are saying a resounding yes to democracy.

Finally,
I am infinitely grateful to be living in a country where, at a critical time, people take to the streets with flowers and candles to protect democracy.
To honour and commemorate those we have lost.
This shows that Nordahl Grieg was right:
“We are so few in this country; each of the fallen is a brother and friend.”

We will carry this with us as we start to shape Norway after 22 July 2011.
Our fathers and mothers promised us, “There will never be another 9 April.”
We say, “There will never be another 22 July.”"


Bookmark and Share