LONDON, England — The world is in shock, hardly a surprise, as no one can say that they expected such horrific events to happen in such a peaceful country.
Norway, one of the founding members of the United Nations, hasn’t seen dramatic events on such a scale since World War II.
As many as 92 people are confirmed as dead, with many more injured, and there are still several people missing.
So who do the authorities believe is behind this catastrophe? Anders Behring Breivik has been charged for both the bomb in Oslo and the mass shooting at a youth camp on the island of Utoeya.
He reportedly surrendered when police arrived at the island and confessed to the crimes, apparently spurred by his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim agenda.
Reports in the Norwegian media say he posted on a right-wing extremist website, expressing anti-Muslim sentiments and releasing a long manifesto just before the attack.
This news has hit home here in England particularly hard, coming just one day after the memorial of the July 21st bombings that shook London six years ago.
The London press is reporting in full detail about the tragedy. The newspapers showed full-color images of victims and survivors of both the shooting and the explosion, covered in blood, supported by paramedics, and yet clearly overjoyed to be alive.
Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the attacks, expressing condolences on behalf of the United Kingdom, and offering all necessary aid in tracking down the perpetrators, should that become necessary.
Foreign Secretary William Hague stated that England stands “shoulder to shoulder with Norway and all our international allies, after the ‘horrific’ attack.”
Even Queen Elizabeth has written to Norway’s King Harald, stating, “I am deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic loss of life of so many people on the island of Utoeya and in Oslo.”
The press and the government are responding in the manner that is expected. But, how is the public responding?
This tragedy has brought the nation together again, as it was in the aftermath of the July bombs six years ago. An atrocity on this scale, seen also in 2004 in Madrid always unites a country, regardless of other problems,
England has not been as divided as it currently is for a long time, with the gap between rich and poor increasing, and political tension growing, not only between the Conservative and Labour parties, but also in the LibCon coalition.
Regardless of this fact, the country has come together and put aside any differences in the hope of offering support, prayers and comfort to those who were injured, or who lost loved ones in the attacks.
The world is reeling.
A peaceful country, a democracy where nothing untoward has happened for many, many years has been rocked by these terror attacks.
The thoughts and prayers of the UK, and doubtless the rest of the world are with the citizens of Norway. No one could ever have expected that this would occur, and yet we are rising to the challenge.
As The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin wrote. “We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil. Yet the true measure of a people’s strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive.
Every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless,” he wrote.
With the support of the world, those in Norway must now rise to the challenge as its people face this difficult time.