Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tragedy in Oslo Update

So, here we are, less than 36 hours after a bomb exploded in central Oslo, killing at least seven people. Now, we have come to learn that this may have been the first of a two part attack against Norwegian citizens, the second being a mass shooting on the island of Utoya.

So far, what is known is that yesterday at 3:26 Oslo time a car bomb exploded outside of the Prime Minister's office, leaving at least 7 dead and dozens injured. A little over an hour later, there are reports of gunfire from a political youth camp on the island of Utoy, where a Norwegian counter-terrorism team was dispatched. Over the next hour or so the gunman proceeded to shoot and kill at least 84 people on the island. As the day went on, information began to come out that the gunman may also have been seen at the location of the bombing earlier in the day.

Last night and today teams have begun to search the wreckage of the bomb blast area, looking for trapped survivors and further casualties. So far it is still somewhat unclear what the motive behind these two heinous acts may have been, though a number of speculations have been offered by different sources. 

Sons of Norway is focusing on those who have been affected by these tragic events and how best to help in Norway's healing process as it recovers from the largest loss of life in a single day since world war II. It's not just the staff of Sons of Norway, either; it's the members, too. Those of us at the Headquarters have been receiving numerous calls from members asking for confirmed information and wanting to know what they can do to help.

It really makes me emotional to see this kind of outpouring of love and support for a country that is thousands of miles away across land and sea. I think it's a real testament to the commitment that Sons of Norway members have to our mission and to our namesake nation.

In addition to calls from members we've also been receiving a number of calls from media to provide commentary on how this story is being received by, or affecting, the Norwegian American community. In fact, the media has been reaching out to members and lodges throughout the U.S. and Canada. For those who are interested, I'm providing a list below, which will be updated as I get more information.

  • WCCO (MPLS) talked about Sons of Norway and interviewed our CEO Eivind Heiberg,
  • Duluth News Tribune spoke with members involved with the upcoming Royal visit.
  • Montreal Gazette spoke to our Edmonton lodge
  • Milwaukee members react to the tragedy
  • Sonoma gets local reaction from members and leaders
  • Santa Barbara lodge president speaks with Fox News affiliate
  • Baltimore members spoke with their ABC affiliate
  • Arizona District 6 officer spoke with local affiliates.
As I hear of more stories, I will update as much as I can. In the meantime, Sons of Norway asks everyone who is reading the blog today to keep Norway and its citizens in their thoughts and prayers as they work towards a brighter tomorrow.

Also, if you have a kind thought you'd like to share, or talk about how this event has made you feel, please feel free to do so in the comments section.


Marcel said...

It is easy for 'Christian' Norway to ignore God and not ask ;WHY ?

'So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion.
But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.” Therefore thus says the LORD, “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” declares the LORD of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.”’
Zechariah 1:14-16

'Forty-eight hours before Friday massacre, teens participating in ruling party youth camp met with Norwegian foreign minister. Some called for boycott of Israel'

The people of Norway are in mourning and shock, that one of their own could be such a cold,calculating,genocidal murderer.
Like Japan, the U.S. and so many other nations they have been playing with fire and were severely burned.
But will they wake up ?
Sadly the answer is no. They will go on to greater destruction rather than listen to God and turn from the cursed path they have chosen.
Norway threw off it's blessing and protection from God by sticking their nose where it did not belong.
The foolish people of Norway did not believe God and his warning related to dividing Jerusalem.
They naively thought that they would be secure as they delivered the Jews to their latest executioners.
That there would be no reaping from their toil of carving up Israel and Jerusalem to the enemies of God.
This scourge in many, many forms comes to all the nations involved in carving up Israel.
Soon,all the cursed nations will understand the full meaning of 'cut in pieces','severely injured"
The whole world is going to learn this painful lesson because they are too proud and stubborn to heed the warning.

'And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.'

Rebecca said...

To Marcel & others: I understand from God's Word that there is a blessing that comes from supporting Israel but I don't believe it is the heart of God to pronounce judgment upon a people who are suffering and hurt two days after a tragedy. It is the time for us, as Christians, to love, heal, encourage and do everything to turn people's attention to God and to save judgment for Him and Him alone.

I am a 'missionary' to Norway and my family originated there and I have to say that it breaks my heart to read such angry words aimed at the people I love so dearly.

Gemma Suen said...

@Marcel, you really think God would smite those who do not believe? That is for judgement, at death to decide. I'm not even a Christian and I can make more sense of it than you. Your so called God, is meant to be a God of passion, and remember, it was a follower of Christianity that committed such a massacre (he can be saved? Please.), don't dare blame this situation on those who just didn't believe. People are born with choices and their own minds, having to die for a different opinion is just inhumane.

Fire3920 said...

Our thoughts go out to people of Norway today. No words will ease your grief, nor will they make sense of this horror. But know that today..the world is a smaller place, and good men are joined together by, despite lauguage, distance or lines drawn on a map, one thing....our desire for peace, love and family. The evil and sick of our world will never understand that...nor will they ever defeat that...

Fire3920 said...
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FilthCrow said...

The tragedy and the rhetoric that followed (including some of what I just read here) are clear examples of why religious extremism is dangerous no matter what that religion is.

A message of hate is not a message of any god. Neither yours nor mine. To imply so is to express complete ignorance of love.

wordsmith said...

The perpetrator a Christian? Oh, please. If a duck calls itself an elephant, does that make it so? Breivik took his cue more from Hitler than from Christ. He was no Christian, and if you read his drivel, you'll see that his beliefs stand in stark contrast to the teachings of Scripture. Don't be so quick to paint with a broad brush.

Rebecca said...

I just learned this morning that Breivik isn't even a Christian. An extremist, terrorist and crazy man, yes, but a Christian, no. Turns out that a police officer in Oslo actually called him a Christian but Breivik has no known ties to Christianity or to any church organization.

Unknown said...

There are no words to describe the tragedy in Norway (in any language) but the world is saddened and shocked. The members of Varden Lodge Sons of Norway in New Westminster BC Canada send our sympathy to everyone who lost a young person and to those traumatized by witnessing the events. Susan Strang, President

Michael said...

I wrote this on July 22 and most of it was published on my neighborhood online news site in Philadelphia. I also posted an edited version on Facebook and LinkedIn. I did some minor edits. On Sunday, I was interviewed by our all-news station for my reaction.

"My thoughts go out to my beloved Norway after the bombing and shootings in Oslo. Beginning when my family lived in Norway for a year when I was 11 and through my return trips as an adult over four decades, I have developed an affinity for the country, the culture and people, although I am not of Norwegian descent. This led to my book, Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway. My intercultural experiences have impacted the person I have become.

"...This happening in Norway is startling.

"So far, I have heard from two friends that their families are OK. One said he rarely goes into the center of town, but went there Friday morning and was by the epicenter four hours before the explosion.

"I know the Norwegians to be a warm, friendly, caring people. This is a country whose resistance in World War II played strategic roles in defeating the Nazis. Home to the Nobel Peace Prize and the International Summer School at the University of Oslo.

For me, it is ironic that this event happened last Friday. I attended the school in the summer of 1992 with 500 students from 70 countries, including some of the first from the Eastern bloc countries. That has grown to 100 countries. Six weeks of study and fostering multicultural exchange. The slogan is “Come to Norway, Meet the World.” In 1996, I delivered a speech as alum at the 50th anniversary. I saw on the web site last week that the 65th celebration is tomorrow July 29. I intended to e-mail best wishes last Friday, but e-mailed the wishes in the aftermath of these events. With the make-up and mission of the ISS, they could’ve been a target. The celebration tomorrow can be a statement the mission shall go on.

"This excerpt from my 1996 speech seems to resonate:
"...A "secret" to ISS success...for the most part, we talked and listened to each other without regard for what country or culture we came from. The classroom provided a common ground, where the struggles together to learn Norwegian superseded our national and ethnic backgrounds...A highlight of the weekend to Noresund was a hike to the top of Høygevarde. For me, the lasting impact was that people from America, Slovakia, Nepal, Benin, Norway, Slovenia, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Philippines and the West Bank walked up and down the mountain together. If someone tired, others would wait until the person could resume walking...""