When 600 young minds gathered on an idyllic island to form policies and opinions about the future, their own and that of their country, the last thing on their minds was that that future would hold a rain of bullets, devastation, and death. In a short few hours in the late afternoon on a lazy summer Friday their world, and the world as a whole, changed forever. Lives were lost. Innocence was lost. The very fabric of reality seemed to tear, showing a glimpse of a harder, more brutal existence. One in which we fear our neighbours for what they might do to us. One where communities were built to protect us from “the other”. One in which force and violence was the only solution. The world of Hobbes, of Nietzsche, of the individual, alone in the masses.Only the tear was permanent. Burned into facades of buildings by a massive explosion. Ripped into the bodies of the next generation by bullets. Forever imprinted on our retinas as we watched in horrified disbelief.
Is this the world we live in?
Can this really happen?
This cannot happen.
This will not happen.
While the families of the countless victims of the worst terrorist attack in the history of Norway try to cope with their loss it is up to us to take stock. What is this world we live in where people kill? What have we become that makes us capable of such atrocities? What has our society become that the massacre of human lives seems just in the pursuit of an ideological goal?
We have lost our way. Not from God or Allah or Marx or Rand. We have lost our way from humanity. We have forgotten who we are and what we can do. We, the people, the only people, have the capacity for greatness. Yet we resort to petty quarrels over ideology, territory and possession. We have become greedy. Self righteous. Self absorbed. We have lost our way.
I am drawing a line in the sand. And I hope you will stand with me. This ends now.
From this day forth I will do my part to make things better, to make us better. I will speak up against violence. I will speak up against oppression. I will speak up against injustice. I will speak up against indifference. And I will speak up against those who use division and antagonism to pit one against the other, that use words like “us” and “them”, who draw the world in black and white. And I will help them see that division makes us half of a whole. That we are all in this together. No situation has a single cause and no cause has a single effect. In all our actions, no matter how small, wel play our part. And if we all make that part a positive one, one without prejudice, ideology or personal gain, we will all be better for it.
This is not a political manifesto, not a religious doctrine, not a moral dogma. This is humanity, pure and simple: Race, colour or creed we are all sisters and brothers, born of our mothers. We are in this together and together we must make it work.
Together is our only option.
NB: There is a memorial planned for anyone who wants to gather about this event at the Scandinavian Community Centre in Burnaby on Sunday July 24th at 12:30pm.
Scandinavian Community Centre
6540 Thomas St