The Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbo offered this poignant description of what was lost and remembered in the massacre this week:
For many years, it seemed as if nothing changed in Norway. You could leave the country for three months, travel the world, through coups d’état, assassinations, famines, massacres and tsunamis, and come home to find that the only new thing in the newspapers was the crossword puzzle. It was a country where everyone’s material needs were provided for. Political consensus was overwhelming, the debates focused primarily on how to achieve the goals that everyone had already agreed on. Ideological disagreements arose only when the reality of the rest of the world began to encroach, when a nation that until the 1970s had consisted largely of people of the same ethnic and cultural background had to decide whether its new citizens should be allowed to wear the hijab and build mosques.
On Monday night, more than 100,000 citizens gathered in the streets to mourn the victims of the attack. The image was striking. In Norway, “keeping a cool head” is a national virtue, but “keeping a warm heart” is not. Even for those of us who have an automatic aversion to national self-glorification, flags, grandiose words and large and expressive crowds, it makes an indelible impression when people demonstrate that they do mean something, these ideas and values of the society we have inherited and more or less take for granted. The gathering said that Norwegians refuse to let anyone take away our sense of security and trust. That we refuse to lose this battle against fear.
I'm glad this was published in the NY Times because all Americans should read it. We will never be Norway because we're too big and can't agree on what our country should look like optimally, but we should work toward it at the very least.
I'm probably violating DKos Diary rules, but this article should speak for itself without analysis. Usually I'm pretty longwinded. Maybe I can get a pass.