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The young at Utøya one or two day before the attack.

A song written by a Norwegian anti-fascist and communist in 1936.

Faced by your enemies
 On every hand
 Battle is menacing,
 Now make your stand

Fearful your question,
 Defenceless, open
 What shall I fight with?
 What is my weapon?

Here is your battle plan,
 Here is your shield
 Faith in this life of ours,
 The common weal

For all our children’s sake,
 Save it, defend it,
 Pay any price you must,
 They shall not end it

Neat stacks of cannon shells,
 Row upon row
 Death to the life you love,
 All that you know

War is contempt for life,
 Peace is creation
 Death’s march is halted
 By determination

We all deserve the world,
 Harvest and seed
 Hunger and poverty
 Are born of greed

Don’t turn your face away
 From needs of others
 Reach out a helping hand
 To all your brothers

Here is our solemn vow,
 From land to land
 We will protect our world
 From tyrants’ hand

Defend the beautiful,
 Gentle and innocent
 Like any mother would
 Care for her infant.

(Unfortunate the English translation misses some of the beauty and strong lines in the original)

When Germans invaded Norway in 1940 the communist Nordahl Grieg fled to Britain on the same vessel that also carried the Norwegian royals and the Norwegian gold fortune. He bacame involved in the resistance as a journalist and he died in 1943 when a plane he was onboard was shot down over Berlin.

The song has always been popular in the Norwegian Labour movement. It is also used in Humanistic confirmations and also in church services, like it was today in the televised service in Oslo Cathedral.


Primeminister Stoltenberg hugs the leader of the youth wing (AUF).

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Comment Preferences

    •  This hymn brings tears to my eyes... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Curt Matlock

      ... and goose bumps all over. Especially these days.

      I feel the urge to chip in a little on it's significance.

      The English translation is truly not up to the original, but that would also be a tall order.

      Griegs "To the youth" is probably the most well known Norwegian piece of poetry, at least here in Denmark. The languages are close enough to not need a translation.

      It has been the signature song of anti-fascist and peace movements since it was written. It has been recorded by one of the most popular singers here and a large part of the population will know it more or less by heart.

      In Norway it is simply national heritage. It was sung repeatedly on the mourning march on Monday.

      It is one of the most powerful, poetic and deeply engaged political writings I know...

  •  How much pain and suffering (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    we humans inflict on one another. And for what?

    I've been thinking of the young people of Norway, and the people of Iraq, and Afghanistan. And Somalia and Sudan. The young people in the U.S. who will never have much in the way of mainstream opportunities because of political and economic forces arrayed against them.

    Thank you for the song translation. This is very true:

    Hunger and poverty
      Are born of greed
    Not a day in which I have a terribly high opinion of humans as a species, I'm afraid.

    Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why. -- Hunter S. Thompson

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:26:04 AM PDT

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