Back in Black

It’s a black day for all, included us in Ethiopia. Therefor we choose to post nothing but a black square today. Back in Black

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Business as Usual – but not Forgetting

On the road again, this time to Alta way up in northern Norway. I have been finishing up the story Øystein Mikalsen and I are doing for Dagbladet Magasinet about what Norwegians think about their country, an assignment I wrote about some time ago in the post Touring Norway. Especially after the massacres previous Friday in and around Oslo, which certainly have changed the perspective for many Norwegians, the story has taken a special twist. The virginity has been taken away from the country – at least an expression many papers use when commenting the tragic event, and actually an expression I personally find a bit tacky and imprudent. Nevertheless the country is in mourning after the unfathomable death tolls which presently have risen to 95 – the largest in Norway since the Second World War. Even touring Alta I encountered the aftermath of the tragedy. I met with a young woman who had lost a good and close friend during the shooting on Utøya, the island outside of Oslo. Like most Norwegians she cannot comprehend the violent actions that took place only three days ago. And in a little community like Alta, it’s a shock for everybody. Everybody knows everybody and the whole district was mourning its loss. In the town square people regularly came by and lit a candle or left flowers at a locally well-known sculpture, for the time turned into a small outdoor temple.

But life continues also after tragic events like this. Just 10 yards away from the sculpture turned temple, offroad bikers arrived at the finishing line and were applauded and congratulated by the spectators after a 300 kilometres long offroad competition, called the ultimate MTB adventure race. They had been biking for 25 hours and more. Life goes on – and it must. Especially after a devastating event as the one last Friday. If we don’t, then the terrorist(s) have won their loathing game. We must commence as usual, no matter how wounded we feel and how heartbroken we are. Even personally for me it was harder than usual to encounter and photograph people I met. It’s always a wrestle, but now more than ever. Usually it’s about wrestling my own fears and uncertainties, artistically speaking, but now also with a deep sorrow in my heart.

Life goes on.

A Day of Mourning

This is a special post on my blog, quite different than I thought it would ever be. But then yesterday was quite a special and tragic day here in Norway. Oslo was hit by a bomb attack as well as a shooting tragedy just outside of the capital. The two tragic attacks are most likely connected, and it seems almost surreal that peaceful little Norway has been hit this way. I had just arrived back from a trip to Seattle when I learned about the tragedy, and I am still a little in shock. It’s hard to grasp what has happened. I can only imagine the immense sorrow and grief for those left behind and who lost a dear one in the attacks. This composite picture is my way of saying that I feel with you. I mourn your loss.

At the same time I think we Norwegians more than ever need to stand together, defend our democracy and freedom, by staying calm and not let these murderous attacks let fear, hate and revenge take over our minds. Unfortunately the accusations have already started as well as the politic agitation. It’s very understandable, but we should rather pay respect for those who died and those who got injured by acting with respect and decency. Now is the time to stay calm and mourn the innocent victims. And then the best we can do is continuing our normal life and go about it without letting anxiety and anger take over. Otherwise we have let the murders win their game.

May peace be with those who were victims of the two tragic incidents.