a writing by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

I was in a bus in the Philippines when one of the passengers broke out the news about the massacre in Norway. Living in a small fishing island without access to electricity, I could not really follow up the news. When I returned to Denmark during the first week in August, I found the news media in the country filled with debates and reflections on the outrageous massacre. There was paranoia on the air, if the same terror could strike in a peaceful country like Denmark, like it has hit as an ugly lighting in a country like Norway, known for its commitment to democracy and tolerance.

Today, 30 days after the unforgettable terror, the country of Norway held a worship service to remember the victims—77 lives of young men and women who attended a summer camp in a remote island and one day, without a signal were strayed with bullets that simply felled them down to death without giving them the chance to stage a fight. The murderer came like a thunderous lightning that planned and executed the heinous massacre with mighty weapons.

Who could have done the grotesque action of ending the lives of these young people? Could terror come only from those associated with Al-Queda or Taleban? Is terror associated only with individuals or groups wanting the dissolution or non-existence of governing powers or other ethnic groups? Can terror come only from the hearts filled with hate and promising revenge? Or is terror unleashed by a person who is sick in the head?

The most tragic thing is when terror is cloaked by a heavenly language, that in the name of God such a violence of inflecting so much pain upon others, is being committed. Here lies the greatest mistake of mankind, seeing God the reason for murder and violence. And yet God who created man and woman was never thirsty for blood. In Jesus whom he sent, it was the godly blood that was shed to save humanity and creation.

That is why, I feel the tears from my eyes as I watch the worship service today to commemorate the 77 lives who died during this terror in Norway. Friends and families of the victims who bear the deepest pain sit in silence to revisit the time and to bring their pain to the holy ground of the Creator, celebrating and revisiting the lives of those they have lost,singing the songs of hope, listening to the Biblical words of hope, and getting support from the fellowship of all those who cry and mourn.

Even in deep mourning and total darkness of meaninglessness candles of hope are lighted for the crying Norway. Life is so precious that it has to be protected,remembered and revered!
August 22, 2011

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