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Dear all of you,
It is nearly two days since Norway was hit by the worst atrocity it has seen since the Second World War. On Utøya, and in Oslo.
It seems like an eternity.
These have been hours, days and nights filled with shock, despair, anger and weeping.
Today is a day for mourning.
Today, we will allow ourselves to pause.
Remember the dead.
Mourn those who are no longer with us.
92 lives have been lost. Several people are still missing.
Every single death is a tragedy. Together they add up to a national tragedy.
We are still struggling to take in the scale of this tragedy.
Many of us know someone who has been lost. Even more know of someone.
I knew several.
One of them was Monica. She worked on Utøya for 20 years or so. For many of us she was Utøya.
Now she is dead. Shot and killed while providing care and security for young people from all over the country.
Her husband John and daughters Victoria and Helene are in Drammen Church today.
It is so unfair. I want you to know that we are weeping with you.
Another is Tore Eikeland.
Leader of the Labour Youth League in Hordaland and one of our most talented young politicians.
I remember him being met with acclaim by the whole Labour national congress when he gave a stirring speech against the EU Postal Directive, and won the debate.
Now he is dead. Gone for ever. It is incomprehensible.
These are two of those we have lost.
We have lost many more on Utøya and in the government offices.
We will soon have their names and pictures. Then the full extent of this evil act will become apparent in all its horror.
This will be a new ordeal.
But we will get through this too.
Amidst all this tragedy, I am proud to live in a country that has managed to hold its head up high at a critical time.
I have been impressed by the dignity, compassion and resolve I have met.
We are a small country, but a proud people.
We are still shocked by what has happened, but we will never give up our values.
Our response is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity. But never naivity.
No one has said it better than the Labour Youth League girl who was interviewed by CNN:
“If one man can create that much hate, you can only imagine how much love we as a togetherness can create.”
Finally, I would like to say to the families all over the country who have lost one of their loved ones:
You have my and the whole of Norway’s deepest sympathy for your loss.
Not only that. The whole world shares your sorrow.
I have promised to pass on the condolences of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Frederik Reinfeldt, Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Dimitry Medvedev and many other heads of state and government.
This cannot make good your loss. Nothing can bring your loved ones back.
But we all need support and comfort when life is at its darkest.
Now life is at its darkest for you.
I want you to know that we are there for you.