Historical archive

Speech at Remembrance Concert

City Hall Square, Oslo, 22 July 2012

Your Royal Highness,
dear friends,

It’s so good to see all of you. 

One year later we are again filling the streets,
demonstrating our faith in each other and our open society.

We had a choice.
We could have retreated into our homes in fear.
And barricaded ourselves behind a wall of mistrust.

Instead we turned to each other and built bridges of trust.

That was our spontaneous response to the violence last summer.
We made the right choice.

There is no better protection against terrorism than openness, democracy and humanity.
They do not make us invulnerable.
We need a police force and surveillance systems.
The equipment, determination and will to stop those who would resort to violence.

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But it is the way the Norwegian people have responded to the atrocities during the past year that matters most:

There is greater confidence among us, and greater faith in democracy.

  • Thousands have joined voluntary organisations and political parties.
  • And more people are responding to hate speech with counterarguments.
  • Hundreds of thousands have realised the power of pulling together, of reasserting our values.

In this way we have created more democracy and more openness.

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Today it is time to thank all those who have helped during this difficult year.

His Majesty the King, who wept together with his people.
The whole Royal Family, who were truly there when we needed them most.

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It is time to thank the volunteers.
The rescue workers and the emergency services.

All the young people who have taken care of each other.
Employees in the ministries.

All of you who have dealt with the trial with dignity and calm.

And there countless more:
teachers,
health personnel,
priests,
imams,

All of you who have supported a neighbour, colleague, friend or relative.

When we consider the sum of our collective effort, we can look ahead to the future with hope and faith.

Hope that those who are still struggling will find comfort.
Faith in the power of community, tolerance and decency.

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We have been honouring the memory of the 77 people who lost their lives all day throughout the country.

This has been a day of sadness, but also a good day.
Good because we have promised to keep their dreams alive.
And to tell the happy stories.

The 22nd of July will be your day in all the years to come.
A day to honour the memory of those who died.
And a day to reflect on the fragility of life.

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The terrible events last summer brought home to us the transience of life.

It can suddenly be over.
None of us knows when.
None of us knows who.

We must show love and compassion while we have the gift of life.

Enjoy the beauty of a rose.
The subtle nuances of music.
The warmth of friends.

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Let us honour the dead by celebrating life.