Historical archive

Address by the Foreign Minister at Norderhov Church

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In his address at Norderhov Church, Sunday 24 July, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre opened: "Today – from north to south and across all this long country’s various lines and boundaries, generations, parties, religions – we come together to support you."

Memorial service, Norderhov Church, Sunday 24 July 2011
Address by Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre

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Dear friends and relatives,

Today – from north to south and across all this long country’s various lines and boundaries, generations, parties, religions – we come together to support you.

It is your children, your loved ones we are grieving for.

But from a broader perspective, these are also young people who belong to many. We in the Labour Party have lost some of our most valuable asset – our young people, people who believed in and devoted themselves to politics.

Today we hear everyone – from all parties – say, “We are all members of the Labour Youth League.” We know what “we” means. We are wrapping the strong arms of our community around you. You are not alone.

Disaster has struck. It is incomprehensible, shocking and deeply distressing.

With all the time in the world, we will never fully understand.

But one thing we do know. In times of need we have each other. There are many who support you – this I can bear witness to and pass on to you. Warmth and sympathy are streaming in from all over the world.

In these hours we reach out to one special person. Those of you who have lost your nearest and dearest reach out and do not find them. Nothing can make up for the loss you have suffered.

But a whole people is offering you a bedrock of support. Lean on us.

Over in Tyrifjord lies the island of Utøya, today wrapped in tragedy, home to acts of terror, witness to society’s vulnerability and the fragility of life. But these young people went out to Utøya earlier this week with another vision and other dreams – of community, solidarity and antiracism.

The members of the Labour Youth League shine out with their belief in mankind. I spent Thursday with them. It was a day on Utøya just as a day on Utøya should be, with political debates, commitment, culture, football. Fun, but also the seriousness that characterises young people when they are seeking to take responsibility and make a difference.

These impressions are reflected in one of the finest texts we sing in the Labour movement: “To Youth” by Nordahl Grieg. “Make a stand,” we sing. That is precisely what the members of the Labour Youth League do, they make a stand.

Today we are living with the painful fact that some are no longer with us to make a stand. We who are left behind must honour their memory and continue where they left off.

Today I would like to thank all those who have joined in the effort during and after this disaster: the police and rescue teams – from the scenes of these atrocities to the various hospitals; all the volunteers – from holiday homes to camping sites; and those who opened the doors of Sundvolden Hotel. You are all part of the bedrock.

We bow our heads in honour of those we have lost. May they rest in peace. We promise never to forget them.