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40,000 Norwegians Sing Out in Defiance and Love

“It is we who win”

- Common Dreams staff

Tens of thousands of Norwegians marched beneath pouring rain in Oslo today, converging at Central Square to sing together a Norwegian version of American folk music singer Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Race" in a moving protest against mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 77 Norwegians last year in the name of eliminating "multiculturalism" and leftist ideologies. 

Some 40,000 people stand in pouring rain in Oslo's Youngstorget square to participate in the singing of "Barn av Regnbuen" (Children of the Rainbow), April 26, 2012. (AP) The song -- the Norwegian version translates as "Children of the Rainbow" -- extols the type of multicultural society Breivik has said he despised and one that he specifically mentioned during his trial last week as "Marxist propaganda", triggering a Facebook initiative for today's protest.

Norwegian folk singer Lillebjørn Nilsen guided the song with his ukulele as the rose-carrying and umbrella-laden crowd of an estimated 40,000 sang along.

"Shocked by Breivik's lack of remorse for his massacre," writes the Associated Press, "Norwegians by and large have decided the best way to confront him is by demonstrating their commitment to everything he loathes. Instead of raging against the gunman, they have manifested their support for tolerance and democracy."

(UPDATE 4/28: YouTube has blocked the earlier video because Belgium's Radio Télévision Belge Francophone TV made a copyright claim. This is a different, shorter video with a brief Pete Seeger interview)

One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It's too soon to die.
Some folks want to be like an ostrich,
Bury their heads in the sand.
Some hope that plastic dreams
Can unclench all those greedy hands.
Some hope to take the easy way:
Poisons, bombs. They think we need 'em.
Don't you know you can't kill all the unbelievers?
There's no shortcut to freedom.
Go tell, go tell all the little children.
Tell all the mothers and fathers too.
Now's our last chance to learn to share
What's been given to me and you.

*  *  *

Agence France-Presse: Thousands of Norwegians gather to sing song Breivik hatesNorwegian folk singer Lillebjørn Nilsen led the singing of a popular children's song at Youngstorget Square in Oslo April 26, 2012. Around 40,000 people gathered in Oslo on Thursday to sing the song ridiculed by Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people last July, as a show of protest against the right-wing activist's anti-immigrant views. Thousands more joined in song in towns across the country to sing "Children of the Rainbow", a song that celebrates the sort of multiculturalism that Breivik said that motivated his killing spree. (REUTERS/Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix)

Protesters ranging from elderly in wheelchairs to young school children streamed into Youngstorget Square wearing colorful raincoats and carrying Norwegian flags and roses, which have come to represent Norway's peaceful response to the horrifying attacks.

The culture ministers of the Nordic countries were also at the square to participate, while other similar events were to take place across Norway.

Norwegian Culture Minister Anniken Huitfeldt admitted she had wept as Nilsen led the chorus and the crowd sang along, waving roses in the air.

Afterwards they walked slowly together, still singing the song, to the courthouse to add their roses to the piles of flowers already lining the security barriers outside in memory of Breivik's victims.

*  *  *

Christian Science Monitor: Breivik slam on 'Rainbow' song an insult too far for Norwegians

The man behind last summer’s twin terror attacks said in court testimony last week that the Norwegian song by Lillebjørn Nilsen, based on US folksinger Pete Seeger’s original version “My Rainbow Race” in 1967, was an example of how Norwegian schools function as an “indoctrination camp” for “cultural Marxism and multiculturalism.”

“We stand together as a people, fellow human beings. Let us sing because we really MEAN that this song describes how the world SHOULD be.”

Mr. Breivik, a self-described militant nationalist, blames his bombing of government buildings in Oslo and shooting rampage at Utøya island on the ruling Labor party for promoting multiculturalism with its lenient immigration policies and allowing mass immigration to undermine Norwegian society.

“The curriculum is stripped of knowledge relating to the codes of honor that have been so important for Europe for thousands of years,” Breivik told his defense attorney Vibeke Hein Baera on April 20. “They put up these songs and propaganda films to get students to despise their forefathers,” he added, referring to the US television series Roots depicting the history of African-American slaves.

Breivik’s comments prompted Norwegians Christine Bar and Lill Hjønnevåg to organize via Facebook a gathering at Youngstorget, the square in front of the Labor party headquarters. It is adjacent to Breivik's bombing target and just blocks from Oslo District Court, where Breivik is currently on trial for killing 77 people total in the two July 2011 attacks.

'How the world SHOULD be'

“Let us stand together,” the two initiators wrote on the event’s Facebook page, which listed more than a dozen parallel events around the country. “We stand together as a people, fellow human beings. Let us sing because we really MEAN that this song describes how the world SHOULD be.”

The text in the Norwegian version of the song begins with “A sky full of stars, blue ocean far as you see, an earth where flowers grow. Can you wish for more? Together we shall live, every sister, every brother. Small children of the rainbow, and a fertile soil.”

“It is we who win,” said Nilsen, after singing with his ukelele in both Norwegian and English for rain-drenched supporters, which included five cultural ministers from Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands.

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