Norway is in shock, but its 4.9 million people are a rugged, resilient race who will recover from this terrible attack on their shores, its leaders have vowed.
Crime rates – especially murder rates – are incredibly low by UK standards, and with few safety concerns even key members of state such as Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg walk the streets without security.
Norwegian social commentator Tobjorn Holt said last night: “The nation is in shock. We are quiet, low-key people who don’t like fuss. That way of life’s been rocked to its core but I hope it will survive. We are resilient.
“We will endure and emerge stronger. The worst of it is that this attack struck at our best and brightest. The teenagers killed symbolised our future. But we will pull together.”
Tobjorn, 47, head of London’s Norwegian Church and Seamen’s Mission, added: “This is the worst deliberate atrocity we have seen since World War Two. There is some small comfort this looks to be the act of a sole agent.
“That the man responsible is Norwegian – to be attacked from within – is hard to absorb and cope with. But the Prime Minister and youth group leader have both echoed the sentiments of most Norwegians. We must – and will – meet terror with more democracy, not less. We must not lock up Norwegian society. That would be piling tragedy upon tragedy.”
Norway’s oil makes it one of the world’s wealthiest countries, with unemployment at just 3.6 per cent, half that of Britain. In 2007 the country was voted the best place to live in the world. The UK was 17th.