Thoughts of Norway

Back in 1996, I was a student at the University of Tasmania. One particular Sunday I was down at the University campus, completing an assignment in the computer lab. About 90 minutes drive away from where I was sitting, a nutter named Martin Bryant took a car load of guns to a tourist spot called Port Arthur and shot 35 people, both tourists and locals.

No-one can understand senseless violence like that. It’s both impersonal and extremely personal at the same time.

Yesterday, both in the city and just outside of Oslo, Norway, there was more senseless violence. Just like Port Arthur, the toll has risen as news has developed, and its rise has shocked and horrified everyone.

Sometimes, saying that “our thoughts are with you” seems woefully inadequate, but for many of us, that’s all we can do. We can’t wind back the clock, we can’t heal the wounds or soothe the grief. We wish we could.

I don’t know many people from Norway but I’ve met a few in my time as a Saab writer. And of course, I’m now living in a country that shares a border with Norway and I’m sure that the Swedish people are feeling this tragedy very close to their hearts.

Personally speaking, I’m reminded of the support I saw come from Norway when Saab were being sold by General Motors.

There were five separate Saab Support Convoys held in Norway – in Oslo, Sandes, Tolga, Bodoe and Kristiansand. We felt your support and it’s frustrating that there isn’t necessarily a way that I can repay that.

IntSaab 2011 is coming up in just a few weeks and I’m sure we’ll have some of our Norwegian friends in attendance. If good times can help someone feel like time is moving on then I hope to meet a few of you and be a part of that process. In the meantime, as little as it can mean sometimes, our thoughts are indeed with you and we’re already inspired by your determination to not allow this nut to change the way you live your lives.

Photo by e.skjaeveland on Flickr.

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  1. Indeed words words may seem of little comfort in such a situation but it has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword and it may be of some small comfort to those affected to know that others hold them in their thoughts at this time.

  2. A strong and tight hug to all our Norwegian friends !!! We are by your side.


  3. Two years ago I spent some time in Bergen and Olden and met some wonderful people!  Incredibly warm and friendly.  My heart goes out to all those folk effected by this mindless trajedy.

  4. Norway…..? Kids….? It never ends, does it? There’s always one more malevolent kook out there, and the depth of their depravity never ceases to confound me. I’ve had but two Norwegian friends, Einar and Arne, and as I pondered the tragedy I couldn’t help but also think about them. Einar returned to Norway after a long stint here in Boston. My thoughts are with you and your folk, old friend.
    Arne died not long ago, and perhaps I am happy that he did not live long enough to see this day; it would have broken his heart.  He had the most extraordinary life, surviving Nazi camps, execution orders for his resistance work, and competitive sailing on the Atlantic. Much later, he moved to the states, married a young woman and in the twilight of his life raised two beautiful daughters. I don’t know how many languages Arne spoke, but he always spoke to me in perfect French, avec un accent impeccable. Though he was an exceptionally vivacious octogenarian, it was ultimately a stroke which slowed Arne down. Still, he never let us forget that every day there was a reason for joy and celebration. “Enjoy every day you can. You never know,” he once told an interviewer.
    If there is a heaven, Arne will have been the first to greet the victims, in his Norwegian fishing sweater,  and his warm eyes and genuine smile will have let them know that  everything will be all right.