Advice for Norway

July 22, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

Two weeks ago, my 12-year old daughter and I strolled through downtown Oslo. It was a beautiful city back then, as it will again be someday soon. As my nieces pointed out the various government buildings at the center of downtown, I remember commenting, “They are so very accessible,” meaning that there were no imposing walls surrounding them, and I didn’t see any heavily armed guards.  I’m attaching a couple photos I took in downtown Oslo during my trip.   As I walked around, the thought keep recurring: This would be a wonderful place to live (I write this based on many conversations I’ve had with Norwegians, such as this one).

And now it deeply saddens me to hear of the recent bombing and shootings.

I would only have one bit of advice for the Norwegians:  Don’t do what the U.S. did after 9/11.

Don’t trash your civil liberties.  Don’t vilify each other based on “lack of patriotism.”    Don’t drum up evidence to start an unnecessary war somewhere.   If your conservatives become overt warmongerers as a result of these tragedies, demand that they provide substantial evidence to substantiate whatever claims they make.  Whoever caused this, be very careful to not overgeneralize your anger toward large groups of people who are innocent.   Don’t get suckered into draining your treasury to feed new-found paranoia.  Don’t become a closed society.  Don’t let anyone disparage the importance of your civil rights. Don’t let this tragedy define you or obsess you.   Beware that a bomb can, if you are not careful, become a fuse to a much bigger self-imposed tragedy. Don’t self-destruct, like the United States is doing.

To my Norwegian friends and family, I am so very saddened to hear of this tragedy.   I love your country.

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Category: Civil Rights, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Howard Fineman at Huffpo:

    "On a two-week trip to Norway that ended on Thursday, I decided that the country was the only sane, trouble-free place on the planet, a gorgeous retreat, as secure and peaceful as high-walled fjord, where people leave their laptops and car keys untended, never lock their doors, and follow the ethic of cooperation they learned a thousand years ago while sailing and fishing for cod in the harsh Norwegian Sea."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-fineman/oslo

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    <object width="560" height="349"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bb2fTQO31GQ?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bb2fTQO31GQ?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="349" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

    Text of the speech by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the Prime Minister of Norway:

    Today Norway was hit by two shocking and bloody and cowardly attacks. We still do not know who attacked us; much is still uncertain. But we know that many are dead and injured. We are all shocked at the evil that has struck us so brutally and so suddenly. This night demands much of all of us. And the days that follow will demand even more. We are prepared to face up to this.

    Norway hangs together during critical times. We mourn our dead, we suffer with the injured, and we comfort relatives. This is about attacks on innocent civilians, on young people at summer camp. An attack on all of us.

    I have a message to the people who attacked us, and those behind them. This is a message from all of Norway.

    You will not destroy us. You will not destroy our democracy nor our quest for a better world. We are a small nation, but we are a proud nation. No one shall bomb us into silence or shoot us into silence. Nothing will frighten us out of being Norway.

    This night we will comfort each other, talk with each other, and stand together. Tomorrow we will show the world that Norway’s democracy grows stronger when it is challenged. We shall find the guilty and hold them responsible.

    The important thing tonight is to save lives, to care for the victims and their loved ones. I would like to state my recognition for the work of the police, the medics, and all the other people who currently do such formidable work to help others, healing injuries and saving lives.

    We must never cease to stand up for our values. We have to show that our open society can pass this test, too. And that the answer to violence is even more democracy. Even more humanity, but never naivete. This is what we owe to the victims and to those they hold dear.

  3. Jim Razinha says:

    I've long admired the Norwegians, Danish and Swedish nations for their sanity. Indeed a tragedy, and my hopes are with yours that they don't turn into us.

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