Norwegians raised their voices in unison on Thursday to get under the skin of admitted mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.
An estimated 40,000 people turned out in central Oslo's Youngstorget square to sing "Children of the Rainbow," a Norwegian version of "My Rainbow Race," written by American folk singer Pete Seeger.
During his trial for the killings of 77 people last summer, Breivik cited the song as an example of Marxist influence on Norwegian culture.
The Norwegian version of the song describes a "World where – every sister and every brother – shall live together – like small children of the rainbow," according to a report in the Norway Post.
Breivik, whose trial in Oslo City Court began last week, boasts of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to fight multiculturalism in Norway.
Thursday's event, which included a march to the courthouse to drop roses outside, was “a beautiful, touching scene,” said Geir Engebretsen, the court chief justice in charge of Breivik's terror trial, according to a report on Views and News from Norway.
"It’s a very moving manifestation of Norwegian culture," Engebretsen said, according to the report, which cited Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
The idea for Thursday's singing statement came from two women, Christine Bar and Lili Hjonnevag, who became upset with Breivik's derision of the song and posted a call on social media for others to join them in singing it on the square, Views and News reported. They expected a few dozen people, the report said.
But by Tuesday, 4,000 people had accepted their Facebook invitation – and then 10 times that many turned up Thursday.
“I think this just shows that people felt a need to show their feelings, to make an expression of how they value the Norwegian democracy. It’s fantastic," Views and News quoted Labour Party Secretary Raymond Johansen as telling NRK.
Culture ministers from Sweden, Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Iceland joined in the song, the Norway Post reported.
Lillebjorn Nilsen, who wrote the Norwegian version of the Seeger song, led the crowd in singing both the Norwegian and English versions, according to the Views and News report.
40k people rally in Oslo to sing a song. Wow. OK, as a Swede, I usually like to hack on my Norwegian brothers and sisters.... but not this time. Well done indeed. Skol!
Eric the Red would be proud! SKOL on, SKOL on!
INorwegians impress me, I like their style!
I am a Southern Californian – who taught this song (in English) to hundreds of kids at the summer camp I worked at – in the 1980's. The video of 40,000 people singing this beautiful song in the context of"their" children's murders brought me to tears – it is the manifestation of what Pete Seeger was visualizing. It is gandhi's vision "Be the change you wish to see in the world..." – facing down murder with song. Powerful. Thank you Norway... thank you.
One of the concequences of this horrid incident here in Norway, is that you have to give your name on internet boards like this. So I am doing that proudly. I have no sick agenda that needs an alias. Cant you just accept that not everyone reacts with pulling a gun? Mette, I so agree with you. And let me also say, its gives me comfort to see that many MANY Americans are not all hateful. Thank you. In such a small country as ours, everyone knows someone that knows someone affected directly by this. Try to imagine that, please
Anne & Kristin – I am Asian-American who is married to an Irish-Norwegian-American. My kids are 1/8th Norwegian; 3/8th Irish; 1/2 Chinese; but we're all 100% American. I have Jewish friends, Muslim friends, and Christian friends. My family stands with you and the 40,000 Norwegians on that square.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with aspiring to the ideals of love, peace and mutual cooperation & acceptance.
Or, you could use your name to promote your WordPress blog (which is down, by the way). Which, is the polar opposite to most of us, who dont use our entire name and website addresses as our "Nickname" to CNN blog post replies. Oops.
Kind of puts america to shame, the way Europeans have handled terrorist acts on their soils.
Omar, I don't understand or agree with your comment at all. Thank you to ALL who promote peace in our rainbow WORLD.
Why do you all seem to seek a specific reason for why we did this? There were 40 000 people at Youngstorget that day, myself included, and I bet everyone had a personal reason for showing up. Some probably to annoy, some out of anger, guilt or plain grief. Does it matter? Standing there you could really feel the solidarity and the sense that although its been 6 months, and most of us have moved on, we have not forgotten what happened. On the contrary, everyone seemed happy to "be there" again. If only to show the victims and their families that we still wont tolerate this. And that they have our support. Most of us live our lives the way we used to, I went for a cup of coffe afterwards, went to work and proceeded like normal. But yes, I and so many other took the time out of our busy schedules to lay down a rose at the courthouse and pay our respects. I will argue that we do this, not to annoy or out of revenge, but to show that we refuse to forget (and achknowledge that we porbably never will), cause if we do we set the grounds for this happening again.
Kristen wrote: "Why do you all seem to seek a specific reason for why we did this? There were 40 000 people at Youngstorget that day, myself included"
But Kristen...."Rational Libertarian" says you are simply "a hippie". Says everyone who was there is simply "a hippie".
You were there. Want to educate this person who seems to travel in dated, stereotypical generalizations?
The rational libertarian sounds like a lonely man. I pitty him.
I'd rather be lonely than have to suffer the company of 40,000 hippies.
Oh, brother. I have not heard that term since the 60s. I suppose all those kids singing are "hippies", too, eh?
Between people like you calling anyone on the left "hippies" and others calling anyone on the left "Communists", I swear
you people just emerged from a time machine from the 1950s and 1960s.
I don't equate all left wingers with hippies and/or communists. There are leftists like Stalin and there are leftists like Huey Newton, just as there are right wingers like Hitler (although he was fairly left economically) and there are right wingers like Milton Friedman (my hero).
In my youth, before I became fully developed cognitively, I went through a far left phase, but there was no way I'd have gathered with 40,000 douchy hippies to sing a song called Children of the Rainbow. It's hippy bulls hit. If someone killed my child I'd want them to be tortured then executed. I wouldn't sing a really crappy song and talk about 'love and harmony' like sufiwoman. How much 'love and harmony' do Sunni and Shia Muslims show towards Sufi Muslims in the Middle East?
Two wrongs a right do not make.
Breivik's shooting is one wrong.
The idealism of "all shall live well and in peace" is the other one. Invariably and repeatedly idealism did lead to tragedies. The "do-good-er" spirit in Norway is intensely and astutely has been taken advantage by Muslim immigrants.
Neither govt nor most of the people are willing to recognize this.
What you will get will be what you are asking for.
peter – you're confusing idealism with naivete. Don't muddy the vision with examples of poor execution. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to ideals. The problem you're alluding to is not the ideals. The problem is when people don't assess the rules of engagement to achieve them. If you go in there with eyes wide open, you'd be surprised at how much humans can achieve ... even something as hard as peaceful co-existence.
Good for them
This really moves me. There are always going to be horrible people in the world, and unfortunately awful things are going to happen. But, if everyone reacted in a way such as this, as opposed to with more violence, we would live in a much more peaceful world. I know I'm being idealistic and a bit naive, but it is a nice thought. I know it's not realistically possible, but every little bit helps.
LGH – don't lose your ideals and don't apologize for it. It's the ideals that move the human race forward and to advance civil society.
Very cool. I love to see the goodness in humanity and see everyone come together for this. I often think about how horrible the world is with all the bad news on tv daily. But I am now reminded that the world is a great place and it is up to each and every one of us as individuals to make that positive difference. Way to go Norway! Love it.
That will teach him!
there's no white in the rainbow, many of the multicults know that
Asia for Asians, Africa for Africans, White nations for everyone
"If someone killed my child I'd want them to be tortured then executed. "
But you miss the point that the guy hated the song, and this was one action that 40,000 people could do to torture him.
Don't think music can be torture? Ask anyone who can't get "It's a Small World" out of their head.
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