Norwegians sing to annoy mass killer
An estimated 40,000 people gather in Oslo's Youngstorget square to sing "Children of the Rainbow," a song derided by mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.
April 26th, 2012
10:21 AM ET

Norwegians sing to annoy mass killer

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.

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Filed under: Anders Behring Breivik • Crime • Norway
soundoff (638 Responses)
  1. svann

    This is such a beautiful story. Love conquers all.

    April 26, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • meemee

      In this case, "love" allows conquerors all. But you will have to learn it the hard way.

      April 26, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. meemee

    Well, as the story admits, it is not really a Norwegian folk song, but one copied from the well known American socialist folk singer, Pete Seeger.

    April 26, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. why?

    Why are validating this evil man's delusions of extreme self-importance?

    April 26, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • why?

      Sorry, it should say, why are *they*

      April 26, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. why?

    I'm guessing that he's actually thrilled

    April 26, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. PK

    Could he hear them?

    April 26, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Norway

    You can not fight terror with more bombs! but you can destroy it with flowers and love.... ;-)

    April 26, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. KaiO

    Norway is a small country – with a mere 5 million people. The killing spree of the imbecile nazi Anders Behring Breivik has affected us all.
    But the overwhelming majority of Norwegians are steadfast that we will meet the mindless hatred and stupidity, not with violence and hate but with reason, respect and ... love. We will not stoop to the level of the killer.
    That is why it was so important for so many people to meet up in the pouring rain on a normal working day to sing Pete Seeger's Rainbow Race (in both Norwegian and English). And 40 000 people is a lot in a town of 600 000 people.
    (And yes, this makes me proud of being Norwegian.)

    April 26, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Ribb

      KaiO, the Norwegian people are recognized the world over as a humane and civilized people. This monster is an aberration, as are all monsters. The responsibility for his actions lie only with him.

      April 26, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • emintey

      It makes all decent people proud, thanks for the Norwgians for being who they are.

      April 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max Powers

      It's a waste of time explaining this to Americans. We are generally too regressive to get it. I think it's because we didn't face WWII horrors on our mainland. In any case, thanks for trying.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      @KaiO – I'm very proud today of my Norwegian heritage. Thank you and all Norwegians for your rational, loving, totally awesome response to the aberration of this man. Well done!

      April 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mette

      yes, this is how we feel on thes issue..thank you for putting it into better words than I could :)

      April 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beste

      Well said. I am proud to be of Norwegian Descent!

      April 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • CullThePopulace

      40,000 out of 600,000.
      All skipping work, buoyed by and paid for by the socialist system that keeps all of 'you' on an even playing field – culturally, socially, financially and emotionally.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oslo citizen

      @CullThePopulace: Norwegians work. We also have something called a "lunch break". A lot of us spent that time to sing a song together, and then went back to work to earn our pay checks.

      April 27, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • cfjermestad

      And I am very proud to be a Norwegian too. Now if my American counterparts (I live here now) could only learn...

      April 28, 2012 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
    • 2re

      It would probably have been several (up to 100 000), if it had been arranged after hours (2 hours later)

      April 28, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. rtbrno65

    I like skin.

    April 26, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. conradshull

    "Small children of the rainbow" – it is pretty cloying.

    April 26, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. jack

    Well this Mr. Brevik is of course a very evil man. However, it is true that rampant immigration from places where the culture is not to respect and not abuse the generous social welfare system and lax criminal justice system that Norway has is going to destroy norway. He was an evil sicko and obviously murdering people is not the answer. But I think these people singing "children of the rainbow" are singing about the downfall of their own society. Hardly a cheery tune.

    April 26, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. rondo

    when convicted put him in a cell with this on speaker for 99 years

    April 26, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Norway

      LOL. I like the idea....

      April 26, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. John Fields

    is it the song that annoys him, or Pete Seeger?

    April 26, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. 60's Man

    Would having this song piped into his cell in a continuous loop be considered cruel and unusual punishment or just poetic justice?

    April 26, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kingofthenet

    This would NEVER happen in the USA, the ONLY mob you could get together would be a lynch one...and yet we think we are more civilized?

    April 26, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Max Powers

      That simply isn't true. We have peaceful demonstrations all the time.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Roto

    The peace song is nice, but it is not enough. If they don't eliminate this guy, he'll communicate with others and there will be repeats. I don't think they understand this.

    April 26, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Norway

      Of course, this man will never be released..... ;-)

      April 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max Powers

      There will be repeats anyway. It's ridiculous to give up the countries whole philosophy of justice to adopt one that has a worse track record for one man.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mette

      He has already communicated with others. There are a lot of right-wing people out there, with their own webpages and forums. Don't think for one second that we don't have people with the same ideas as Breivik in Norway – not wanting to kill people to get their point across, but still wanting to deny anyone but ethnic Norwegains to live in Norway. In our democracy everybody has the right to their opinion and express it (like USA) and maybe one should more often have discussions with these exstemists in the public arena.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
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