This unbearable pain – and the work we all have a duty to do

We are so terribly pained, we Norwegians. We cannot bring ourselves to believe this horror that took place. It was unimaginable. And it shook us out of the innocent belief that this could not take place here.

What kind of beast could place a bomb in the heart of Oslo at a time when people prepare to go home after work? Or murder young kids who participated in a summer camp, full of fun, culture, music, friendship and political debate, each and every one of them putting their share’s worth towards constructing the society we all want?

This horrific monster, I don’t even want to write his name – may it be erased from the surface of the earth – wanted to destroy our society, to replace it with dirt.

I am very proud to see that the same kids who survived this tragedy dedicate themselves to love, to reconstruction, using the blessed memory of their friends who perished as fuel in order to go through this very painful moment. They are the promise for the future – they are our future.

But I read comments that irritate. Some of them are too stupid to be taken seriously, such as allegations that this evil worm is just like the settlers in Judea and Samaria.

Other comments are much more toxic, dressed up as concern over the level of anti-Islamism, but in reality cover up a desire to ignore the problems related with a big wave of immigration without an accompanying solid plan for integration, not only directed towards the immigrants, but also taking into account the “original” Norwegians themselves.

We belong to a very homogenous culture. As a nation, we lack have the human experience necessary to be sufficiently flexible to welcome the stranger, while maintaining our own identity. As a nation we are very rigid in the face of such a challenge. Fearful. And, as we really ought to know, in an environment where fear and a weakened identity rein, hate grows, like a toxic weed. In such a situation, the march forward must be careful and prudent. It is not wise to ridicule the ones who find it hard to keep up with the pace of change. To the contrary, a lot of effort must go towards strengthening ones own identity, so that each individual can find the interior space and flexibility to meet the other culture.

Because of this it is vital –  like in any other relationship – to be able to confront the problems as they arise, in a peaceful manner.  It is like in a marriage, if the parties cannot speak to each other about what happens with each one, the problems tend to grow and take on a life on their own , and as in this cruel case, end up claiming lives.

This tiny blog dedicates itself to analyze the strange relationship between Norway, Israel and the Jews. Due to some incomprehensible reason, this tiny state has taken on gigantic proportions for the Norwegians. On the one hand, you have the ones who idealize Israel, but compared to the ones that demonize Israel they are relatively few and do not cause great damage. But the ones who demonize Israel, frequently, and probably without being fully aware of it, use a language and a debating style very close to the hatred that has been such a source of persecution for Jews during 2000 years. It borders on the grotesque, the things you can write, say or draw about the state of Israel. In stead of affording this state the same greatnesses or smallnesses as any other nation, Israel must always be PERFECT, but perfect according to a measure that is inhumane, rather hard, arbitrary, with no room for mistakes.

The Jewish people have always lived in Israel. During the last 2000 years, when first the Romans, then the Christians, then the Muslims, all wanted to wipe us off the face of this earth, Jews have always lived in Israel. For those forced into exile, the dream or returning home never died. The conflict with the Palestinians is about land . There can be no tolerance of arguments that somehow the Jews kicked the Palestinians out, or that the Jewish state was an unjustified gift to the Jews. I use my energy to fight against this lie.

As much as anti-Islamism disgusts me – I repudiate it – I have the right, and the duty to write about how things really are. I write, translate, put into a wider context and even ridicule those who believe themselves to be the beholders of truth, those who in their desire to be politically correct, end up being insensitive, blind to the right of others to have a different opinion.

In a homogenous society, national identity is constructed around a shared history and language. A multicultural society has very different rules, and where the preparation of the various ingredients and the “cooking time” are fundamental factors in order to construct a society where everybody feel equally at home, with the right to opine, but also to reserve oneself when the pace of change is too fast.

There is a time for everything, a time to talk, a time to be quiet, a time to gather stones and a time to construct. We must all take the necessary time in order to accommodate the needs of the other.