Utoya nine months on…
Today, as the trial of Anders Breivik gets under way, I am thinking about solidarity, about the family and friends of those seventy seven mainly young people murdered in cold blood last July in Norway.
Nothing can ever replace a life cut short, nor could I ever dare to imagine what their relatives and mates have been going through for nine months. Norway is a small place, it is estimated that one in four of the population knew one of the butchered. They were killed as “legitimate targets” in Breiviks opinion because they were members of the Norwegian Labour Party, fellow democratic socialists to us here in Britain. They were, and remain, our brothers and sisters.
As a civilised nation, Norway has no death penalty, so the martyrdom that the assassin seeks will elude him. In place of that, we have seventy seven heroes between the ages of fourteen and fifty one, with an average age of just under twenty.
They died as true martyrs to the causes of tolerance, decency and democracy. Today I salute them, and all in our worldwide movement for justice and human rights. I salute the fundamental decency of the Norwegian people.
Our only lasting memorial can be the re-doubling of our efforts to combat the messages of hate spread by groups such as the BNP and EDL, and hate-filled clerics of every religion. We must concentrate on what unites the vast majority of humanity, regardless of race and creed, once more we must call for the workers of the world to unite, and make all men brothers.
If we could stand silent at this years May Day marches and rallies, it would be a fitting tribute.