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Truthdiggers of the Week: 40,000 Brave Norwegians

Posted on Apr 27, 2012

For proving that love for others, regardless of creed, gender or skin color, is still a powerful force in human affairs, we honor the 40,000 Norwegians who sang out in an Oslo square on Thursday against the violent dogma of mass killer Anders Breivik. They are our Truthdiggers of the Week.

Breivik slaughtered 77 people during a pair of attacks on a Norwegian government building and a youth Labour Party camp last July. Since the beginning of his trial on April 16, he has defended those acts as “necessary” to prevent what he thinks is the more “barbaric act” of Muslim influence upon European society. He has rejected charges of criminal guilt and claimed to be a true patriot, saying his victims betrayed their country by embracing multiculturalism, a set of ideas that seeks to promote social well-being through the development of tolerant, culturally diverse communities.

Unsettlingly, Breivik has his sympathizers. Massachusetts resident Kevin Forts, 23, in an interview with a Norwegian reporter, came out in support of the mass murderer at the beginning of Breivik’s trial, calling the lives lost as a result of his day of terror “a necessary political sacrifice.”

But for every declaration of support for the monstrous way in which Breivik expressed his views, there are untold vows of resistance. Fortunately, for those who seek consolation in the dark aftermath of the tragedy, 40,000 of those vows were made audible just outside the courtroom where Breivik stands trial.

Taken as a solemn pledge, the public chorus of “Children of the Rainbow,” a song based on a 1973 hymn by American folk artist Pete Seeger and led on Thursday by Norwegian folksinger Lillebjorn Nilsen, seems more like an act of affirmation than dissent. Shaken by the horrific violence, these people braved a cold rain to tell the world they want to live in a society where all people have the opportunity to find their place. And such an experience emboldens those who may previously have felt alone in the suffering they felt after Breivik’s massacre.


Square, Site wide

Beloved British folk-rocker Billy Bragg, writing in The Guardian on Friday, put things in perspective:

Protest music has a … unifying effect. When the majority of an audience sing along with a song attacking the government, critics dismiss such behaviour as “preaching to the converted”. While it may be true that those singing share a political outlook with both the performer and one another, the experience goes much deeper than simply affirming one’s beliefs. For someone who exists in an environment where their political views are in a minority, immersing themselves in an audience who are singing songs that articulate those views can be inspirational. To find yourself among other people in your town who share your views – people whose existence you may not have been aware of – offers a sense of social solidarity unavailable in internet chatrooms.

Lucky for you, the reader, you didn’t have to be in that crowd on Thursday to experience what Bragg describes. The video below will take you there right now. The lyrics immediately fellow. Sing along and see for yourself.

—Alexander Reed Kelly


One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more
And because I love you
I’ll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It’s too soon to die.

Some folks want to be like an ostrich,
Bury their heads in the sand.
Some hope that plastic dreams
Can unclench all those greedy hands.
Some hope to take the easy way:
Poisons, bombs. They think we need ‘em.
Don’t you know you can’t kill all the unbelievers?
There’s no shortcut to freedom.

Go tell, go tell all the little children.
Tell all the mothers and fathers too.
Now’s our last chance to learn to share
What’s been given to me and you.

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By oakland steve, April 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

It’s a great choice! 

Norway is a beautiful country with a people who have evolved politically to the point where people working together (society) ensure that no people are doomed to a life of abject poverty, or one lacking in educational and medical opportunities and services, by the process of the sharing of the costs of common needs.  Yes, it’s called socialism.  It works.

If you ever travel to Oslo, a wonderful city and capital, take a walk to the Vigeland Sculpture Park—a unique, outdoor art museum.  If you go in May, you’ll notice the scent of lilacs everywhere. 

If you get a map, you can walk by the ugliest building in that beautiful city…it’s the US Embassy.  Seriously.  It looks like a building under siege—this, in a peaceful country where one can walk, day or night, unafraid of some idiot with a handgun. The prison architecture that represents the US seems to be the physical manifestation of the ignorant bellicosity with which the rest of the world now associates the US.

When I saw that building, I felt sorry and shame in equal measure. 

Pity the neighbors.

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By Jim High, April 29, 2012 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Glad I got to see the video on a news broadcast before they shut it down.  What the hell is going on?

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, April 29, 2012 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

anyone desperate to hear it, 2-click search gets you here


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Echelon systems and crash them into oblivion
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YOUR email and chat for.

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ASPIC, Information Security, SAI,


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By Jeff Pappas, April 29, 2012 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

As Mona says. I tried to view the video also, will not play in
USA Come on now America Too many lawyers n laws , I
thought it was ok to sing someones song if not for profit, I
mean it was a protest / song of peace at a public gathering .
What is RTBF ? Surley Pete Seeger would be ok with it.


Besides the tech/ censorship problem, the sad thing is Hate,
Tribalism and Injustice are on the upswing, often supported by
the far Right in many countries , especially USA who always
finds a way to demonize ( create and brand ) and then Kill
their ememies ( with Justification supported by Lawyers )
So when an individual goes out and slaughters innocents its really the cultural acceptance of Killing that supports his warped dreams.
When a Terrorist group does it all/ most of the Nation states cry foul , they want their special “we are Soveriegn” Crap they dont want anything level or equal when they kill its OK .
So next time the USA bombs a country into Democracy lets have the people of the world cry foul ! Lets demand the USA join the International Criminal Court or lets have the world create Sanctions against the USA, even though this will only hurt the people it may cause us to finally rise up Occupy and demand a true democracy with liberty and justice for all.

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By Jeff Pappas, April 29, 2012 at 6:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As Mona says. I tried to view the video also, will not play in USA Come on now America Too many lawyers n laws , I thought it was ok to sing someones song if not for profit, I mean it was a protest / song of peace at a public gathering .
What is RTBF ? Surley Pete Seeger would be ok with it

Besides the tech/ censorship problem, the sad thing is Hate, Tribalism and Injustice are on the upswing, often supported by the far Right in many countries , especially USA who always finds a way to demonize ( create and brand ) and then Kill their ememies ( with Justification supported by Lawyers )

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By croaky, April 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

In spite of Anders Breivik, I think Norway is the best country in the world.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 28, 2012 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

40 thousand Norwegians sounds like one hell of a lot of Norwegians, plus to be united in compassion of their fellows for such a small country, if you could get the people of the US to show out in such numbers percentage wise, for something besides a ball game, things would possibly be different, but what do you suppose we have the swat police for?  They could be earning their keep for the elite and promoting the Oakland/New York crowd control flash bomb mace thing, we cannot have mobs running all over the streets you know.

Good choice for TDer of the week, makes me proud to be a Norwegian descendent who likes Fish Balls, I know you did not know Fish had balls!

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Mona's avatar

By Mona, April 28, 2012 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

The video will not play for me.  I have a message that says:  “This video contains content from RTBF who has blocked it from your country on copyright grounds.”

What that really means, people in high places don’t want Americans to feel too inspired to similar action.

Hope people will show them otherwise:

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 28, 2012 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

Norways BDS movement.

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By theway, April 28, 2012 at 2:14 am Link to this comment

Let’s leave analysing to others… This is about mature response. The Court deals with the crime.
This video should travel around the world.
The best possible Truthdigger of the week choice. Revenge and aggression will ultimately never win.
As I mentioned elsewhere the rabbis of old wisely pondered whether “if you punish a sin the sin will then attach itself to you”.

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, April 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

the touchy feely response is necessary for the healing, but remember:

1. solid reports of a 2nd shooter
2. bombs in Oslo only days before
3. police response like a keystone cops routine

looks more complex than just a nut-case, lone-gunman - more like some sort of
heinously tragic psyop,  most likely to drive a serious wedge into Norwegian anti-
war solidarity - happened just after Norway had announced intentions to pull out
of NATO’s Libya bombing campaign - calls for a well-funded, expansive,
transparent investigation - big questions: who played this guy, who influenced
him, armed him, enabled him and why?

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By jimmmmmy, April 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Are these actual Norwegians or their imported menials, who do most of the grunt work in Scandinavia? Brieviks crimes were racially and economically motivated. Imported cheap middle eastern labor forcing down wages, sounds familiar. The fact that religion does not seem to be a motive here is whats unusual in this particular outrage.

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By Sue B, April 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Excellent choice!  Very inspirational moment.  Makes me proud to be half

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