An interesting thing happened today. As you may or may not be aware, the trial of Anders Behring Breivik for the mass murder of 77 people in Oslo and Utøya on July 22nd of last year, is ongoing. At the moment the court is hearing testimony from survivors of Breivik’s attack. One of those surivors is 18 year old Marte Ødegården. In July she witnessed the murder of many of her friends. In July she was shot in the back. Today she was in the room with the man who committed these crimes, and she stared him down.
According to Sky News reporter Trygve Sorvaag, the “18 year old survivor just looked Breivik straight in his eyes and holds contact for a long while. He looked surprised and uncomfortable.”
This girl stared into his eyes, and made him uncomfortable.
I’m curious as to what was going through Marta’s mind as she did that. I pondered what might go through my mind if I was her. I don’t know if I would have that kind of courage, but if I did, I think that that stare should taunt him.
According to his testimony in the trial so far, Breivik put a lot of effort into mentally preparing for his attack. He recognised that what he was going to do was evil, but felt that it would bring about positive change. Regardless of the outcome of this trial, Breivik will be impotent to ever act toward his goals again, so I think that it is important to drive home the point that he failed. Let him know that he is not an agent for positive change, he has committed evil for no reason. He acted against a system he disagreed with and now the survivors can stare him in the eyes and say “I didn’t die”.
Breivik had many goals and ideals he wanted to see die. They did not. For every idea which Breivik acted against, a multitude of voices can stand up and say “I didn’t die.”
And so my taunt to Breivik is this:
I believe in multiculturalism and that a diversity of people is a good and positive thing. And I didn’t die.
I believe that Islam is a religion to be treated with respect and that the vast majority of its followers are good and honest people who should be made to feel welcome in whatever corner of the globe they settle. And I didn’t die.
I believe the Norwegian Government has done a good job of protecting and serving its citizens and has rightly earned the respect of its international neighbours. And I didn’t die.
I believe that the rise of the feminist movement has been a strengthening force for Europe and countries around the world. And I didn’t die.
I believe that change is an overwhelmingly positive force and that change shall continue to bring prosperity to people everywhere. And I didn’t die.
I believe that one day there will be no need for borders as the peoples of the world unite as a single diverse race with no need to fear each other. And I didn’t die.
I believe that the 77 people who breathed their last on July 22nd 2011, were not killed, they were made immortal. It is with the knowledge of their immortality and of your failure that I say with calm confidence, I didn’t die.
I cannot die.