On July 22, 2011, Anders Breivik detonated an explosive in the government district of Oslo, after which he carried out the massacre on the island of Utoya. 77 people were killed and it was the bloodiest attack in Norway since World War II. – We were sure that we would all die – recalls that day Lisa Husby, who managed to survive the attack. Survivors of the massacre say Norway has failed to account for the far-right ideology behind the attacks.
Speaking to survivors and the families of the victims, the head of the Norwegian government, Erna Solberg, emphasized that much has been done over the past decade to improve the readiness of the security services and combat all forms of extremism. She pointed out that the most important remedial measure was “to strengthen ourselves against intolerance and hate speech.”
Attacks on the island of Utoya and in Olso
On July 22, 2011, the Norwegian Anders Breivik detonated an explosive in the government district of Oslo, and then carried out the massacre on the island of Utoya, firing a rifle at participants of the Labor Party youth camp. A total of 77 people were killed. The Norwegian did not like the way in which the left-wing Labor Party exercised power, which he believed was too open to immigrants and worked for a multicultural society.
It was the bloodiest attack in Norway since World War II. In 2012, Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, with the possibility of extending his sentence indefinitely.
Survivors of the Utoya massacre, where the killer killed 69 people – mostly teenagers – say Norway has failed to account for the far-right ideology behind the attacks.
“Racism and right-wing extremism are still alive and well among us,” said Astrid Eide Hoem, who fled the massacre and became head of the Labor Party youth group last year. – They are on the Internet, at the table, in the homes of many prominent people – she pointed out. “Now we must say once and for all that we do not accept racism, that we do not accept hatred,” she appealed.
She survived Breivik’s attack. “I was struggling with depression”
Lisa Husby, 19 when the bombing took place, remembers the day in an interview with the BBC. During the shooting, she hid in one of the houses on the island, seeing a crowd of terrified people fleeing through the forest. As she says, “she was sure she was going to die.” After firing a few shots at the house where Lisa was hiding, Breivik went further.
– Everyone on the island thought after the attack why we didn’t fight it? Why haven’t we done anything? But it’s easier said than done when we only had two arms to fight and he had a gun, ‘she said.
Husby lost two friends in the massacre. – When Norway started to return to normal, I think that was when life became more difficult for us. I started to have terrible nightmares again, I struggled with depression and anxiety, I had no positive thoughts about the future, I gave up for a moment – she said.
Currently, Husby lives on a farm where she feels safe. In schools, he talks about the attack and teaches about right-wing extremism. “That one Friday in 2011 should not define me as a victim all my life,” she added.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Hakon Mosvold Larsen