Oslove: Norway's response to terror

2011-07-29 15:02
People hold flowers and love "Utoya" and "Oslove" signs as thousands of people massed outside Oslo's City Hall on July 25 2011. (Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP)

People hold flowers and love "Utoya" and "Oslove" signs as thousands of people massed outside Oslo's City Hall on July 25 2011. (Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Oslo - They call it "Oslove", written with a heart-shaped second 'O', and a week after the attacks that killed 76 people in Norway, the symbol of a peace-loving nation's response is everywhere.

The word is carved into rocks marking a mainland jetty used by residents to sail across to Utoya island, where Anders Behring Breivik gunned down 68 mostly young people about an hour away from the capital.

A car bomb blast targeting government offices in the city centre, also claimed by Behring Breivik, killed another eight.

In the night-time bars where Oslo's young are letting their hair down once more after going through an emotional wringer, Norwegians greet strangers with a kiss and the whispered mantra, while outside the city cathedral it crops up time and again in the giant garden tribute to the dead that has sprung up there.

"It's my fourth visit, and each time it has got bigger," said Henrik, 56, of the sea of flowers, flags, candles and messages of condolence, 50m long and 20m wide.

"It feels good to be here, that's why I come. It's fantastic to see all this love," he adds.

National archives

Desperate to find a way to preserve this outpouring of emotion, the mayor of Oslo has said the pictures drawn by children and the other messages left at the site will be gathered up and housed at Norway's national archives.

The flowers, meanwhile, will be turned into compost, to give new life somewhere else.

"It didn't really hit me when I saw it on television," said Oganda Mawanda, a 28-year-old African immigrant, of the floral tribute. "But once you're here in front of it... It's just so terrible what happened."

A mother brings her two little children, aged six and three, to place roses at the scene.

"I tried to explain to them what happened, without going into the details," says Siri Merete Ek of the murderous rampage.

Summarised feelings

One card jutting out sums up the feelings of everyone who stops.

"For those who have left us, for those who have lost someone, for those who have survived, for those who grieve, for those in fear, for those who are sad - thoughts of comfort filled with love," it reads.

Nearby, a boy of five-and-a-half places his offering, depicting balloons floating off into the sky, among the pile.

The scene is just a short hop from the court-house where Breivik made his brief appearance before a judge on Monday, to be remanded in custody as forensics and an international intelligence operation gather the evidence needed to pursue a unique trial next year.

That appearance marked the only time Oslo witnessed an angry public reaction - even then, essentially contained to one youth lashing out at the armoured car bringing in the suspect via an underground back-entrance.

Even as the judge gathered the parties in his closed chambers, "Oslove" had taken root inside the building with a Dutch-Russian couple making their wedding vows on the first floor in a pre-arranged ceremony.

Read more on:    anders behring breivik  |  norway  |  norway attacks

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.