Saturday, July 30, 2011

This Is Greatness

A few days ago, I shared a quote from Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in a post about talking with young children about great tragedy.

If one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we can all show together.

Yesterday, a friend sent me a collection of comments from Norwegian political leaders.

Fabian Stang, Mayor of Oslo:

We shall punish the terrorist, and this will be his punishment: more democracy, more tolerance, more generosity.


I don't think security can solve problems. We need to teach greater respect.

Jens Stoltenberg, Norwegian Prime Minister:

. . . the answer to violence is even more democracy.

 Steinar Gil, Norwegian diplomat:

Norway will not change. Evil will not prevail.

And from Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, whose own step-brother was one of the victims:

Tonight, the streets are filled with love.

We have chosen to respond to cruelty with togetherness.
We have chosen to meet hatred with unity.
We have chosen to show what we stand for.

Norway is a country in mourning. We think of all of those who have suffered losses, and all of those who made a heroic effort to save lives, and restore our peace of mind.

Those who stayed on Utoya were targets of terror, but it has effected us all. Clear and terrible, we have seen how much impact in individual's actions can have.

After 22 July, we can never again allow ourselves to think that our views and opinions are irrelevant. We must face every day prepared to fight for the free and open society that we are so fond of.

Dear young people: you are our corrective, our courage, and our hope. It is you who will shape and determine which Norway we will have in the years ahead. Each one of you is priceless -- but we have lost many.

No one will take our Norway from us.

Tonight the streets are filled with love.

We face a choice. We cannot undo what has been done, but we can choose what this will do to us as a society, and as individuals. We can choose that no one should have to stand alone. We can choose to stand together.

It is up to each one of us now -- it is up to you, and it is up to me. Together, we have a job to do. It is a job to be done around the dinner table, in organizations, through volunteers, men, and women throughout the nation.

We will have a Norway where we will live together in communion with the freedom to think; where we will see differences as opportunities; where freedom is stronger than fear.

Tonight the streets are filled with love.

This is "a job to be done around the dinner table, in organizations, through volunteers, men, and women throughout the nation." From the depths of their pain, this is what Norway's leaders are calling upon their people to do. This is leadership. This is greatness.

I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love. ~MLK

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Unknown said...

What a beautiful post.

GianneCurry said...

Adored your post about parenting and shared it with my facebook friends. We also tried pendulum painting with a little tweaking ( I can't wait to try it again when the kids are more familiar with the contraption so we can make fun swirls like you did. Just love this site!!

Gianne at

Unknown said...

Norway's reaction is extraordinary, beautiful and inspiring (as are you). Thank you so much for sharing this. It truly gives me hope to see people in a position of leadership react to something so tragic with such dignity and insight. The lesson of combating hate with more love is such an important one to teach ourselves and our children.
~ Gina

Marla McLean, Atelierista said...

Thank you for this important and powerful post.
It's like a prayer.