Monday, 25 July 2011
The Flowers Of Oslo
For such a small country Norway has much to be proud of. The manner in which they have coped, unified, and confronted adversity has been a stirring to watch. How easy it would have been for rage to win the day, for anger and hate to rise above this tiny nation like a hooded cobra. Who could blame a single person for such feelings in light of what they have endured? Yet what we witness is a renewed desire to uphold the values of openness and tolerance which they deem so central to their way of life. I find this more than a little inspirational. What a contrast to the mania and calls for retribution we have seen in the wake of other global atrocities. Their Prime Minister calls for more openness, more tolerance, a call to arms that must surely enrage the ugly souls inhabiting the dark corners of every society. For be under no illusion,these detestable creatures seek to undermine our principles and enlightenment values, to regress us to an age of fear and distrust. As the flowers were held aloft today, one hundred thousand strong, can there be any clearer message for those who want to undermine our way of life? True, they can wound us both physically and emotionally. But do these people think for a moment that they have the power to strip us of that which makes us strong? We know there are problems with a multi cultural society and there's an ongoing discussion that needs to be had. Yet who of sane mind could think that anything as brutish as a bomb or a gun could ever bring about any kind of resolution? Violence begets only violence, bile only more bile. These things can build nothing, let alone sustain. No, for a society to move forward all parties are required to listen to each other, to engage with ideas which at first may seem alien. Workable compromise is the only solution we can expect yet it is a noble one nonetheless. The world has changed so much; we really are a melting pot of race and creed. Like it or not we all have to live one amongst another. Nobody says we must agree, but at the very least we need to try and understand. Those whom seek to cause terror know nothing of how to achieve any of these things. And why? Because the only voices that matter to them are theirs, and they swim in their own murky pools of ignorance, doing no more than re-enforcing their own grotesque ideas. No wonder this leads to extremism, intolerance, hatred and suspicion of the other. If I could leave you with one thing from this post it would be that unless we engage, unless we at least try to connect with each other how can we ever hope to live peaceably? Yes we are different, and in ways that we may never fully reconcile. Yet surely we can build a bridge or two, and make it strong enough to allow some of us to cross?