We want to be loved; failing that, admired; failing that, feared;
failing that, hated and despised. We want to stir up some sort
of feelings in others. Our soul abhors a vacuum. At all costs
it longs for contact.
Hjalmar Soderberg, Doctor Glas, 1905
I read these words six months ago at the beginning of a book titled, One Of Us, by Asne Seierstad. It relates the true story of a man, whose name I won’t mention, who killed seventy-seven people in Norway on July 22, 2011. Eight people were killed by a bomb outside of the Prime Minister’s office in Oslo and sixty-nine more were killed by guns at a youth camp on the wooded island of Utoya. Most of those killed on the island were teenager members of the country’s governing Labour Party.
It was, in the same breath, one of the best and most compelling books I’ve ever read, and one of the most disturbing.
I write these words because every time there is another act of terrorism or violence anywhere in the world, I feel as we all do; angry and helpless. There are no words that can explain the acts committed or the mindset behind them.
Terrorism has its own language; one no rational human being can begin to understand.
The only thing we can do is offer our thoughts and prayers for the loss of so many. For the loss of so much promise and potential; for the lives that have changed; for those taken and those that remain.
Hatred is an irrational and powerful enemy and not exclusive to specific parts of the world. It lives where you live.
Believing otherwise is foolish.