18 thoughts on “A Moment of Silence For Norway, When We Need To Scream…

  • July 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    “Is he human? Can anyone like that be human? Flawed to such an enormous degree?

    I don’t know, but I doubt it. No one monster like that has any humanity left, if ever he did. He is so severely flawed and damaged ~ probably born with a very severe genetic problem, an unfixable, untreatable abnormality.”

    I think it’s important to note that yes, he IS human. And that severe problem he dealt with was ignorance. And ignorance is NOT unfixable or untreatable.

    Making this an “us vs. them” situation, calling him unhuman, puts “us” exactly where this individual was. We are all human beings. We are all flawed. Him more than most.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Runa, you are absolutely right.
    Good observation. If I wasn’t so tired, I would have made that distinction.
    Yes, it is a question of degree.
    Less human versus more human.
    But as someone who lives with a mental illness, and has been diagnosed with everything since the age of 12 ~ from schizophrenia to catatonic schizophrenia to manic depression to bipolar disorder to bipolar 1 ~ none of which was accurate. Now I have hypomania!!!!!

    I resent it when people, especially members of the media, call someone like this man “mentally ill”… Can he be treated? Can he go into recovery? Can he get well?
    I wonder.

    There are differences. We’re all different. All unique. All special. Not the same, but all equal.

    This person killed children, posing as a policeman. He did unspeakably hideous things.

    He’s different in a very important, crucial way.

    Yes, he’s human. We are all human. He is flawed, as you say, perhaps more than most. But what is his prognosis? Are Norwegians safe with him and should we not care? It’s the victims that we should be worrying about. And our own sanity in the face of such acts of terror.

    I’m exhausted. I’m spent. I’m sorry. And I ask you, why are people like this person lumped in together with all of us with our mental illnesses and our mental health struggles. Maybe the DSM-V should separate Axis 11 disorders from all the others. Just wondering.

    sln

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  • July 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I think it is dangerous to treat this man as a ‘madman’, someone who was simply deranged and was not somehow a product of his society. And not only because of the link to mental illness/violence that so many of us are sick of disproving. It is more than that. Sadly, he was not operating in a vacuum. He was acting on the same xeno-phobic, far-right, anti-immigrant attitudes that have plagued europe for hundreds, if not thousands of years. For many, many years, it was Jews who were perceived to be ‘the problem’, the outsiders, the ones ‘taking all the jobs’, the ‘other’ – and we saw the tragic results of the facism that arose out of such attitudes. Now it is Muslims, and the same generalizations are being made, aided and abetted by individuals who publish hateful blogs such as “Stop the Islamicization of America/England/Europe” (look it up if you don’t believe me – I refuse to link to it), which are barely hidden hate groups. Political parties in Europe who have strong, explicit, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim views regularly get between 10-20% of the vote. In Norway, they have been in power. This is not an ‘isolated incident’.

    Obviously there was something *very wrong* with him, as lots of people have those views and don’t act on them in this horrific way – but we have to recognize that he was/is a terrorist with the same goal as all terrorists – to get his message across. Except his message was not one that the popular (i.e. Western) media want to report on. Were he an “Islamic terrorist”, you can bet the coverage would be about Al-Queda, Pakistan, and the barely hidden racism that ensues when someone who claims to be representing Islam commits an act of terror. This man was a white, blond, Christian – so the coverage is of course about how he was a ‘lone madman’, instead of linking him to the politics of our time, including the rampant Islamaphobia that now exists. Why is he not being portrayed as reprensenting all Christians? Will we now be on the lookout for more ‘like him’? Will white, blond, male Christians be detained in airports and border lines? Will they be refused visas and entry to countries? Will they be sent by their own goverments to be tortured in other places on the basis that they ‘might’ be terrorists? I think not.

    It’s a sad day for humanity, for so many reasons.

    Reply
    • July 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      Dear Julie,

      You are right. But does that mean that I am not? Can we both not have our own truths in the moment?

      I’m wondering what Dr. Brené Brown would think and say. You know, she’s the expert on shame and blame and vulnerability and human connection… and guess what. She’s Gone Fishin’ until August. Just when we need her. I’m wondering if she even knows.

      I am just up from a few hours of sleep. A little more clear-headed, but still woozy. Sleep heals, you know.

      My rant, was just that, Julie. A rant. Not really meant to be entirely sensible. Truths in the moment. Just feelings, raw feelings, flushing out of me. I didn’t know what to do with them. Is that so unhealthy. Healthier than bottling them up and then exploding.

      But at the same time, when is History going to stop repeating itself at the cost of innocent people’s lives. Children, Julie. When will be learn from our mistakes. Doesn’t the way of this world have some responsibility to take? Don’t we as human beings have to assume some of this wrong and make it right?

      What’s going to change, Julie and when? I’m impatient. I’m no kid.

      I am reminded of Hillel, a Jewish prophet. A wise man. From the First Testament. He had his own book, The Book of Hillel.

      Here’s what he said. It’s one of his most famous sayings. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”

      Here’s more from Wikipedia: “Hillel (הלל) (born Babylon traditionally c.110 BCE, died 10 CE[1] in Jerusalem) was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Renowned within Judaism as a sage and scholar, he was the founder of the House of Hillel school for Tannaïm (Sages of the Mishnah) and the founder of a dynasty of Sages who stood at the head of the Jews living in the land of Israel until roughly the fifth century of the Christian Era.

      He is popularly known as the author of two sayings: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”[2] and the expression of the ethic of reciprocity, or “Golden Rule”: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”[3]

      When will we learn, Julie? That’s all I’m asking. When.

      Thank you, I almost forgot to say, Thank you for YOUR honesty. I can always count on you for your honesty and your integrity. Your genuine, authenticity. Thank you, Julie.

      xox
      s

      Reply
  • July 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    On the whole, I disagree with most of what you have posted, but certainly nod to the fact that it is a rant.

    I would contend that in this hyper-connected buzzing world that an entire minute of silence is deafening. Imagine it. One whole minute of nothing except reverence and listening.

    As much as I think most of us would like to separate ourselves from this individual in Norway, I think it is a mistake to do so. He is very much human. He is one of us. His genes are ours.

    One wonders on what dime his life turned. At what point some intervention, no matter how slight, would have rendered him less vulnerable to radicalism and violence.

    Look at how we all would have now reaped the benefit from someone listening to him, or talking to him. Really talking, really listening.

    For now, we get silence. That’s all we have left to offer. At least in this minute.

    Reply
    • July 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Madeline,

      How poetic. And generous. And empathetic. A deafening moment of silence. I know how deafening silence is. I live in it all the time. But are we connected to Norway and Norwegians? I wonder. You know that to be human is to be flawed? Your “wondering” is so valid and so wise. I don’t know. Honestly. I have no answers. I am not wise enough. Not good enough. Not benevolent enough. I have no faith in a power greater than… except perhaps, Mother Nature.

      Is this a natural act? I wonder.

      I wonder if he would have had the patience to talk? Maybe that’s a gentle assumption. I don’t know, but my question is this: Are there enough trained ears and eyes and souls to be able to help those who are left behind? Who can hear their fury and confusion and anger and loss and wipe their tears?

      I wonder and worry about the living. The people this person has so heartlessly hurt perhaps because he is hurting so much. These are all assumptions. Will we ever know the many truths that we have lost in Norway.

      I wonder and I thank you for your sharing with us your truths with us.

      xox
      s

      Reply
  • July 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I wasn’t meaning to suggest that you are ‘wrong’ and I am ‘right’ – just offering some context and thoughts 🙂 There is no right and wrong in this awful situation.

    And I’m pretty sure my comment counts as a rant, too 🙂

    Reply
    • July 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm

      Dearest Julie,

      We need to rant sometimes. To get those feelings out. Don’t you feel better afterwards? Relieved?

      You’re right, there is no right or wrong. There is just sadness about this madness. Anger and hurt and pain and grief and a million emotions. Imagine how the parents of those slaughtered kids are feeling? Imagine just one person grappling with the murder of someone they love.

      That’s all. Senseless losses and deaths. No reason for lives, individual lives to be sacrificed for one man with his illusions or delusions.

      You understand, Julie. I know you do.

      xox
      s
      Yes, free hugs for you, too.

      Reply
  • July 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I think, in this hectic world, that a minute of silence allows us to Stop. Think. Process.

    I think there is much to be gained from both quiet reflection and talking things through.

    Reply
    • July 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm

      Samantha,

      Thank you.

      Reflection, yes. Through the veil of anger and fury. Yes. But is a minute or a moment enough? I wonder.

      Talking things through, yes. It takes more than a minute. Or a moment. It takes time and you said it yourself, in our “hectic” world, where do you find the time?

      I wonder.

      I thank you.

      Hugs, free hugs,

      xox
      s

      Reply
  • July 27, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Ranting has become a part of our culture here in America. We have right-wing rant radio. We have politicians ranting xenophobia in almost every election cycle. The element of fear is always heightened at times of ecomonic stress. Rather than rant at the Multi-mega Corporations who are controlling global interests, we turn the rant towards our fellow man. We turn on the people who are in the same boat we are in and right now the seas are stormy.

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  • July 27, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Thank you, Paula.

    You are right. What you write is a truth. Your truth. In this case a very wise and thoughtful truth.

    I was writing and ranting based on my feelings at that moment. Coloured, perhaps, by lack of sleep. Perhaps by other things going on in my life.

    Now, we know more. So perhaps my “rant” is not as relevant. Or fair. I don’t know.

    You are so right, as well, about our stormy seas.

    There are many mental and emotional issues, health issues, illnesses. I think it is fair to want specificity in psychiatric health as we expect it in physical health.

    Linguistically, I feel we should be very specific. Cancer is not a cold, but both are physical illnesses.

    That’s the point I’m making.

    For many years, I’ve worked hard on my recovery, as have millions and millions of people. We may have psychiatric diagnoses, but do we all have “mental illness”? Wouldn’t be fairer to say be have “a” psychiatric diagnosis of bipolar disorder or whatever and now we’re “in recovery” or we’re working on our recovery.

    Are we all dangerous people? I prefer to be painted with colour. Not in black and white.

    That’s the point I was trying to make, but I did not make it very well because i was speaking through my feelings and not my thoughts and reason. Emotion trumped my reason. Perhaps. I should have waited and then posted the next day. Or not at all. But I did and so be it.

    What I wrote at that time on Sunday, June 24, was a truth in the moment. My truth at that moment.

    Thank you for your wisdom and perspective.

    I really value what you have said. We all will.

    Tibi Gratis Ago ~ I give you thanks.
    sln

    Reply
  • July 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Yes he is human. This is part of the rage of human behavior. There are horrendous things that humans are doing to other humans all the time around the world. Some are mentally ill, others quite sane. ( sane – how about soldiers who deliberately rape because it will disrupt society for political ends?]
    A minute of silence? Ok, so 5minutes would have been”louder.” In our world, where noise is a constant, including the silent noise of people continually texting or tweeting to keep from being there, in that space, in that moment, i believe keeping quiet for a sustained period of time to consider what happened to all of these people allows us to see and feel. NOTHING is more unusual than deliberately maintaining silence and focusing our minds.

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  • July 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Moment of Silence
    Almost one week ago a human being with a very closed mind, tortured in feelings of isolation from a closed mind, caused tremendous harm to so many. His actions stole the lives of so many and forever changed the lives of us all. And here we are, still yelling at each other, ‘thinking’ our way of seeing the world is the correct way. Well, maybe that’s just the way we’re built, forever struggling with the poisons of greed, fear and our ignorance to our interdependence upon one another. Yet, for me there’s Big Hope that we can touch a higher ground. Shortly after 9/11, an eleven year old boy suffering from a fatal disease, captured that higher ground. Mattie Stepanek wrote the following poem on that day:
    For Our World

    We need to stop.
    Just stop.
    Stop for a moment.
    Before anybody
    Says or does anything
    That may hurt anyone else.
    We need to be silent.
    Just silent.
    Silent for a moment.
    Before we forever lose
    The blessing of songs
    That grow in our hearts.
    We need to notice.
    Just notice.
    Notice for a moment.
    Before the future slips away
    Into ashes and dust of humility.
    Stop, be silent, and notice.
    In so many ways, we are the same.
    Our differences are unique treasures.
    We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
    To nurture, to offer, to accept.
    We need to be.
    Just be.
    Be for a moment.
    Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
    Like children and lambs,
    Never judging or vengeful
    Like the judging and vengeful.
    And now, let us pray,
    Differently, yet together,
    Before there is no earth, no life,
    No chance for peace.
    September 11, 2001
    This is a request for you to consider a pause from your busy mind to touch that higher ground, that ground that stands above greed, fear and our ignorance to one another as brother and sister. For a moment let us, stop yelling, fighting, and hurting one another. For a moment, let us open our hearts and minds to one another in the very gift of this next breath. For a moment, let us meet the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Norway, the land of peace and harmony. For a moment, let us just listen deeply to one another.
    Stillness
    “Let us be still an instant, and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception that we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away.
    Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thought of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do you know him not. But you are free to learn of him, and learn of him anew, without the past that sentenced him to die, and you with him. Now is he free to live as you are free, because an ancient learning passed away, and left a place for truth to be reborn.” Course of Miracles, Chapter 31:1, verses 12-13, p. 648
    This is real courage. This is commitment to Truth, to an open mind, to birthing action from hope and faith, knowing we are forever supported. It’s knowing that feelings of aloneness and separation have been born from thought, thoughts that can be released. As we release these thoughts into the eternity of ‘this moment’ we find relief from restlessness, touching the stillness. We find “a world in which there is no fear, and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend, and let it join with you.” CoM, p. 641. The cultivation of this stillness is what provides the courage to face impermanence and the sensitivity to touch “the universal Will” that all living things remove obstacles to awareness of Being whole. In stillness, there is non-duality. In stillness, we experience that nothing remains unchanged but the Truth of our One-ness, and our fear to face it.

    Reply
  • July 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    What took the police so long to get to the island?

    Reply
  • July 29, 2011 at 4:00 am

    I’ve been thinking about this for a few days to formulate myself in a good way.

    Here, since Norway is a neighbouring country, the chock and grief transcendedborders. People felt a need to express sympathy. When hit by tragedy, especially a massacre like this, the human need to DO something can be overwhelming. However, the minute of silence is certainly not an isolated event. There’s a huge media coverage even though it’t queting down some. There’s also a raging debate over how to regulate substances that can be turned into explosives. As well as a debate over guns. The guns this nut used is prohibited here but legally available, given you have a gun permit, in Norway. For me, the greatest issue has been that he shot 70 teenagers/kids in cold blood. They were trapped on an island with nowhere to go… And he planned it all for 9 years and had planned to kill even more people but didn’t get to it.

    There has now been a number of memorials. The king and queen of Norway has attended, as did the prime minister. They can’t make the pain lesson but participation in grief shouldn’t be underestimated. I did, indeed, take a minute to remember the victims of senseless violence anywhere. This has been the biggest massacre since WW2 in Norway, the same for Sweden so it hit close to home.

    There has been some critique that there’s a more or less active forgetfulness about other ongoing tragedies such as the famine on the horn of Africa.

    As for the nut-case, which doesn’t really deserve to be mentioned by name, it’s now speculated that he’s crazy. People have always sought rational explanation to why people do evil things. To me, we can just say that he’s basically evil. He was certainly formed by various experiences but neither can explain why you go on a slaughter such as this one. I call him a nut-case but I doubt very much that he has a mental illness. People with mental illness are, by in large, not capable of planning this kind of event during a continuous period of 9 years. Other extreme right-wingers are crawling out of various holes. They are entitled to their opinion but it takes on a nasty tone of how these kids were being politically indocrinated by participating in a political youth camp. You should omit political and view it as a camp where there’s fun shared with societal debate. And people find girlfriends/boyfriends. They were being kids. The youngest saved was a 5 year old.

    so, in all, it might seem small, to observe a minute of silence. To me it made some difference. Not alot but some.

    Reply
    • July 31, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      Dear Jessica,

      Thank you for taking the time you needed to respond to this “ranting” of mine and to the others who have expressed their thoughts and feelings so selflessly.

      Indeed, you express yourself in a very “good way.”

      I think, without going over this once again, that you are right in your defence of the validity and empowerment of “a moment of silence.”

      I agree, there is a true need for remembrance, memorializing, reflection, processing, showing respect and acting together as a nation. As a “moment of silence” allows you to do…

      At the same time, I believe in change. In learning more, in speaking out and speaking up, in making a difference by working together to make change, through education and fighting ignorance and fear with information, in taking charge and making change through action. And that, sometimes, demands noise, and voices raised together in rebellion.

      So, perhaps we’re both right and there is a time for moments of shared silence and remembrance and a time for raising our voices for change, for hope, for a new vision, a new reality.

      Empathy or the lack of empathy, it has been suggested, may be at the root of the problem in this case. How do you solve that problem? How do you change that in a person or a group of people? Is it part of a political ideology or an aberration? Genetic? Environmental? I do not know.

      Either way, I know a moment of silence is a fair way to show respect. It does no harm and if it makes a difference, good. I hope, with all my heart, that this difference will lead to change for the greater good.

      Again, I thank you for your thoughts and the time you took to formulate them.

      You make an enormous difference here, by sharing them with us.

      sln

      Reply
  • August 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I think the one frustration here is that the media has focused on mental illness as a cause. Most of us with mental illness would never make the choice he made but because he made the choice he did the media has painted him as the face of mental illness. It would be nice iof they’d mention the wonderful accomplishments of those with severe mental illnesses just to give equal coverage.

    Reply
 

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