Friday, April 20, 2012

Berntsen, was his name

Brave kins of the victims sat in the audience and listened to Breivik's testimony in court today.
The perpetrator spoke in detail, almost without interruption. It was a dignified silence in the room. Out of respect for the dead.
Still, a silent scream was felt throughout the nervous system, as Breivik did not remember the name of the first person he shot dead. Prosecutor Bejer Engh said, with what was perceived as a mix of fire and water in her eyes, in a calm voice: "Berntsen, was his name."

The greatest threat
Something happened when she said it. No technical language could violate the victims' humanity after this sentence.
Berntsen, was his name.
He died first, he was chosen to die first because the perpetrator saw the police officer Trond Berntsen as his biggest threat. Bejer Engh did not let Breivik move on without remembering his name.
We knew what was coming. A seemingly emotionless explanation of 69 murders shocked us deeply. But the red eyes of the prosecutor, her calmness and directness, in confrontation with a testimony that cut into our hearts, made us stronger, in spite of the grief and pain that rolled up inside.

What was about to become a technical review of the events of the one hour massacre in Utøya, was stopped by every victim's name, which rose up in our memory. The persons they were. The faces we were familiar with. The youth who had found a community. The sparkling spirit of young people who spent their summer in dedication to solidarity.
They came to life for us, with the sentence, "Berntsen, was his name."

No longer a number
Now the dead and the injured are going to be presented as individual persons again, they are no longer a number in the series or Breivik's "targets". He has been sitting leaned back in the court today, allowed to talk freely about the absence of his feelings. And he used words for the dead that are tied to his virtual war, and he shook the entire world with his use of language.

In his head he declared war on the entire Norwegian society. He divided people into target categories, gave himself a mandate, and carried out his deadly strategy.
Anders Breivik Behring must be the loneliest man on the planet today. Lonely, but not alone. Breivik was surrounded by the Norwegian justice system. He was protected by Norwegian law.

No rage
No one gave him their rage. No one gave the killer the confirmation he seems to expect. The hatred towards him.
He was asked why he uses such a technical language. He said it is not possible for him to use normal language about his crime. I protect myself, he allows himself to say.
It was announced that this day in court would be tough. Still no-one can prepare for something like that. Experienced journalists who have covered crime for decades, say that they have not seen anything like it.
It is in this room, where the rights of Breivik as a human being is protected, that he will be made responsible for every single murder.

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