There was little the rest of the world could do but sit back and watch in shock as the events in Oslo unfolded on the afternoon of 22 July. While we tried to digest the news of the bomb blast in central Oslo, news began filtering in of an even worse occurrence — a mass shooting at youth summer camp.
In the hours and days after the tragedy, we started to learn more about the twisted world of Anders Behring Breivik, the man who planned and carried out the attacks.
His online activity, from old postings on far-right forums, brand-new Facebook and Twitter accounts — presumably set up to be discovered after the attacks — to a 1 500-page online manifesto, was eagerly examined and dissected by the media.
Mike Butcher, the Editor of TechCrunch Europe, was correct when he tweeted: “…all tragedies now unfold via social media”. What happens a million miles away, across multiple time-zones, now feels as if it could be happening in your neighbour’s garden.
Twitter user Christian Aglen was one of the first to document the attack and bring the devastation in Oslo to the rest of the world.
Some users, using the primacy of video, were able to convey the horror and fear of what they were experiencing and feeling via on-the-ground updates and video-sharing sites such as YouTube:
- The silence shot through with ringing sirens in the immediate aftermath creates an eerie atmosphere.
- This citizen journalist describes what he’s witnessing and has just experienced.
- A clip capturing the destruction of the bombed-out building.
- The view from a building near to one that was bombed.
- An evacuee captures the confusion in the wake of the attack.
- Aerial shots of the youth camp after the shooting.
- A video of the rescue effort from the Utoya island where the youth camp was being held.
But in the face of the devastation, the resilience of the people of Oslo –- and prayers and messages of goodwill from millions the world over that flooded social networks — shone through.
In a speech, Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg quoted from a memorial message written by a young girl: “With so much hate embodied in one individual, think about how much love we all have inside us.”
Or as a British twitter user put it: