Posted by: 2girls2europe | July 24, 2011

The Norway Tragedy: Jessie’s Perspective from Switzerland

Dearest Readers,

Two days ago tragedy struck Oslo, Norway. At least 84 people were killed via the car bomb and the shooting rampage on a youth camp allegedly coordinated by one Anders Behring Breivick, a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, according to english.news.cn.

One German man, Vincent, who hadn’t heard about the bombing until we spoke, told us that Norway is regarded as one of the safest countries in Europe. He just kept repeating, “Are you sure it was Norway?” and added half jokingly, “Life is perfect in Norway.”

Needless to say, the European response seems much the same as the American, shocked and appalled at this egregious act that killed so many young people.

I do have to add, however, that because we are in Europe, Switzerland to be specific, I don’t think we have any information that the United States doesn’t already have. All I can add is what I have observed as the European response.

In the train, yesterday, three policemen patrolled the car headed to Brussels as a final destination (we went to France) and there was a policeman in the train station grocery store. Both were occurrences that seemed out of the ordinary. I do not know if this added security is related to the bombing.

When we heard about the happenings in Oslo, we quickly turned on the one English channel on the Swiss television, CNN. We watched the same few pictures scroll across the screen while listening to a British newscaster describe the event.

Since the Oslo tragedy, many friends and family from home have asked us if we feel safe. I would like to quell these doubts by emphasizing that we do not feel in any way unsafe. Europe, while small and tight-knit im many ways, is comprised of many separate countries, so when something happens in one it does not necessarily affect the safety of those in the others.

If something had happened, heaven forbid, closer to us, such as another part of Switerland or Germany or France, I would definitely be frightened and I think a lot of people here would be more directly affected.

Here’s an analogous situation: If I were in the United States and something comparable happened in central America. It would be ghastly, I would try to donate money/time and I would grimly read the updates. But I wouldn’t feel that my personal safety was at risk.

That is how it is here. My heart goes out to Norway, I keep reading for more updates, and I have no idea how to donate in US dollars, but I personally feel removed from the situation. I will watch and report if there are any differences when we head into France today or if there are any more heightened security measures.

My love to Norway.

—–
Jessie

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