Report from Oslo: Nathaniel Cook shares his experience

The following post was written by Nathaniel Cook, a Peace Scholar from Concordia College. He wrote it soon after the terrible violence in Oslo last week.

I just wanted to write a quick comment and update people on the situation in Oslo. At 3:30 this afternoon (Norway time) at least one bomb exploded in downtown Oslo near the Prime Minister’s office in what is being called “the worst attack on Norway since WWII”. We, at the ISS, actually heard a massive boom. Because it was raining about a half hour before this I only assumed it was thunder. I didn’t even think it odd that there was no other thunder or lightening. However now we know it was most definitely the explosion.

It’s very shocking having come to Norway to learn about it’s role as a peacebuilding nation. Norway, which has so often played a neutral role and helped facilitate peaceful agreements has been attacked in what appears to be definite terrorist attack. Whether the attack is from domestic or foreign terrorists is unknown at this point. After just checking the BBC, it appears that at least 7 are confirmed dead and 2 in critical condition with more admitted to the hospital. The Prime Minister is confirmed to be safe. It sounds like 11 have sustained serious injuries as of now. Luckily, it is vacation season in Norway and because it was late afternoon on a Friday, many offices in the vicinity were empty. I think it is fair to say it could have been even much more tragic. Two Peace Scholars, Thato and Kelsy, were actually only a couple blocks from the explosion at a meeting in a coffee shop, but were luckily safe. It is disturbing though…

We had a meeting for all ISS students about an hour ago and the director confirmed that we are planning to stay at the school and continue all activities as planned. Many of us are going on weekend excursions tomorrow morning. I will be traveling to the Jotunheimen national park to go hiking and white water rafting. In the meantime I’m sure the school will take all necessary precautions to make sure the school is safe.

Furthermore, there have been shootings at a youth camp for Norway’s Labour Party at Utoeya, an island about an hour from Oslo. A man dressed as a police officer went on a shooting rampage and Norwegian police have stated they think the two attacks are connected. Witnesses are saying there are over 20 bodies of injured and killed people, mainly youth. Apparently many people were swimming from the island to escape. We were also told that the Prime Minister was actually supposed to visit this camp tomorrow. It is very frightening, but we are all trying out best to remain calm.

 

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