We hid on a rocky slope, or at least tried to. The bastard with the gun would actually have been able to come from any side and discover us, we couldn’t see anything from our vantage point.
Minutes felt like hours. Then text messages started to tick in: “Where are you?” “Are you hidden?” “I love you so much,” and other similar messages.
Then came the text from my friend Pernille: “He’s by the school building, he’s shooting through the door. We are a group of 30 who are trying to hide. Are you safe?” I replied as concisely as I could: “What does he look like? Is there more than one? Has he got into the building? We are hidden, but not safe.”
Finally came her description. He was in a police uniform and had a weapon. There were some reports of there being two gunmen. Then came a message that he was heading our way. I put my hands together and talked to God, at the same time trying to keep the others calm. Then I decided to send AUF’s [Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking, Norway’s youth labour movement] leader a text, and he replied that he was safe. I asked him: “What should we do? There are four of us clinging to a rockface.” His reply was short and to the point: “Swim.” I got hold of the other three and told them to get ready to swim.
I wanted to assure myself that the coast was clear so I first went down to the water’s edge. But there I saw a body face down in the water. I waded out, all the while looking skywards and praying. I dragged the boy’s body back to land and when I pulled back his jacket hood I saw it was a friend of mine, and I saw the wound to his head. There was no time to react. I kissed him on the cheek and returned to my rockface.
Then I spotted other delegates trying to hide by the water’s edge, and waded over to them. I told them that I had talked to the AUF leader and that his advice was that we swim away. I suggested to the girls that they stick some ID down their bras, or some other item that might identify them. I outlined for them a plan: we swim out as far as possible, beyond the rifle sight of the bastard, and out to the right towards an adjacent island.
Everyone started to undress, they all knew how much a hindrance wet clothing is. Before wading in I sent a last text to my mum, dad, younger brother, and best friend Robin. With one other I led the way, checking over my shoulder that the others were following. It was cold, I felt the chill in my bones, but focused on keeping my head above water. Behind me some of the others were starting to panic, so I shouted to them: “Keep your head above water, get away from land. Breathe!”
Then I turned on to my back and looked back at the island and caught sight of the bastard. He was standing there in a police uniform, he had blond hair, fair skin, a police cap on his head, and I saw his weapon. It looked as if he was aiming at us. Poff! One of the other swimmers was shot, I saw the blood stream out, so I started to swim even faster. Then I turned on my back again and saw he was aiming at those who still hadn’t started swimming from land yet. As if he had realised he couldn’t hit us out in the fjord, he was concentrating on taking out those on the rocks below him.
I saw one of my friends about to leap into the water, but in a second he was shot. Even at a distance I could see and hear the two shots, straight to the head. I saw his head explode, I saw how he was split apart. Panic spread like wildfire among those on land. I wanted to be among them, urging them to get away, by land or water. I even yelled: “Swim or run!”, but nothing helped, there was so much other noise – both the helicopter above us and the bastard’s rifle.
When I turned on to my front again I felt the panic seize me. I felt my eyes wanting to close, I felt the water slowly getting into me, filling me up. I felt my head wanted to turn and look back, I felt the pain. The panic spread to my breathing, I was gasping for air. Suddenly someone behind me shouts. “Emma, I can’t go on.”
It was one of my girlfriends. I gritted my teeth and swam back to her, then told her to keep the rhythm: Breath for you and breath for me. We’ll soon be safe and warm, you’ll see. I let her climb up on to my shoulders and keep swimming with her legs; together we managed to keep going. I breathed steadily. In my own mind I was keeping a rhythmic stroke: “One for mum, one for dad, one for my brother, one for Robin. All are waiting there on land.” All the while I talked to the girl on my back.
Suddenly she said: “Emma, you’re bleeding”, and when I looked down at my left arm, there was blood pouring from it. I tried to shut it out, focus on swimming, but I knew full well why my left arm was aching so much, but I didn’t want to stop. Behind us we could still hear shooting, the screams, the laughter of the bastard as he shot, and his shout to us: “You won’t get away!”
Then my friend said she felt she was able to swim on her own. She swam beside me, breathing regularly anddoing really well. It felt as if all this took several hours, but I know it was really only minutes.
A young boy came swimming up to me. I looked at him and said: “For someone so young you’re a strong swimmer.” He looked at me and replied: “My daddy is dead.” I said to him: “Don’t look back, just keep swimming for your dad. You’re doing really great.” To this he answered: “I thought the police were supposed to be kind to us.”
The anger that swelled up in me gave me extra motivation. We three kept swimming side by side. When I turned on my back to see what was happening I discovered that there were far fewer in our wake: the bastard was still shooting at us. I said: “Don’t look back, keep swimming”. And as I said that I heard and saw a boat and we all swam faster, shouting: “Thank you God, thank you.”
I waved, I shouted: “Help! Over here!” I said to my friend and the little boy that I would swim to the boat first, in case it was some sort of trick the bastard had planned. We had lost faith in everyone. I looked up at the man who lifted me into his boat. “You’re safe now,” he said. He gave me a good hug and asked if there were others. We motored out to my friend and the boy and I said: “Come on, it’s safe.”
Before I finish I want to say that I am not going to leave politics. The bastard will not stop us, we won’t give in. I have so many questions, I would like one day to meet him again, without a weapon. Why? What was he thinking? All these questions which will never be answered. Just think of it, he dressed himself in a police uniform, the symbol of safety and support. He abused our trust in the police.
I’ve been sitting here listening to everyone talk about Clarence and staring at that photo of the two of us right there. It’s a picture of Scooter and The Big Man, people who we were sometimes. As you can see in this particular photo, Clarence is admiring his muscles and I’m pretending to be…
Saw green lantern yesterday, dissappointing. Could have been far better if it hadn’t built up to such a poor ending.
Saw tree of life today, cinematically impressive, but incredibly slow. Like watching a mash up of various documentaries without the assoiciated commentary. Good acting however, just not enough of it. Aye.
The Mull of Kintyre test was an unofficial guideline said to have been used by the British Board of Film Classification in the United Kingdom to decide whether an image of a man’s penis could be shown. The BBFC would not permit the general release of a film or video if it depicted a phallus erect to the point that the angle it made from the vertical (the “angle of the dangle”, as it was often known) was larger than that of the Mull of Kintyre, Argyll and Bute, on maps of Scotland. (via rajandelman)
dear the many people i have told this to in the past. truth.