I was rehearsing in the music room on Blindern campus on Thursday afternoon when I began to receive calls and messages from my Norwegian friends. London, where I’d been living for the last three and a half years, had been bombed.
At first it was unclear exactly how many tubes and buses had exploded, or what was going on. I tried to phone friends in London but the phone networks were down. Eventually I started to receive emails, and in the evening I finally got to speak to people. My friends are very much alive. In a couple of cases their regular train was bombed, but in most cases people I know seem to have either been in bed or were watching TV when it happened. But I knew many people in London, so I can’t be absolutely sure I don’t know one of the dead or injured.
It’s a senseless waste of human life, whether I know the victims or not.
I found BBC World on the TV. In the aftermath of the blast, there was much said about the “stoicism” of Londoners. That is, Londoners seemed to shrug off the terror and get back to life as normal. Having lived in London, I’m not really surprised they were so sanguine. It’s an overcrowded city with an overloaded public transport system, so getting to work on a regular day is in itself a triumph over adversity. I’m glad I don’t live there any more.
After the initial shock of events in London, the Norwegian media turned to itself and began to speculate on whether there would be a terrorist strike here, and whether Norway would be prepared for it. Then there’s the post-explosion hysteria. I heard that a train was stopped in Trondheim because there were some Africans aboard, carrying bottles of clear liquid and mobile phones. Of course, they were cleaners carrying turpentine.