For my blog post, I wanted to share a letter I sent to the community of my school, Oneness-Family, this past week. Following my letter is a personal reply I received from a parent in our community (who has given me permission to reprint it). It was so moving, and such a profound statement of peace.
Finally, there is also a recent NY Times Op-Ed piece by a Norwegian author published on Tuesday. I like the last part – if there is ever a time in where you should “turn the other cheek” this is it.
Dear Oneness-Family Community:
On behalf of all the faculty, staff, board members and families of the Oneness-Family School community I want to extend our deepest condolences to the country of Norway and to our Norwegian families for the terrible tragedy that has recently occurred. We are keeping all the Norwegian people in our prayers during this time of great pain and we stand with them in their continued commitment to being an open and peaceful society.
At the Oneness-Family School, we are teaching the next generation of leaders how to become good citizens of the world. Hatred and ignorance may disguise themselves in many forms, but they will never have any place whatsoever on the peaceful planet we are all working so hard to create. Our commitment remains firm to empower our children with free minds and courageous hearts so they are able to build a peaceful global society – a vision that Norway already embodies in so many ways.
On this solemn occasion, I would like to share with all the following prayer:
Let us be united;
Let us speak in harmony;
Let our minds apprehend alike.
Common be our prayer;
Common be the end of our assembly;
Common be our resolution;
Common be our deliberations.
Alike be our feelings;
Unified be our hearts;
Common be our intentions:
Perfect be our unity.
– From the Rig Veda ( ancient Indian scripture)
In oneness with our Norwegian brothers and sisters,
Thank you very much for the kind and thoughtful words. It has truly been a horrible and unreal situation for us to see what have happened in our peaceful little Norway. The atrocities [are] beyond imagination with the slaughter of close to 70 people in their teens and early 20s and in addition a bomb explosion outside my former work in Norway that so far has killed 6 people.
What I am however very glad to see is how Norway is reacting to this. The unity that this has created is just incredible. We have no big discussion about revenge and how to punish this man in the most cruel way. We are just showing love and taking care of one another. Every night since the explosion there has been huge crowds of Norwegians out in the streets in every little city just holding hands, carrying flowers, singing and showing love and unity. Although this is a meaningless and unbelievable atrocity we are not letting hate come out as the winner. As one young girl that survived the massacre said: “If one man can show this much hate, think about how much love the rest of us can show together!”
This horrible act of terror is not going to change Norway or the principles we live by.
We are all going to punish this man by doing exactly the opposite of what he wanted to achieve. We will make Norway a more open, more democratic, more tolerant and a nation where we care about and love one another more than before. Hate, intolerance and fear is what is going to be the loser here. This is the best and only way we truly can honour all those innocent people that lost their life in this meaningless tragedy.
Once again thank you very much for your considerations and thoughts.
– Espen M.