by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the ceremony at the Memorial for the 22 July 2011 Acts of Terrorism

  • 31 May. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 31 May. 2023 18:40

(As delivered)

Prime Minister, dear Astrid. 
Dear Lisbeth,
Dear friends.

Every day, of every month, of every year, 
We remember…

We remember the day we were attacked. 
Here, where I had my office, at the government quarter in Oslo.
The heart of democracy, men and women working at the service of this country and its people.

And on the island of Utøya. 
Where young people gathered at the Labour Party summer camp.
The future of democracy, attacked for their political beliefs.
77 lives lost.  
Hundreds injured. 
An entire nation devastated. 

But I also remember how all Norwegians came together in the wake of the attacks. 
And our friends and allies around the world stood with us in grief. 

Despite the shock and the pain,  
Norway was determined not to let hatred of a single man win over the love of an entire nation.

And indeed, love prevailed. 
Our democratic values prevailed. 
Terrorism failed.

Terrorism comes in many guises.
The perpetrators use different political ideologies and religious beliefs to justify what they do.
But in reality, they are all the same.
Using violence to achieve their goals.

As we have seen from New York to Christchurch,
And from Istanbul to Paris.
There is a line between Utøya and Ukraine.
Between a brutal act of terrorism, and an illegal war of aggression. 

The values attacked then, are the ones attacked now. 
Diversity of thought, of opinion, of belief. 

And the intention is the same.
To kill for political ends.
Spread fear.
And sow division.

It did not work then. 
It does not work now. 
It never will. 

Because we will not let authoritarian states break down the rules-based international order.
We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes. 

And we will not let terrorists crush our free and open societies. 
We will stand united to protect our values and our people.

Gathered here today at this memorial, we look back. 
We remember. 
And we honour the victims and their survivors. 

But let us also look forward. 
And learn that with hope, solidarity and love, 
We can preserve peace,
Defend democracy,
And protect freedom.

Thank you.