Thousands of Norwegians to sing song that mass gunman hates
Sing-a-long in Oslo is a spirited way to reclaim the folk song that Anders Behring Breivik claims has been used to brainwash generations of school children.
Thu, Apr 26 2012 at 4:54 AM
SONG OF LOVE: Some 40,000 rose-waving Norwegians gather in Oslo to protest against mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik by singing a folk song he says is a Marxist indoctrination anthem. (Photo: Kyrre Lien/AFP)
OSLO — Thousands of Norwegians planned to gather in Oslo on Thursday to protest against mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik by singing a folk song he hates and which he considers a Marxist indoctrination method.
After an Internet campaign, more than 5,000 people have said they plan to meet at a square near the Oslo courthouse where Breivik is currently on trial for the July 22 attacks that killed 77 people, to sing "Children of the Rainbow" by Norwegian folk singer Lillebjoern Nilsen.
Nilsen and the culture ministers of all five Nordic countries — Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland — have also said they would be at the square to participate in the sing-a-long. Other similar events were to take place across Norway.
Breivik, a 33-year-old right-wing extremist, told the court on April 20 that Nilsen was "a very good example of a Marxist" who had infiltrated the cultural scene and that his song was typical of the "brainwashing of Norwegian pupils."
In reaction to his comments, two Norwegians launched a Facebook campaign calling on the public to "reclaim the song" and sing it together near the courthouse.
"I felt like he was trampling on a song I grew up with and that I sing to my child," Lill Hjoennevaag, one of those who initiated the protest, told public television NRK.
The song is an adaptation of U.S. folk singer Pete Seeger's "My Rainbow Race" and is very popular in the Scandinavian country. Its chorus goes: "Together, we will live, each sister and each brother, small children of the rainbow and a green earth."
Nilsen has rejected Breivik's interpretation of the song.
"In fact, it's not about people, it's about protecting the environment," he told daily Aftenposten.
On July 22, 2011, Breivik first set off a bomb near government offices in Oslo, killing eight people, before going to nearby Utoeya island where he killed 69 people, mostly teens, attending a Labor Party youth camp.
While he has confessed to carrying out the twin attacks, he refuses to plead guilty, saying his attacks were "cruel but necessary" to stop the ruling Labour Party's "multicultural experiment" and the "Muslim invasion" of Norway and Europe.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition