About 22nd July Monuments

Why is there so many 22nd July monuments in Norway?

01-06-2020 6:15 pm

We are often asked why are there so many 22nd July monuments?, or don't the bereaved have their graves to go to? To answer the last question first, yes we do have my sisters grave to go to. If you ask my parents which "monument" is the most important to them, it is without a doubt - Sharidyns headstone. When I asked my mum before writing this why, she answered:

"Your sisters grave is where Sharidyn rests. Her grave and her headstone is deeply personal to us. It represents the brutality of her death and is a horrible reminder every single time we visit her, that here lies our beautiful 14-year-old daughter killed by a white Norwegian supremacist who terrorised, hunted, maimed and/or heinously and without remorse killed men, women and children - emphasis on children. Why because she was of foreign descent.

When we stand in front of Sharidyn's grave and headstone, we have to force ourselves to remember all the things that we miss and love about her. Her grave is the one place where that is almost impossible for us to do, because of how she died. Parents should never outlive their child, let alone bury a murdered child because she had a multi-cultural background. 

We plant new flowers - normally roses every year to bring life to her grave. Her flowers don't erase the brutality of her death, but the process of planting new flowers means that even though she is no longer here with us, your dad and I can still do something that means more than most people will ever know, for our daughter. Planting flowers at Sharidyns grave, especially in spring is our way of bringing life to her memory.

Our daughters grave and headstone is not and will never be a 22nd of July monument."

 

My sister Sharidyns grave (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

I don't think that my mothers answer needs any extra fillers or explanations. Mum sums up clearly her views. Her views might differ to other families and how they view their childs grave. My mum is reflective and every decision she has made, has been to protect, preserve and honour my sisters memory, and she has done the same thing for many other families - some have no idea the x-amount of meetings and telephone conversations mum has had with Utøya AS and the Labour Youth Party, representatives in the Norwegian Government (and their staff),  to remind each person she has spoken to about what defines memorialisation. That has been my mothers mantra since the day my sister was killed.

So, why are there so many 22nd of July monuments?

To date, there are four (soon to be 5) different types of 22 July monuments. Each monument is a commemoration of the 77 victims who were killed during the brutal events of the 22nd of July terrorist attacks in Oslo and Utøya. 

1. Nico Widerberg 22nd July monument

2. National 22nd July monument in the Government area (Regjeringskvartal) in Oslo (Temporary fixture)

3. The Labour Youth Party (AUF) 22nd July monument (In Norwegian: Lysningen) on Utøya

4. Iron Rose monument outside Oslo Cathedral

Below are photos of the four different types of 22 July monuments

Temporary National 22 July Monument outside the Government building in Oslo (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Iron Rose Monument outside of Oslo Cathedral (2020) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

22 July Monument on Utøya (2019) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

What is a monument?

01-06-2020 6:00 pm

Collins dictionary definition of a monument:

A monument is a large structure, usually made of stone, which is built to remind people of an event in history or of a famous person.

Wikipedia definition:

A monument is a type of structure that was explicitly created to commemorate a person or event, or which has become relevant to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, due to its artistic, historical, political, technical or architectural importance.