Guest Post: A “ScandinAsian” on Oslo Attacks and U.S. Media Coverage

Remember last week when I pretended to be a food blogger on The Nom Blog and I told you about Anna and our Bertucci’s bonding? Today, Anna’s returning the favor with a guest post for Rosie Says. Here she is:

I’ve never written anything about news prior to this guest post; I’ve stayed relatively close to subjects such as food, entertainment and technology. I want to share some of my thoughts and reactions to the recent terrorist attacks in Norway. For those of you who don’t know me, I am half Korean and half Norwegian, a “ScandinAsian” if you will. I grew up speaking both English and Norwegian and spent the majority of my summers visiting family and friends in Norway. This past May I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, instead of attending the usual summer family trip to Scandinavia, I traveled to Greece, France and Spain on my own.

Sometime in the afternoon of July 22, I was preparing to visit a museum in Madrid, Spain when I received a text message from my brother asking, “Did you hear about the bombings in Oslo?” I remember feeling my throat sink deep into my stomach as I frantically searched “Oslo bombings” and “attack in Oslo” on Google with few results. The only news source that offered any sort of information was the UK Huffington Post, and even that was limited in its account of the bombing. Facebook was no more helpful. I watched in horror as photos and confused status updates surfaced on my newsfeed. After 9/11, this was the second time in my life where I found myself staring in disbelief at a billowing cloud of smoke and at a screen that offered no answers to my questions.

In the aftermath of the two attacks, Anders Behring Breivik, a white, conservative Christian Norwegian, was taken into custody for the bombing of the Norwegian parliament in Oslo and massacre of a Labor Party camp on the island of Utøya, leaving 77 dead.

I was very hard for me to grasp how and why this tragedy took place in such a peaceful country. It’s difficult to comprehend how a man who murdered dozens of innocent men, women, teenagers and children could only get away with a 21-year sentence. But what’s remarkable is that amidst a time of great sadness, Norwegians stood together and did not give in to the assailant’s desired attention; I remember reading someone’s Facebook status that read, Fokus på ofrene og berørte av terroren Utøya og Oslo, IKKE gjerningsmannen [Focus on the victims and those affected by the terrors on Utoya and Oslo, NOT on the perpetrator].

However, one thing I struggled with was the news and media coverage of these attacks, or lack thereof. In the wake of the Day of Mourning and as the number of missing persons began to dwindle, the international news coverage quickly faded. No longer was Norway’s crisis under investigation or concern to the rest of the world [so it seemed]. I am saddened particularly because none of the stories of survival or eyewitness accounts will ever move beyond the boundaries of Norway.* None of the problems involving lack of police and delayed emergency response will be revealed to prevent future problems, not to the outside world at least.

Recently, on August 21, Norway ended a month-long period of mourning with a ceremony in Oslo. It was at this time where media starting buzzing again about the attacks. What about the month inbetween? I rely (ied) mostly on Norwegian news sources like Aftenposten an Dagbladet to keep myself informed over the trial proceedings, mourning families and any other information pertaining to the investigation of the attacks. But what about other readers? What about other nations that harbor extremists who plan (have plotted) attacks?

I guess this is the first time I am realizing that this is a problem from a bilingual point of view. Sure, our (U.S.) news coverage system isn’t perfect, let’s face it, no system is, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be remedied. And at a time where countries are becoming more introverted, and our education systems cut language programs, our translations suffer. I’m not saying that we’re not doing a good job at covering news; I’m saying that, in this particular case, there was an abrupt end with no follow up.

 *For English speakers, Anna has provided a few articles and a video that “despite iffy translations, are particularly well-written and eye-opening for those who have not read past news and media headlines.”

VIDEO: Norway’s Month of Mourning Ends

Couple braved gunfire to rescue 40 in water at Utoya

Norway Shooting: German tourist hailed a hero after saving 30 lives

Norway Bombing Reaction: Oslo Tragedy Prompts Outpouring Of Reaction From World Leaders (PHOTOS)

Chilling Text Exchange Provides Window to Norway Terror

“Multi-Culturalsim Is Dead:” Norway’s Lesson to the World

Related Post: Gail Collins on the U.S. Tucson shootings.

Related Post: College football and condoning violence.


1 Comment

Filed under Guest Posts, Media, Politics, Uncategorized

One response to “Guest Post: A “ScandinAsian” on Oslo Attacks and U.S. Media Coverage

  1. Pingback: Happy Birthday? | rosiesaysblog

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