Friday, August 5, 2011

Meet some people who are going to hell


If you have not already heard of Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen, then let me introduce you:

"Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen have rightly become national heroes in Norway after they rescued 40 fleeing teens from the massacre on Utoya Island. Using their boat, they made multiple trips into the waters around Utoya where Anders Breivik was murdering 69 people and ferried as many as they could to safety. Bullet holes later discovered in their boat indicate Breivik fired upon them."
- Gavon Laessig

Oh, and by the way, they are a lesbian married couple.

So, let me tell this story as best I can. Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen were having a picnic on an island near Utoya Island, when they heard sounds indicating something was amiss. To quote Dalen:

“We were eating. Then shooting and then the awful screaming. We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake.”

What this couple did next is beyond anything I can explain or understand. They took a row boat, and rowed in the direction of the gunfire. They rowed to the island where a massacre was taking place, and filled that rowboat with as many human beings as they could possibly hold, and rowed back to safety.

Would you like to know what they did next? They unloaded the rowboat, and went back to save more human beings. They did this a total of four times. By the end, the rowboat was riddled with bullet holes. They shuttled a total of 40 human lives to safety.

FOUR TIMES

Four times, they put themselves in harm's way for strangers. Four times, they thought of the suffering of their fellow human beings, and made the choice to put themselves directly in the line of fire way to help others find a way out of it..

We talk of heroes. We talk of the firefighters who ran into the World Trade Center, we talk of the soldiers who ran in the direction of Fallujah. I think we talk about these things, and refer to the participants as heroes, because we would like to hope that we would be brave enough to do the same as they did. We would like to hope that in our finest hour, we would sacrifice ourselves for our fellow human beings. We call these men and women heroes because we hope that we would, and we fear that we could not.

The truth is...we probably could. In times of crisis, we react. Maybe we all would have rowed that boat across the isle because we knew that people were in harm's way, and we knew we had the ability to help them. Maybe we would because that's what you are supposed to do...because that's the way to be a person.

...And that's what the fellow in the video above perhaps forgets. He forgets that those who is damning to eternal torment are human beings, people he may meet at the grocery store. People who may hold differing and staunch beliefs about which sports team is better...people who may sacrifice their bodies and minds to do the right thing when the chips are down. People who would help you in spite of the fact that you were wishing them eternal torment and suffering.

I want this shit to stop. I want an edict from the pope. I want an acknowledgment that these two human beings were doing the right thing. I want a facebook page, a website, I want it known to the world. I want it declared by his holiness, the Pontiff of Rome, declared by every religious leader on the planet, that Hege Dalen and Toril Hanse SHALL NOT burn in hell for all eternity. I want Hege Dalen and Toril Hanse to be celebrated as the heroes that they are.

Anders Breivik perpetrated the wholesale slaughter of as many human beings as he possibly could, and he did so to support  his xenophobic worldview, which includes support for varying degrees of cultural conservatism, right-wing populism, ultranationalism, crusades, Islamophobia, far-right Zionism and Serbian para-militarism, and to preserve a Christian Europe. He did so because he hated the 'other.'

Hege Dalen and Toril Hanse did not see the 'other,' they saw people in need. They acted like any brave, and strong human being would in that situation. They represent the best of what we can be, and that is how they should be judged. That is how we all should be judged...by OUR actions, not YOUR beliefs.

-Paul Wittmeyer

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