21 July, 2015

Hate Crime Stories: Stine Elise Christensen, a survivor of Utoya massacre

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Category: hate crime, Utoya massacre, Victims of hate crime
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22nd of July - Stine Elise ChristensenAll the participants at Utøya had just been gathered in the main hall to get information about what had happened in Oslo earlier [the terrorist detonated a bomb in the government quarter], and to get the message that the rest of the program that day was cancelled. After this the local group of Oslo and Akershus gathered for some more information and socializing in the dining room.

 

After a while I heard what I thought to be a fire cracker. What a bad joke, I though, but someone yelled “take cover”, and we all laid down on the floor under tables and chairs. Suddenly someone yelled “run”, and then there was panic. Some jumped from the window, and some got out through the door.

I got out of the door with my cell phone in my hand and without shoes. I still didn’t completely understand what was happening. I ran down through the forest, and then one person came and told me that he had seen someone been shot and that we had to call the police. We ran for our lives. We got ourselves down into the forest and found a hiding place. We were a small group that sat there together.

While I was sitting there I sent a message to dad at 17:45. “Don’t get worried, but there is a man who have fired shots at Utøya. Police are on their way and I have ran for cover”. “Ps. Love you a lot”. We sat there, and sat there, shot after shot were fired.

I put my phone on silent mode. I got some messages from friends and some called, but I didn’t dear to pick it up and the messages I didn’t dear to respond to before it all was over…, but it was a comfort to read the message from friends who care about you☺

After a while the shoots were so close that we decided to run in the opposite direction. We were running on a track that lead us further into the island. There were dead and wounded all around, there was a love-couple showing their love to each other while running. I stuck my sweater in a bush and ripped if of me, but someone running behind me took it of the bush and threw it back to me again.

After we had been running for a while me and some others decided to go down a slope to seek coverage. That was when my cousin called, instinctively I answered the phone and exchanged some words with him. This was down by the waterfront and some choose to swim for it, while me and four others hid underneath a small cliff.

One of those sitting next to me was a little boy, with fear in his eyes, but he didn’t cry. He was strong. The first boat that came picked up a friend who had swam for it, and gave a floating west to the others. We sat there and sat there, we heard him on the track above us. There came some boats passing that we tried to make contact with, something that afterwards perhaps can be perceived as a bit naïve, but luckily none of them were the perpetrator.

I sent message to my sister asking about news if she had been caught. This was ten past seven and the news said ahe had be apprehended, but we didn’t dear to believe it completely. In the end came a boat right up to where we were located, and that was when we new. She was caught. We had made it! We had survived our greatest nightmare. We were then transported in the boat to the main land, where there were body bags, people in shock, health workers, police and volunteers.

I met a friend who helped me on to the road and I got a blanket by some health workers. I was in shock. We were after  few minutes guided into an ambulance bus and transported to Sundbollen. In the bus I called my mother. I have never in my life been so happy to make a call as I was then.

At Sundvollen there was a lot of hugging and joy over all familiar faces one met:-) One of the volunteers who were there came over to speak with me, and gave me some water. I was so thirsty and rushed up that I was dizzy. I registered and went to see who else I knew who were there, and to sit with people I knew.

We had survived our greatest nightmare, but what about all the ones who were not there… Some came later that evening, but many more from the Akershus local group had still not come… Some time during the night dad came and picked me up at Sundvollen, and we drove to our cabin that’s located just outside Fagernes. On the way I heard the press conference where a police officer said that there were at least 80 people killed, I cried and cried… On my cabin was my sister and mom. Oh my God how good it felt to be able to hug them.

I want to thank all the people I hid together with, those who I held hands with, those who gave some calming looks or who gave some comforting words:-) I will never forget that!

I was one of the lucky ones, I never stood face to face with him, and I did not see friends being shot. I am forever grateful for this. My thoughts go to the relatives to the missing and deceased and to those left with bigger trauma than I do. Together we will get through this.

Rest in peace, comrades – Always in our hearths.

Stine Elise Christensen (22 years old in 2011) was on Utøya when the terrorist came to the island dressed as a police officer,  equipped with a machine gun and started to shoot at the participants of the Youth Labor Party’s summer camp. She wrote down her story on her blog two days after it happened. Translated by Eirik Rise.

Stines’ blog (in Norwegian): http://stineec.blogspot.no/

 


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  1. Pingback: Hate Crime Stories: Stine Elise Christensen, a survivor of Utoya massacre | Gboats

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