Terror comes to the quietest town

The first thing you think of at times like this is your friends and colleagues.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the pissing rain marvelling at the enthusiasm of my Norwegian colleagues as the Diamond League came to town.

We were in the press room, and I and everyone else not born with gills was complaining about the incessant rain. Not the Norwegians.

Even Usain Bolt was non-plussed by the weather- “I’m a sunshine boy,” he said, answering a question about the rain with a look of distaste.

But the natives are used to working in adversity and I was hopeful that my friends and colleagues were uninjured.

That Diamond League night I was working with Kurt, and it was with great relief that I heard his voice asking a question at a press conference in the aftermath of what appears to have been a car bomb in the heart of the government district in Oslo this afternoon.

A check on the Reuters wire showed that Alister was alive and well and tapping away on his keyboard just a couple of blocks from where the city was torn in two.

Micke and Siri will show up too – pros that they are, they won’t be answering anything that is not from their producers or their families. For all I know it’s their pictures I’m seeing on the screen.

An offer to go and help out on the ground has been politely turned down so far- this is a big story, and already the big guns (for want of a better word) are being sent in to cover it.

It’s too early to say who is behind what appears to be the most pointless terrorist attack to date, but it won’t be long before the mud is thrown.

I’m not sure I care who is behind it just yet either.

What is more important is that the authorities get the situation sorted out and that the people don’t shut down their open, democratic society in the wake of this atrocity.

This is, after all, the country that sponsors the Nobel Peace Prize, a country well-respected in it’s efforts to bring peace to the Middle East (not least via the Oslo Accords) and to Sri Lanka.

As I watch the footage – hopefully shot by my friends and colleagues in Norwegian media – of debris and damage on the streets which I walked a couple of weeks ago, I hope that whoever did this is watching too.

And I hope they realise the futility of what they did.

Because if you feel that you have to blow up bombs on the streets of the quietest, most peaceful capital in the world to make your point, then your cause is not worth fighting for.