It is now almost two days since Norway was struck by the most evil deed since the Second World War. At Utøya and in Oslo.
It feels like an eternity.
It has been hours, days and nights filled with shock, despair, anger and tears.
Today is a time to mourn.
Today we let ourselves pause a little while.
Remember the dead.
Mourn those who are no longer here.
92 human lives are lost. More are still missing.
Each and every one of those passed away is a tragedy. Together the loss is a national tragedy.
We are still struggling to understand the extent.
Many of us knew someone who is gone. Many more know of someone.
I knew several.
One of them was Monica. For about 20 years she worked at Utøya. For many of us, she was Utøya personified.
Now she is dead. Shot and killed while creating comfort and safety for youths from around the country.
Her husband John and daughters Victoria and Helene are in Drammen Church today.
It is so unfair. Know that we shed our tears together with you.
Another one gone is Tore Eikeland.
The leader of AUF Hordaland and one of our absolutely most talented young politicians.
I remember how he made the whole Labour Party annual general meeting, when he held a spirited speech against the EU postal services directive, and won.
Now he's dead. Gone for ever. It's beyond comprehension.
These are two of those we have lost.
We have lost many others, at Utøya and in the government buildings.
Soon the names and pictures of all will be public. Then the extent of the evil will be apparent, with all its horror.
It will be a new test.
But we will overcome that, as well.
In the midst of all this tragedy, I am proud to live in a country that has managed to stand upright in a time of crisis.
I am impressed by how much dignity, care and resolve I have encountered.
We are a small country, but we are a proud people.
We are still shaken by what has struck us, but we will never abandon our values.
Our response is more democracy, more openness and more humanitarianism. But never naivité.
None said it better than the AUF girl interview by CNN:
"If one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we can all show together."
Finally, let me tell families all across the country, who have lost loved ones:
You have mine, and all of Norway's, deepest compassion in your grief.
Not only that. The whole world feels for you.
I have promised to extend to you the condolences from Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Frederik Reinfeldt, Angela Merkel, and many other heads of state and heads of government.
This can never replace the loss. Nothing can bring your loved ones back.
But when life is at its darkest, we require support and comfort.
Right now life is at its darkest for you.
Know that we are there for you.
Note: Eskil, adressed at the beginning of the speech is Eskil Pedersen, head of AUF, the youth organisation of the Labour Party which was the target of the gruesome shooting.</lj-cute>