Today Norway celebrates “Constitution Day” and this year the celebration is somewhat special, this is the first May 17 after the horrific terror attack last summer, where 77 people were killed, most of them young people that took part in a political summer camp outside Oslo – some of then open and proud boys and girls.

This shocking attack on innocent people and on a democratic and open society was based on hatred and fear for the unknown, it was an attack from someone within, not from anyone from the outside. It is beyond understanding how anyone can commit such an act of crime against anyone innocent and defenseless.

Today is also the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). The day aims to coordinate international events to garner support for the respect of lesbians and gay rights worldwide. May 17 was chosen as the day of the event because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17, 1990.

As Norway tries to get a grip on what really happened and how it could happen, there are gay people in countries like Iran and Iraq that risk to be executed because they are just that – gay! In several African countries gay people – men and women – are harassed, discriminated, beaten and killed just because they show their love and affection to another person of the same sex. This is not one horrible act that happens once in a remote place in the world – this takes place everyday all over the world – over and over again.

In a world where some people commit horrible crimes against the human race, it seems even more meaningless that people are punished just because they love each other.

Let’s celebrate May 17 this year and the years to come to show the terrorist he did not win, he did not scare us into hating or attacking each other – let us show the world what we still believe in love.

A Norwegian woman and member of the Parliament commented to CNN just hours after the terror attack in Oslo June 22 last year; “If one man can create that much hate, you can only imagine how much love we as a togetherness can create.”

Let us continue to create love – it will get better!

Happy May 17!

Tore Aasheim
President MGE