Some 40,000 people have gathered on an Oslo square to sing a popular peace song which mass killer Anders Behring Breivik condemned at his trial.
The right-wing extremist had accused the singer of Children Of The Rainbow, Lillebjørn Nilsen, of being a Marxist who sought to brainwash children.
Nilsen led the crowd on Thursday in singing the song on Youngstorget Square, close to the courthouse.
Inside, the trial heard testimony from survivors of the Oslo bomb attack.
It is the ninth day of Breivik’s trial for the killing of eight people in Oslo and 69 on the island of Utøya, as well as the wounding of more than 200 others.
He admits the attacks on 22 July last year but denies guilt or insanity.
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Marco Werman: Norwegians took to their town squares today to take back a song. The song is the Norwegian version of Pete Seeger’s “My Rainbow Race”. [Singing] The song came up last week at the trial of Anders Behring Breivik. He is the man who confessed to the bombing and shooting rampage last year that killed 77 people. Breivik said in the court that the song Rainbow Rays had been used to brainwash Norway’s youth into supporting immigration. was the part of the crowd of an estimated 40,000 people who gathered in downtown Oslo today to sing ‘My Rainbow Race’ .Asta Busingye Lydersen is a member of Queendom, an all-black all female group in Norway that sings about among other things about inclusiveness and diversity and Asta what was it to be like part of crowd in Oslo today?
Asta Busingye Lydersen: I had a really good feeling because this song kinda stems you know the protest singers the antiwar movement from the 60’s and the 70’s and it was bought to Norway translated to Norwegian and became a really popular children’s song. So I have noticed a lot of adult Norwegian, we are kind of ironic when we listen to the song. As for Breivik mentioned this song in that context, people suddenly felt the need to take back the song to say that yes we do actually embrace this naive idea that people can actually live together, they can love each other across color, creed, religion and we just really stand up for those basic human values.
Werman: So all these people going out to all these town squares in Norway today, it sounds like you were saying it was kind of a push back to what Breivik said.
Lydersen: It wasn’t really about Breivik, say it was more about the core values that Norwegian society is built upon, because I have noticed that amongst the survivors of the 22nd of July last year, many of them have been asked ‘ what you think about Breivik ? What you think about what he said in court today?’ and many of them have said ‘ I don’t care about him, I just want to stand up for my society and the Norway that I love and you know pick up the pieces of my life and move forward’ and I think that’s what Norway did today as well to celebrate the kind of unity that Norwegians have felt ever since 22nd of July.
Werman: Asta I’m wondering if you can share with us today the chorus of the song ‘My Rainbow Race’ so that maybe we can hear how the song addresses the Norwegian core values that you say.
Lydersen: In English it goes like “One blue sky above us, One ocean lapping on our shores, One earth so green and round who could ask for more.” Basically how we can all unite and just stand together for something positive.
Werman: Your group, Queendom, is all about supporting diversity and broadening the notion of what it means to be Norwegian. How do you feel about how Norwegians generally have responded to last summer’s tragedy?
Lydersen: Growing up in Norway as an African origin there used to be times when I was subjected to a lot of racism and a lot of prejudice. I felt it was difficult for me to call myself Norwegian because I felt that Norway couldn’t include me with everything that I am and after the 22nd of July last year I felt that it was a proof that a different Norway has been emerging over the last decade or two and that there is room for people like me as well. So I am quite proud of Norway and I can standup and say am a Norwegian the same way I can stand up and say that am African and there is no inner conflict in me anymore.
Werman: Asta is part of the Norwegian group Queendom , she was in Downtown Oslo today along with 40,000 others to sing ‘My Rainbow Race’. Asta Busingye Lydersen, thank you for speaking with us.
Lydersen: Thank you.
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En himmel full av stjerner (A heaven full of stars)
Blått hav så langt du ser (Blue seas as far as you can see)
En jord der blomster gror (A world where flowers grow)
Kan du ønske mer ? (Can you ask for more?)
Sammen skal vi leve (We shall live together)
hver søster og hver bror (Every sister and every brother)
Små barn av regnbuen (Small children of the rainbow)
og en frodig jord. (And a blossoming world.)
Noen tror det ikke nytter (Some don’t think it matters)
Andre kaster tiden bort med prat (Others waste time with small talk)
Noen tror at vi kan leve av (Some thing we can live on…
plast og syntetisk mat. (…plastic and synthetic food.)
Og noen stjeler fra de unge (And some steal from the young)
som blir sendt ut for å sloss (who are sent off for a fight.)
Noen stjeler fra de mange (Some steal from the masses)
som kommer etter oss (who come after us.)
Si det til alle barna! (Tell all the children)
Og si det til hver far og mor: (And tell every father and mother)
Ennå har vi en sjanse (That we still have a chance)
til å dele et håp på jord. (to share hope for the world.)