In 1975, I spent the summer in Oslo, at the International Summer School hosted at the University of Oslo. It was my first trip abroad (although I'd been across the Texas border into Mexico).
The school was top of mind after I saw the headline: Oslo hit by bomb explosion and youths shot at camp. I was tipped to the story by a tweet which had been retweeted by someone in my network.
"I've been there!" was my first thought as I read that the attack was in the Oslo central government district. Our farewell party was a reception and dance held at City Hall. My memory is that there were about 300 of us from 90 or so countries; today it's 550 students and 90 or so countries in any given year.
I cannot begin to imagine the play of emotions of students, faculty and families strewn across the globe. The Economist calls this "the most devastating attack on a Scandinavian country since the second world war."
An initial claim of responsibility by a terror group named Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami has been retracted. Nevertheless, local commentators have identified Islamist terrorists as the most likely culprits. When Norwegian newspapers reprinted the infamous Danish Muhammad cartoons in 2006, Osama bin Laden pledged retaliation. More recently, Norway's participation in Afghanistan led Ayman al-Zawahri to list the country as a possible target for attack. And just last week terrorism charges were served on Mullah Krekar, a high-profile Islamist cleric who is fighting a protracted battle to avoid deportation from Norway.
When I went to the ISS web site, I was inordinately proud of the communications team:
I have a huge lump in my throat, but no more words.