Interview of Alexander Rybak’s mother about acts of terrorism and moods in Oslo


Written by Anya Balakhovich and Oleg Bartsevich. Published 26.07.2011, 17:41

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Translation by Zhanna Sergueeva

Alexander Rybak’s family saw an explosion in Oslo from their window

The mother of the artist, Natalia Rybak, told how she got to know about the acts of terrorism, which sentiments do dominate on the streets of Oslo and whether her family does now want to leave Norway.

Euroradio: Where have you been at the moment of the explosion? Where has Alexander Rybak been and, God forbid, hasn’t anyone been hurt in your family?

Natalia Rybak: In our family, fortunately, nobody was hurt. Sasha at that time went to a concert near Oslo. We were sitting at home, having guests. From our windows the downtown can be seen. And we heard this explosion, we saw rising column of a smoke, but I even could not imagine that this is really a blast. We thought that in the worst case it was a collision of two boats …

Euroradio: How did you personally react to this explosion? What feelings did you have?

Natalia Rybak: At first nobody could believe it was true. It took several days to realize these news. In terms of feelings it was a terrible shock. Everyone was depressed. It was hard to believe that this could happen in reality and not in some movie. That a man with cold blood can take away so many lives.

Euroradio: How did you get to know what happened on the island of Utoya?

Natalia Rybak: Those news were even more terrifying. When we were talking to each other we all were having tears … This was just impossible to talk about. Still I see that people can not calm down when we start talking about those events, it’s just hard to talk about those events.

Euroradio: What people say right now? What conversations can be heard in the shops, on the street?

Natalia Rybak: Neighbors talk to each other. Unfortunately the best friends of our neighbors lost the girl. At least she has not been found yet … There were two sisters and one of them returned alive from Utoya, but the second one has not been found, so there is very gloomy mood … Everywhere in churches the prayer services take place, with many people. People come with flowers. In the squares there are a lot of flowers. Yesterday 150 thousands people came to the main square. Sasha opened the concert at that meeting dedicated to the victims.

Euroradio: Have you got more police in the city?

Natalia Rybak: “Of course, a readiness of the police is increased, especially in places where public meetings are held, in the city center. The first few days there was everything where the bomb has exploded – the troops and the weapon. Now it is more relaxed. But it feels, I do not know how to explain it… It is very difficult to explain it by words. People just come, and not because they are interested to look at this place, but people come because it’s important to be together for them. It has united people. Instead of hate people show more love.”

Euroradio: What they say in conversations about the personality of Breivik?

Natalia Rybak: Everybody agrees that the mind of this man is not healthy. He had his own goals as specifically the Nazis in Germany had in former times. He seemed to want to do everything as best in his opinion, but means to achieve this goal are just inhuman. People don’t talk particularly about this man. Newspapers write something but mostly talking about those who is missing.

Euroradio: How people relate to a punishment for Breivik? He faces 21 years. Do you have sentiments in Norwegian society to punish him by longer term of imprisonment?

Natalia Rybak: Especially among young people, of course, there are such sentiments. They can be described as “those people have no place on earth.” But in Norway there is no death penalty. There are such sentiments but they are not common.

Euroradio: Is there a feeling that the life in Norway is not so safe? Maybe you had thoughts about moving out of Norway?

Natalia Rybak: No. We did not think about changing our place of residence. Generally it can happen anywhere. I think that this wave of terror came to Scandinavia with a big delay.But in the subconscious everybody had such thought that sooner or later it would happen with us. The more, Norway is involved in numerous military operations of other countries. In the subconscious maybe it was not clear but there was a feeling that it can happen. But I do not think that someone got the thought that he should run away from here. There is no such state in humans.

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