Norway, survivors still bear scars of Breivik shootings

Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:37am EDT
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By Gwladys Fouche

KONGSBERG Norway (Reuters) - Laila Gustavsen sometimes wonders whether meeting Anders Behring Breivik face-to-face would help her to understand.

"I would ask him: 'What made you (do it)?'," she said of the man who shot her daughter twice in the back on July 22, 2011.

"Because at every opportunity he has explained ... the political reasons why he did what he did. What he has not talked about is what made him hold these opinions. Where did it go wrong?"

Then she thinks of all the reasons why it would not be worth it to try.

"He does not deserve that I spend my time on him ... And I don't think you could get an answer."

The fantasy of meeting her daughter's attacker is new for the 40-year-old. Two years ago, when Reuters News followed her over several months to document her life after the assaults, Gustavsen spared no thought for Breivik - she was focused on her daughter's recovery. Marte Oedegaarden, 20, spent several months in hospital.

Memories of "July 22", as the attacks in central Oslo and at a youth camp on Utoeya island are commonly known, remain raw for relatives of the victims and the hundreds of survivors. (

For Gustavsen, a former lawmaker now working as a project manager at a polytechnic university, the reality of the assault is no longer so difficult to process.   Continued...

Laila Gustavsen, a former lawmaker whose daughter Marte Oedegaarden was a survivor of the July 22, 2011 Utoeya island massacre, poses for a photo at her home in Kongsberg July 10, 2014.   REUTERS/Gwladys Fouche