‘Memory Wound’ memorial for the victims of mass killer Anders Behring Breivik may not be completed as a group of Norwegians sue its construction.
In the same week that Breivik was suing the Norwegian state over his prison conditions, the government said it would go ahead with the construction of the memorial.
Sixty nine participants of the Workers’ Youth League (AUF), many under the age of 18, were shot dead by far-right Breivik during a summer camp on the Norway’s island of Utoya on July 22, 2011. In 2012, a Norwegian court found him guilty for fatal explosion and terrorism.
In 2014, the Norwegian government has accepted Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg’s proposal for a memorial called “Memory Wound” for the victims of mass shooting.
Dahlberg said he wanted to "create an incurable wound in nature" to represent the brutality and permanence of the loss suffered by victims of the July 22 attacks.
Dahlberg’s dramatic proposal calls for cutting off part of Utoya and excavating a canal-like water passage through Sorbraten in the southern part of the island. Visitors will be able to enter underneath one side of the “wounded” landscape and look across the water where, on the other side, the names of those who died will be written in stone.
But, some locals and relatives of the victims oppose the memorial as they think they will be forced to remember the “wound” every single day. Some others also argue that the memorial will destroy the nature of island. 600 people against the memorial's construction will meet the state officials to stop the project as they say it is “an enormous assault on the nature that the state has approved”.
"We understand the relatives and everyone else who has been involved in July 22, we were a part of it ourselves," said Maria Irene Holtane-Berge, who heads a group of local residents.
"But we feel this is much too close. We can't live in a memorial when we are trying to move forward," she told state broadcaster NRK.
But a group of victim relatives feels not same as the ones suing the project. Lisbeth Kristine Roeyneland, head of the support group for the victims of the attacks and their relatives, told Reuters that they have been waiting for this for five years. “It is good to have a place to go to” she said.
Asked about the planned challenge in the courts, Roeyneland said: "We are many. There are thousands of us who have been affected. People have different opinions. Unfortunately, that is just the way it is."