Every single time I see Birgitte’s name printed in a newspaper or hearher name mentioned in court it is as if a claw grips my heart.
“…back in theleft shoulder and in the hollow of the right knee.”
The sentenceis taken from the pathologist’s description of the injuries she suffered. Thewords appear in the charge that was brought early inMarch. It was the first time I learned about the details of the wickedness on Utøya.
And I stoppedat Birgitte from Nøtterøy. She only reached 15.
She didnot die from a shot to the head like so many others. Birgitte was shot twice, inthe knee and in the shoulder, and left alone at the campsite to die. “… died ofthat and/or bleeding ”
The samepathologists write, in the last sentence about Birgitte in the charge. It iscompletely impossible to relate to the words. They provide no answers, just newquestions, and they hurt so endlessly. Death did not occur immediately. She wasleft lying on her own while her friends were executed around her. She heard theshots and she heard the screams.
All alone,with her own fight. For her life.
The many unanswered questions are too much for the relatives, who havebeen longing for answers for months. How did she die? How long did it take? Howmuch pain did she suffer before it was over?
No answer. Justhints.
“Perhaps a fewminutes before death occurred,” a pathologist said in court a couple of weeksago.
It wasn’t justwrong. It was terribly wrong.
Because a newbit of the truth emerged on Monday, without any warning, served by a girl inthe witness box, Renate Tårnes. She said that as late as at 2000 a policemanarrived, carrying Birgitte. The policeman put her in Renate’s arms with amessage that she probably wouldn’t survive, but that Renate should try to giveher first aid.
I think theclaw round the heart affected us all.
It really isn’t simple to accept the truth about the girl who was shottwice and who lay alone with her pain and fear of death. The actual times andevents tell us so:
Birgitte wasshot at the campsite at approx. 1725. The accusedwas arrested at approx. 1833. Birgitte wasstill alive at 2000. She died alittle less than a quarter of an hour later, during the evacuation from theisland.
The inflatedlungs were not caused by her drowning, as the pathologists had initiallyconcluded. She hadn’t fought for her life for just a few minutes either, asthey later hinted in court.
Birgitte wasin pain for three hours while she was waiting for help.
But help neverarrived.
Not before itwas too late.
It is still not too late for the truth to emerge, the whole andcomplete truth, about how all the services responded on the day we will neverforget. Only then can we learn something from this. Only the truth can help usto move on.
Only one manis responsible for Birgitte’s death, but it is our shared responsibility toensure that all the questions are answered.
We owe it to Birgitte.