Hell on Utøya

Prabhleen Prableen Kaur in Eurozine:

I'm awake. I can't sleep anymore. I'm sitting in the living room. Feel grief, anger, happiness, God I don't know what. There are too many emotions. There are too many thoughts. I am afraid. I react to every noise. I will now write about what happened at Utøya. What my eyes saw, what I felt, what I did. The words come straight from the gut, but I will still withhold many names out of respect for my friends.

We'd had an emergency meeting in the main building after the bombings in Oslo. Then there was a separate meeting for the members from Akershus and Oslo. After the meetings, many were still in and around the main building. We took comfort in being in safety on an island. No one knew that hell was about to explode around us too.

I was in the main hallway when panic struck. I heard shots. I saw him shoot. Everybody started to run. The first thought was: “Why is the police shooting at us? What the f***?” I ran into the small assembly hall. People ran. Screamed. I was scared. I managed to get into one of the rooms towards the back of the building. We were many in there. We were all lying on the floor. We heard more shots. Got more scared. I cried. I didn't understand. I saw my best friend through the window and wondered if I should go out to get him. I didn't have time. I saw the fear in his eyes. I remained lying on the floor in the room for a few minutes. We agreed not to let anyone else in in case the killer came. We heard more shots and decided to jump out of the window. Panic broke out among us. Everybody in the room rushed to the window and tried to jump out. I was the last and thought: “I am the last one to jump out of the window. Now I will die. I'm sure, but perhaps it is ok, then I know that the others are safe.” I threw my bag out the window. Tried to climb down but lost my grip. I landed hard on the left side of my body. A boy helped me up. We ran into the woods. I looked around. “Is he here? Is he shooting at me? Can he see me?” A girl had broken her ankle. Another was badly injured. I tried to help a little before continuing down to the water. I took shelter behind some sort of cement wall. We were many. I prayed, prayed, prayed. I was hoping that God could se me. I rang mum and said it was not certain we would meet again but that I would do everything I could to make it through. I told her several times that I loved her. I heard the fear in her voice. She cried. It hurt. I sent an SMS to my dad, said I loved him. I sent an SMS to someone else I love very, very much. We kept in contact for a while. I sent an SMS to my best friend. He did not reply.