Breivik slam on 'Rainbow' song an insult too far for Norwegians

Anders Behring Breivik said in testimony last week that a popular Norwegian song promoting tolerance is a Marxist brainwashing tool, but 40,000 Norwegians turned out today to reject that.

Kyrre Lien/NTB Scanpix/AP
Some 40,000 people stand in drizzling rain in Youngstorget square, Oslo, Norway April 26 to participate in the singing of "Barn av Regnbuen" (Children of the Rainbow). The song which was a hit of Norwegian folk singer Lillebjoern Nilsen several decades ago, has become a signature tune for the victims of the July 22, 2011 bombing and shooting massacre that killed 77 people.

Forty thousand Norwegians marched and sang in Oslo today in an impromptu protest against mass killer Anders Behring Breivik for calling the popular children's song “Children of the Rainbow” a Marxist song used to brainwash youth.

The man behind last summer’s twin terror attacks said in court testimony last week that the Norwegian song by Lillebjørn Nilsen, based on US folksinger Pete Seeger’s original version “My Rainbow Race” in 1967, was an example of how Norwegian schools function as an “indoctrination camp” for “cultural Marxism and multiculturalism.”

Mr. Breivik, a self-described militant nationalist, blames his bombing of government buildings in Oslo and shooting rampage at Utøya island on the ruling Labor party for promoting multiculturalism with its lenient immigration policies and allowing mass immigration to undermine Norwegian society.

“The curriculum is stripped of knowledge relating to the codes of honor that have been so important for Europe for thousands of years,” Breivik told his defense attorney Vibeke Hein Baera on April 20. “They put up these songs and propaganda films to get students to despise their forefathers,” he added, referring to the US television series Roots depicting the history of African-American slaves. 

Breivik’s comments prompted Norwegians Christine Bar and Lill Hjønnevåg to organize via Facebook a gathering at Youngstorget, the square in front of the Labor party headquarters. It is adjacent to Breivik's bombing target and just blocks from Oslo District Court, where Breivik is currently on trial for killing 77 people total in the two July 2011 attacks. 

'How the world SHOULD be'

“Let us stand together,” the two initiators wrote on the event’s Facebook page, which listed more than a dozen parallel events around the country. “We stand together as a people, fellow human beings. Let us sing because we really MEAN that this song describes how the world SHOULD be.” 

The text in the Norwegian version of the song begins with “A sky full of stars, blue ocean far as you see, an earth where flowers grow. Can you wish for more? Together we shall live, every sister, every brother. Small children of the rainbow, and a fertile soil.”

“It is we who win,” said Nilsen, after singing with his ukelele in both Norwegian and English for rain-drenched supporters, which included five cultural ministers from Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands.

Trond Henry Blattman, leader of the national July 22 support group and father to one of the 69 killed at Utøya, and Eskil Pedersen, leader of the Labor Party youth organization AUF, appealed to the crowd to remain tolerant in the wake of last summer's atrocities.  

'Never again'

“Nine months ago was Norway’s darkest day after the second World War,” said Blattman. “That you come here today is saying ‘never again'."

“We do this because we have faith in a totally different Norway than that portrayed by the perpetrator,” he added. “We stand up for a world that our irreplaceable stood for: an open, warm, inclusive, and democratic Norway." 

The sea of supporters, which included many schoolchildren, later marched several blocks to the Oslo District Court to lay roses there, similar to the way hundreds of thousands of Norwegians last year decorated the streets in front of Oslo Cathedral with an inches-deep carpet of the flowers.

Breivik commented in court earlier this week that he learned about the July 25 Rose March after the fact and called it a “typical Norwegian reaction.” Norwegian singer Maria Solheim sang "Children of the Rainbow" at the original Rose March.

“It’s not allowed to be angry and furious [in Norway],” Breivik told Mette Yvonne Larsen, legal counsel for the victims, in court on April 23, calling the Norwegian response "illogical." "There aren’t too many countries that would have reacted like that," he said.

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