Roz Kaveney gets into a right old strop:
In lots of ways, it is the ideal human interest story. It is the story of heroism in the face of the unthinkable. Yet we did not get to hear about it until a week later, and it is worth asking why.
Maybe it just took that long for the fuss over the killer and his possible accomplices to die down enough for the heartwarming tales to be told, Roz?
I mean, it took a fair few weeks for the newspapers to get around to personalising much of the 7/7 deaths, but even the craziest conspiracy nut didn’t think that was so odd.
And we need to remember that – in the first day or so – the number of deaths went up and down like a yo-yo..!
Two campers on the other side of the lake from the island of Utøya, where the Norwegian massacre happened, heard gunfire and screams while they were eating their supper. Without thought for their personal safety, they took their boat and crossed towards the firing. Bullets hit the boat, but they pulled the fleeing youngsters from the water and crossed back and forth repeatedly. It was not a very big boat, so it took four trips to save 40 teenagers who may otherwise have been shot, or drowned trying to escape. Without them, the massacre could have been considerably more bloody even than it was. So why have we hardly heard about them?
‘Hardly’? A search on Google News brings us 72 references, to such diverse sources as ‘Yachting and Boating World’ and the ‘Dallas Voice’.
Once one paper got the story, the others all jumped on the bandwagon. Even the ‘Mail’!
But maybe it’s cos’ they is wimmin?
In the first place, Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen are women. A lot of the press like their tales of heroism to fit standard narratives, in which men protect and women nurture.
In the second place, Dalen and Hansen are lesbians.
Mainstream culture does not like the idea of lesbians being people who would put themselves in danger to save teenagers, probably heterosexual teenagers, that they have never met.
Have you taken a poll, then, love? Have you consulted ‘mainstream culture’? I don’t remember getting asked…
It is a shame. We all need stories about people who put themselves in danger to save lives when bad things are happening; we all need to know that there are people out there who are not ideologically driven killers.
And – just perhaps – we could know that without using the completely irrelevant fact of their sexual orientation!