The survivor: A few months ago, Tarjei Jensen Bech was able to redo his jogging for the first time. For the first time since July 22, 2011, when a bullet from Anders Behring Breivik’s rifle hit him in the left leg. Bech was 19 years old and one of some 550 participants at the annual Norwegian Jusos summer meeting on the island of Utøya, a good 30 kilometers northwest of Oslo. Breivik murdered 69 of them this Friday afternoon, many of whom were still children and young people. He had previously detonated a car bomb in downtown Oslo, killing eight. The terrorist, a Norwegian with no criminal record and from the middle class, justified his crimes in court by saying that he wanted to protect Norway from the pro-immigration policies of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party. In a court case, Breivik was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment followed by preventive detention, the maximum sentence in the Norwegian legal system. The attack dates back ten years. Ten years during which many Norwegians, during which a whole country had to learn to live with terror and its consequences.
Tarjei Jensen Bech: Image: Illustration Tina Berning
Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Political correspondent for North Germany and Scandinavia based in Hamburg.
Tarjei Jensen Bech doesn’t think about Breivik very often anymore. At least that’s what he says. But the injured leg still hurts him every day. Football matches as in the past are out of the question, in skiing he only dares to cross-country ski, not downhill. What happened immediately after the shooting on Utøya, Bech remembers only incomplete: he fell on a slope several meters deep and temporarily lost consciousness. The next day, he was brought back to his home in northern Norway in an ambulance plane. He was hospitalized in Tromsø for nine weeks. He was operated on eight times, on his leg and face. The impact after the fall had shattered the bone in his left eye socket. You hardly see anything of that. “It could have been a lot worse,” Bech says today.
Since the attack he has been afraid of the police
Not only was his body damaged. Doctors diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Breivik had disguised himself as a policeman in Utøya, it was a typical Norwegian rainy summer day. “When I see a policeman in uniform, I sometimes get scared or start to sweat,” explains Tarjei Jensen Bech. “Sometimes it’s enough if it rains. It’s hard to control, ”he says. “It works best when I’m with friends.”
Locking the crown recently made things a little more difficult than usual. Much like the law degree that Jensen Bech started. This is his second academic attempt. The first, which began shortly after being released from hospital, dropped out after a few semesters. At the time, he wasn’t ready for it, he said.