Her beautiful, smiling face, and rose next to it, stopped me short faster than Google could complete its translation of Verdens Gang Nett's Norwegian into English.
"Sun Rays" Bano (18) was the first Norway massacre victim to be buried. Yes, a Muslim.
She was 18-year-old Kurdish refugee from Iraq, who for nearly 15 years had found peace in idyllic Norway. It is unlikely she ever expected to die the same the kind of death she might have if she had stayed home in the Middle East.
"There is no way to peace. Peace is is the way. Peace is life." I found that on a Norwegian site. I can't find it again.
Bano's 14-year-old brother, Ali, told VG NETT: "It is incredibly difficult to describe it in words, but I've always been proud of my sister. Now that she has been given to this historical memory today, so I'm even more proud. I am very fond of her."
A fellow member of the Norwegian youth organization AUF, who survived the Utoya massacre, spoke for the group. John Valley Giskethe said, "I hope we can continue to draw inspiration from you and what you stood for. Dear Bano these flowers are for you. We are building castles in the ruins where our sisters and brothers fell."
Bano Rashid and her family had fled Iraq in 1996. She was thriving with her sister, and family, and thus earned the nickname Sun Rays. Her sister escaped the killing fields on Utoya Island. Her brother did not go to theYouth Camp.
There is no emotional kevlar to put on to fight the tears off, even if you live thousands of miles away across the Atlantic. For those of us went to the Columbine Massacre, on the journalism job, or Ethiopia, Storm King Mountain's wildfire, the destruction of a French airliner over the Sahara by Gaddafi's . If you think you will get over it you are wrong.
It takes special writers like Primo Levy and Hannah Arrendt to write about these things in a direct, simply way so that the story remains the dead and not the living.
A close friend of Bano, Diderik Aamodt Olsen, 19, died with her. He is remembered as an active writer, political activist and person who could always see several sides of an issue.
It was very much like Columbine. The only major difference was an overnight snow storm. Within a few hours it was a minature Lourdes, with toys and cds mixed among the flowers. In the the Littleton case the victims' cars were still parked in the school parking lot, and they too were covered with signs and flowers.
The Christian-Muslim ceremony, which will be attended by government officials, will have another beautiful touch. Alexander Rybak will perform. I you have not seen the European song competition winner, watch him turn a violin into something that perhaps not even Vivaldi could do