Dear Colleagues and fellow members of ESTD.
By the time you receive this newsletter a lot of you may well be on holiday. I certainly will be, which is partly why this presidential report newsletter is a short one, relying on my hard working board members to update you on their current activities.
We were all shocked by events in Norway, made even more visible as Arne, chair of the ESTD website committee and Frank, our webmaster, are both from Norway. This is what they said at the time about the situation:
[Arne] For the first time in Norway a major terror attack has occurred. Seventy seven innocent people, most of them teenagers, were killed by a man who had a distorted idea that this would benefit his political interests, in what he called a fight against multiculturalism. This shows again what can happen when political ideas become more important than human lives, when aggression turns towards people because of the colour of their skin, their religion, or the land they were born, instead of who they are and what they have done. The fact that the killings were done by a Norwegian and not by Islamic terrorists, reduces racial tension. Reaction to the killings could have been more aggression, hatred and violence, which I think would have only led to more devastation. I am very glad and pleased that the reactions by the Norwegian government and the Norwegian people have been only a collective coming-together and grieving. The social bonding and togetherness after the event have been amazingly strong and I have never seen or experienced anything like it. People have in hundreds of thousands met together with roses and lights to pay respect to the innocent victims and to greive. A clear message has been sent about the kind of society we want to have, and the media coverage has also had this focus. Maybe even a tragedy of this scale might have some positive outcomes.
[Frank]’The tragedy in Oslo has destroyed some of the feeling of safety we have had in Norway since World War 2. But in response to the disaster the people of Norway have risen and stood together in their deepest grief and shown that we will not be intimidated by radical racial and political views. Rather we stand together and work towards more democracy and greater openness, like the Prime Minister has expressed. Like Arne, I believe the fear would have been stronger if it was an Islamic terrorist and not a Norwegian. I like to think that Norway is not particularly exposed to Islamic-oriented terrorism.
On the next page you find a picture of ‘the Blue stone’ in Bergen (my hometown) covered with flowers and candles in the memory cermony of the fallen.’
ESTD Committee Structures and Targets
You will notice (below) reports from our various committees outlining their organisational structure and targets, where applicable, for the year ahead. These are also on the website. Included, for the first time, is the advance notice of a ‘call for nominations’ for elections that will be taking place in November. Finally, we are able to set up a more democratic process and I encourage all of you to consider running for office.
I am delighted that the new training DVD ‘A Logical Way of Living’ is now available for sale in the UK and I hope by the time you receive this newsletter, that it will be available for purchase on the ESTD website.
I wish you all an enjoyable summer.
From ESTD Newsletter Volume 1, Number 4, September 2011