I'm currently following the aftermath and the only word I can find to describe it is mostly inspirational. I'll try to compile a list of the lessons Norway can teach other terror-stricken nations and a list over shameful events.It'll be a long post, you can skip uninteresting paragraphs if i score a critical wall-of-text hit.
I'll start with the worst.
Immediately after the blast everyone though of Islamists. After the shooting started everyone (including myself) became certain it was a coordinated Islamist attack. Homegrown terror is exceedingly rare in the Nordics and there are few acts of terror. Not until a bit of clarity was reached after 4-6 hours did it become clear that it was indeed homegrown terror. The previous attacks which may be described as acts of terror in by Norwegian xenophobes was the murder of Benjamin Hermansen in 2001 by neo-nazis.The closest in scale was the 1998 Gothenburg discothèque fire, which was assumed to be the work of far-right/neo-nazis until around 2000, when it was discovered the atrocity was the work of 4 muslim youths. Lesson: Xenophobes have clearly taken a page out of the book from Islamic terror, and the Islamic xenophobes will take a lesson from Protestant xenophobes. The assumption that it takes a cell to carry out a large scale and coordinated attack has been proven wrong.
The FB/Twitter conversation in the few hours after the attack was bad. It turned quite vicious when Muslims who felt erroneously accused showed their own xenophobia. The only good that came of it is that closeted xenophobes on every side popped their heads out and we now know who to surveil. Lesson: Follow your FB/Twitter feed closely and dump anyone who use the situation to further extremist views. Anyone seriously proposing violent solutions, such as invading another country (hint), should be marginalized and ignored.
A man belonging to AUF, the youth section of the Labor Youth which were attacked, showed up at the court house and attacked the car carrying the suspect. There was a general attitude of lynching. I hope he and others will be fined for this behavior as it is clearly unworthy and unacceptable. It is even worse than the acts of terror themselves. Lesson: Just because one person does something bad does not provide justification to do anything bad towards that person if the white flag has been showed. Further violence will neither undo the violence committed or resolve the question of guilt.
And the absolute worst: A "philosopher" (he has lost his right to carry the title) has written a piece where he thinks 21 years in prison is too short. He is willingly bending over backwards for fear, and then tarnish his reputation by thinking we should give terrorists any special treatment. Lesson: If you wish to promote fear, just be quiet at least until the dust settles. The max punishment he can get is 21 years because altering that would require giving a new law tailored for the suspect alone retroactive effect. That is unconstitutional and undemocratic to the most extreme. In fact, it is giving into the terrorist's fear mongering and slightly treasonous.
The good things that are emerging:
It looks like Norway is *finally* forced to take a national pow-wow about the background xenophobia. Usually we treat cultural differences as a big joke and just friendly competition. But for some, it's not a joke sometimes, and there are representatives from all cultures in Norway with wholly unacceptable values.
In Norway, the legal framework for what type of hate speech should be closely monitored by the police will increase. Those who write negatively about Muslims and Islam will also have to be scrutinized for black sheeps, just like Islamic forums are. Being critical of all violent religions means aligning with some deranged people. The extra monitoring is acceptable, because in some jurisdictions it is illegal to hate anything at all. I despise excuses for violence to the core of my soul, and I hate those who promulgate it against innocent civilians. I don't mind a bit out-of-place Mosques or other religious buildings as long as what is being said in there doesn't affect what is going on outside of it.
Muslims probably shouldn't insist on calling their Norwegian children Osama (of which there are 76, most probably names given before the late nineties) until the atrocities carried out by a person sharing that name is fully forgiven. Some other minor naming instructions also apply - it's probably a bad idea to use unpopular traditional Norwegian names like Vidkun (only 14 left) or Adolf.
(TL;DR section follows)
There are few peoples around the world Norwegians show any respect for. Least of all, in descending order, are the Americans, Germans, Swedes, Danes, Slavs, and French. They are all younger nation states with less shared history and have only recently come to resemble what they look like today. In comparison, Norway has only seen very few and small bloodbaths within it's 1300 year old and barely changing borders. Every foreign invasion turns into a bloodbath much costlier than expected by the invader. Ref Norwegian-Swedish wars and German invasion.
Some of the people who integrate the best are those who come from similarly old civilizations or one of the truly ancient ones. Egyptians, Persians, Indians, Chinese, and Japanese people always know a lot about Norway because we share so much history. The people we love the most are the Icelandic and around 10% of Iceland's population now live in Norway. Second comes the English. Norway has always been Anglophone. If your English is sufficient for communication, we do not expect you to speak Norwegian. We are not big fans of having our language butchered by accents, especially after the Danes did it, and Danish sounds really ugly. The English was also the people who grieved the deepest for us, because we know they admire Norway even a bit higher than their own little Island.
(As for Americans why we are not big fans of the US any longer: Why on Earth did you elect the douchebag Reagan over "Mondale-the-kind"? Why didn't you listen to the kind Norwayphile when it mattered? What's up with that? He was just the best option, from Wiki: "In 1984, Mondale won the Democratic nomination for the presidency and campaigned for a nuclear freeze, the Equal Rights Amendment and a reduction of US public debt. In the election, Mondale was defeated in a landslide by President Reagan, gaining electoral votes from only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia.")
Now we have to accept that it's cool to make fun of other countries and make fun of everyone. Equal opportunity offenders of other cultures. To paraphrase Churchill, by virtue of history, other countries and their people's should be modest, because they have a lot to be modest about. As do Norwegians after this incident. We are not proud over what has happened. It's downright shameful and we promise to make it up, and you're as free to poke fun at Norwegians as I do without being judged.
However, it's really - really - uncool to think that all cultural differences are negative. All cultures have bad aspects, and they will need to be worked against. Most cultural influences are good, and they should be enjoyed. Kebab and beer are good, muslim assault rape and russian mafia are bad.
(TL;DR section ends)
A bit of a lengthy intro. Let me present one of the greatest current Norwegians thinkers Shabana Rehman Gaarder and the new hot term "multiethnicity". All ethnicities living under a shared set of common values and ideals, with different histories, and an ethnic diversity which is celebrated and enjoyed. Her comment "Brave, brave Norway" in today's Aftenposten, the leading quality newspaper in Norway, is worthy of a read if you at all are interested in the fallout. (And yes, that is how mushy Norwegians think.)
Also, I was wrong about the most enduring picture earlier. Here it is, it perfectly illustrates what the regular Norway is about, and it has already spoken thousands of words in the form of newspaper articles written about it:
There is now also a wordmap of his "manifesto". This will be very interesting to read about: