Letter from the editor: A gruesome weekend


Click to follow
The Independent Online

What a gruesome weekend. The news from Norway was almost too awful to comprehend.

As i went to press on Friday night we were a little nervous about our front-page subhead that said “up to 30” were feared dead at a youth camp. Little did we know.

Some of you have complained about the photograph on Saturday’s front page. It is always a difficult decision in times of such horror.

On Friday evening, photos were emerging from the Oslo atrocity, not Utoya. We felt the image summed up in a single frame how stunning an event it was for a peaceful nation. And yet, she was a survivor, who was walking away from carnage. It has become the image of Oslo’s bombing in the way that Davinia Turrell, “the woman in the mask”, with her hands clutching a burns dressing to her face as she was helped away from Edgware Road, came to represent London’s 7/7. We stand by the choice.

There is so much more to emerge from Norway – see pages 4-5. But the weekend’s other big story appears more cut and dried. Amy Winehouse’s sad, if predictable, demise rightly saw her lauded as one of the great singing talents of the past decade. Inevitably, many also rushed to damn her as “just a junkie” and somehow not as worthy of our sympathy as a non-addict.

Well, in my book, how this tiny woman with a huge voice went from being so anti-drugs that if she saw anyone using, she would leave the room (page 6) to the public car crash who was booed off stage last month in Belgrade was also tragic. She was ill, and our hopes of preventing any future such descents into darkness are slim if we continue to dismiss the terrible illness that claimed her at such an early age.