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'We have a responsibility to go back to Utøya'

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'We have a responsibility to go back to Utøya'
'Square', a new building on Utøya which will hold a kitchen, dining room and meeting rooms. Photo: Jørgen W. Frydnes/AUF
09:28 CEST+02:00
The leader of the Norwegian Labour Party's youth league (AUF) has spoken of the group's "responsibility" to return to Utøya, the site of the brutal gun massacre perpetrated in 2011 by mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.
"We need to do this. We have a responsibility to continue the history of Utøya, not just as a dark history, but also as a bright history,” Mani Hussaini, the AUF's new chairman told Norwegian broadcaster TV2.
 
The AUF's decision to return to the island this year for their annual summer camp for the first time in four years has been controversial, with some survivors of Breivik's attack arguing that the wounds are still too raw. 
 
“Four years is too little time for many. The rhetoric about taking Utøya back has become to literal. I didn't think I would react so strongly, but I have,” 21-year-old Viljar Hanssen,  who survived being shot in the head by the killer, told broadcaster NRK.
 
Since Breivik's attack, the AUF's buildings on on island have been changed significantly, a development opposed by many survivors. 
 
The café building, where 13 people were killed has been turned into a place where people can learn more about the attack, with 69 wooden pillars holding up the roof to symbolise those who perished. 
 
“The building is to be used to teach by coming generations about what happened here, what the ideals were during the attack, and how we as a society should strive for this to never happen again,”  Hussaini
said. 
 
A memorial site has also been created.
 
“It's a place to come alone or with others. The memorial is made up of tree trunks in a circle, and a ring of steel with the names and ages of those who died on 22 July." 
 
Three other new buildings, for the debates, a new café, and other activities, have also been constructed in place of those that were there in 2011.
 
This year's summer camp starts on August 7 and will have international solidarity as a theme.
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