Uncategorized | Columnist Service

NORWAY: WHAT CAN WE LEARN?

This column is available for visitors to the IPS website only for reading. Reproduction in print or electronic media is prohibited. Media interested in republishing may contact romacol@ips.org.

ALFAZ, SPAIN, Jul 26 2011 (IPS) - 22 July 2011 will be engraved in Norwegian history like 9 April 1940, the German invasion. Words pale before this enormity. The center of Oslo, where the ministries are located, resembles a war-zone more than during the Second World War, when it was hit by some bombs from the resistance and from England. Even worse was the massacre at the Labor Party youth camp on Ut”ya Island near Oslo with 68 killed and many seriously wounded.

Anders Breivik, 32, who confessed to both attacks, is blond, blue-eyed, “nice and polite” as neighbors say, “one of us”. A 1500 page manifesto details his political philosophy: he foresees a civil war in Europe –weakened by marxism and multi-culturalism– between islam and christianity. Muslims should leave or face execution. He hates journalists and social democrats for multi-culturalism.

The whole world is reaching out to the bereaved and to a country –mine– in a state of shock. Analysis is cold and intellectual, contrary to emotions of sadness and anger, yet indispensable. Understanding why this happened by no means excuses it. But exploring the causes is necessary, so they can be removed and future bloodbaths prevented.

What does 22 July remind us of? The International Herald Tribune of 23 July compared it with September 11, based on an unverified claim by Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (the Helpers of the Global Jihad) as response to Norwegian forces in Afghanistan and insults to the prophet. Norway, strong on the freedom of expression, is deficient on the freedom from insults for muslims. The choice of targets also carry a September 11 type message. The Prime Minister’s office, those dear to him, the oil ministry –reminiscent of NATO targeting Gaddafi, with rebel oil contracts as rewards? But there is no claim.

Breivik was 7 when Timothy McVeigh, a Gulf war veteran, bombed the Oklahoma City federal building on 19 April 1995, killing 168, exactly two years after the US government stormed the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, killing 76, including women and children. Breivik may have been influenced by that terrorist act.

But the massacre on the island, killing 68 face to face in cold blood for 90 minutes, differs from the above. It reminds of “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” (by David Goldhagen), fueled by anti-semitism and civil war between Aryans and Jews (Goebbels: “plutocratic in London and bolshevik in Moscow”). Breivik seems to be by anti-islamism, and like the nazis he hates marxists and social democrats. He asserted his act was “terrible but necessary”.

The massacre fits the nazi model and Western neo-fascism. But why killing labor party youth, as little left-wing and marxist as the Progress Party is right-wing? Both parties agree on the NATO Libya bombing and on buying, at enormous costs, US F35 fighter planes. Why did he not hit an immigration agency, or mosque, or a muslim meeting? His thinking does not reflect Norway’s political landscape. He is a loner, a nazi.

But, let us broaden the interpretation. At one end is the islamophobic loner with links to some groups. If he could be defined as crazy, the political impact would be removed. Norway could borrow from US 9/11 speeches about “evil”, “nothing to do with anything we have done”. But maybe “something we have not done”, like not spotting him?

At the other end is the islamist “Helper of the Global Jihad”, a pretext for bankrupt Washington to finance the “war on terror”.

And in-between is Breivik, at some stage using Libya as a justification.

Let us look forward: What to do now?

[1]The Prime Minister put it well: nobody shall frighten Norway away from its democracy. But, democracy is more than everybody sitting in some narrow ideological niche, as fundamentalist Christian, Progress Party youth, free mason. Democracy is dialogue, challenge, confrontation with others, not merely counting votes every four years. Breivik should have met more people. We all should. Parliament and people should discuss issues openly.

[2]Violence is the antithesis of dialogue. NATO had as of 18 July 5858 sorties in Libya; 535 by Norway, dropping 501 bombs. “But the targets were military!” Maybe, but if in NATO an attack on one is an attack on all then an attack from one is an attack from all–based on a dubious Security Council mandate with 5 abstentions representing half of humanity, and no Muslim veto power, which would have defeated the resolution. Maybe dialogue would have been better than depleted uranium bombing.

[3]Norway did not like that single bomb. Maybe Libya dislikes 501?

[4]Norway did not like civilians massacred. Maybe so do Afghans?

[5]Beyond that, politics is about conflicts requiring creative, constructive, concrete solutions. Schools and media should train in conflict solution, for a conflict hygiene like we have for health.

[6]Maybe leave the explanation to a competent international body?

[7]Maybe more knowledge about the history of West-Islam relations?

[8]Maybe having dialogues with “extremists”, searching if they possibly also have some legitimate goals, even if they use illegitimate means?

[9]Maybe seeing illegitimacy as something that can occur all over the political spectrum, not only far away from oneself?

[10]Maybe changing the amateurish secret police technicians close to CIA-FBI, with a left eye so sharp that it even sees the non-existing but a right eye so blind that Breivik passed undetected?

22 July 2011 was a brutal “wake-up call”. If we do not learn the lessons, it could happen again. (END/COPYRIGHT IPS)

(*) Johan Galtung, born in Norway, is Founder of TRANSCEND, a Peace, Development and Environment Network. He is author of “The Fall of the US Empire–And Then What?” (www.transcend.org/tup).

 
Republish | | Print |

Related Tags

Uncategorized | Columnist Service

NORWAY: WHAT CAN WE LEARN?

This column is available for visitors to the IPS website only for reading. Reproduction in print or electronic media is prohibited. Media interested in republishing may contact romacol@ips.org.

ALFAZ, SPAIN, Jul 26 2011 (IPS) - 22 July 2011 will be engraved in Norwegian history like 9 April 1940, the German invasion. Words pale before this enormity. The center of Oslo, where the ministries are located, resembles a war-zone more than during the Second World War, when it was hit by some bombs from the resistance and from England. Even worse was the massacre at the Labor Party youth camp on Ut”ya Island near Oslo with 68 killed and many seriously wounded.

Anders Breivik, 32, who confessed to both attacks, is blond, blue-eyed, “nice and polite” as neighbors say, “one of us”. A 1500 page manifesto details his political philosophy: he foresees a civil war in Europe –weakened by marxism and multi-culturalism– between islam and christianity. Muslims should leave or face execution. He hates journalists and social democrats for multi-culturalism.

The whole world is reaching out to the bereaved and to a country –mine– in a state of shock. Analysis is cold and intellectual, contrary to emotions of sadness and anger, yet indispensable. Understanding why this happened by no means excuses it. But exploring the causes is necessary, so they can be removed and future bloodbaths prevented.

What does 22 July remind us of? The International Herald Tribune of 23 July compared it with September 11, based on an unverified claim by Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (the Helpers of the Global Jihad) as response to Norwegian forces in Afghanistan and insults to the prophet. Norway, strong on the freedom of expression, is deficient on the freedom from insults for muslims. The choice of targets also carry a September 11 type message. The Prime Minister’s office, those dear to him, the oil ministry –reminiscent of NATO targeting Gaddafi, with rebel oil contracts as rewards? But there is no claim.

Breivik was 7 when Timothy McVeigh, a Gulf war veteran, bombed the Oklahoma City federal building on 19 April 1995, killing 168, exactly two years after the US government stormed the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, killing 76, including women and children. Breivik may have been influenced by that terrorist act.

But the massacre on the island, killing 68 face to face in cold blood for 90 minutes, differs from the above. It reminds of “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” (by David Goldhagen), fueled by anti-semitism and civil war between Aryans and Jews (Goebbels: “plutocratic in London and bolshevik in Moscow”). Breivik seems to be by anti-islamism, and like the nazis he hates marxists and social democrats. He asserted his act was “terrible but necessary”.

The massacre fits the nazi model and Western neo-fascism. But why killing labor party youth, as little left-wing and marxist as the Progress Party is right-wing? Both parties agree on the NATO Libya bombing and on buying, at enormous costs, US F35 fighter planes. Why did he not hit an immigration agency, or mosque, or a muslim meeting? His thinking does not reflect Norway’s political landscape. He is a loner, a nazi.

But, let us broaden the interpretation. At one end is the islamophobic loner with links to some groups. If he could be defined as crazy, the political impact would be removed. Norway could borrow from US 9/11 speeches about “evil”, “nothing to do with anything we have done”. But maybe “something we have not done”, like not spotting him?

At the other end is the islamist “Helper of the Global Jihad”, a pretext for bankrupt Washington to finance the “war on terror”.

And in-between is Breivik, at some stage using Libya as a justification.

Let us look forward: What to do now?

[1]The Prime Minister put it well: nobody shall frighten Norway away from its democracy. But, democracy is more than everybody sitting in some narrow ideological niche, as fundamentalist Christian, Progress Party youth, free mason. Democracy is dialogue, challenge, confrontation with others, not merely counting votes every four years. Breivik should have met more people. We all should. Parliament and people should discuss issues openly.

[2]Violence is the antithesis of dialogue. NATO had as of 18 July 5858 sorties in Libya; 535 by Norway, dropping 501 bombs. “But the targets were military!” Maybe, but if in NATO an attack on one is an attack on all then an attack from one is an attack from all–based on a dubious Security Council mandate with 5 abstentions representing half of humanity, and no Muslim veto power, which would have defeated the resolution. Maybe dialogue would have been better than depleted uranium bombing.

[3]Norway did not like that single bomb. Maybe Libya dislikes 501?

[4]Norway did not like civilians massacred. Maybe so do Afghans?

[5]Beyond that, politics is about conflicts requiring creative, constructive, concrete solutions. Schools and media should train in conflict solution, for a conflict hygiene like we have for health.

[6]Maybe leave the explanation to a competent international body?

[7]Maybe more knowledge about the history of West-Islam relations?

[8]Maybe having dialogues with “extremists”, searching if they possibly also have some legitimate goals, even if they use illegitimate means?

[9]Maybe seeing illegitimacy as something that can occur all over the political spectrum, not only far away from oneself?

[10]Maybe changing the amateurish secret police technicians close to CIA-FBI, with a left eye so sharp that it even sees the non-existing but a right eye so blind that Breivik passed undetected?

22 July 2011 was a brutal “wake-up call”. If we do not learn the lessons, it could happen again. (END/COPYRIGHT IPS)

(*) Johan Galtung, born in Norway, is Founder of TRANSCEND, a Peace, Development and Environment Network. He is author of “The Fall of the US Empire–And Then What?” (www.transcend.org/tup).

 
Republish | | Print |

Related Tags

X
NEXT STOP SDGS
  • Tracking global progress towards a sustainable world

Weekly Newsletter