Terror in Norway

Norwegian island of Utøya

The bombing and mass murder in Oslo and Utøya, Norway, are both a shock and a surpise. How could the terrorist be so inhuman? And why Norway, usually considered one of the most sensible countries in the world?

Maybe we will get some answers. The suspect seems to want a platform and surrendered peacefully. His trial will be followed around the world.

But this act of terror brought two major thoughts to me;

1: Children as victims of terror

Schoolchildren killed during Beslam school seizure. Photo by Sergey Ponomarev, AP

I was particularly shocked during the 2004 Beslam school hostage situation in Russia about the fact that innocent children, many attending school for their first time, were taken as hostages. And many of them became victims. Terrorism raises the horror of the indiscriminate killing of people at random. But to target children is particularly inhuman.

The worst thing for a parent is to attend the funeral of their child. Usually such deaths are unexpected, and always tragic. Whereas you can celebrate the life of a grandparent who died of old age (and hopefully with dignity) – but with your child you can only mourn the loss of a life that might have been. This loss is not only tragic for the child, and her loved ones – particularly parents and siblings. It is also tragic for society which loses all the potential benefits and pleasure that could have resulted from that life.

The murder of about 90 young people who were just starting out on such a life is a tragedy for all of Norway. And one can only imagine the long-term psychological effects the murders have created in the minds of the survivors.

2: Terrorism is domestic

The automatic first reaction of the media was to see this as an imported act of terror. In fact, some sections of the media seem to have reduced their coverage when it became obvious the terrorist was local, white and probably Christian.

But most terrorism is domestic. It’s easy to immediately think of the attacks on New York’s Twin Towers in 2001 when terrorism comes to mind. But most acts of terror are committed by terrorists in their own country, against their own people. Very often against people of the same religion. Most acts of terror occur in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Iraq.

Even in the case of European bombings, like Madrid and London, it’s easy to label them as Islamist and therefore foreign. Despite the fact that the bombers may have been local citizens with a mentality deformed by their local situations as well as their own or their parents origins.

So while the US had the Twin Towers, it also had the Oklahoma bombing and other local acts of terrorism.

Bush’s “War on terror” seems particularly perverted. As does NZ Prime Minister John Key’s assertion that we were doing our bit against terrorism by participating in that war.  Why should one think invading a country around the other side of the world is going to prevent terror? It does nothing to target people like the Oklahoma bomber, or the social defects and ideologies which produced him.

Norway’s involvement in Afghanistan has done nothing to overcome the ills of the local society which have produced people like this current terrorist.

Ernie Abbott - victim of Wellington Trades Hall bombing

Norway also shows us that even a country like New Zealand is not immune to terrorism. Even here, though, when we think of local terrorism we think of the 1985 Rainbow Warrior bombing by French agents. But we should also remember the bombing of the Wellington Trade’s Hall in 1984 which caused the death of Ernie Abbott (see Trades Hall bombing remains unsolved, 24 years on). This was most likely caused by a domestic terrorist with an ideology and motivation fueled by class hatred and the political rhetoric of the time.

The media is starting to release information on the person arrested for these acts of terrorism in Norway. The trial should produce a wealth of more reliable information. But so far it seems to me that the motives and ideology of the Norwegian terrorist are probably similar to those of the (still not caught) local terrorist responsible for Ernie Abbott’s death in 1984.

I think there is a lesson here.We should not see terrorism as a foreign problem, or an imported on. If it can happen in Norway it can happen anywhere. It can happen here.

We won’t solve that problem by invading foreign countries. We need to deal with the real causes of terrorism locally. By coming to grips with the factors responsible for fueling the ideologies motivating and promoting extremism and hatred in our own countries.

See also:
The tragedy on Utøya – an attempt to understand
What did the Oslo killer want?
Christian Extremist Charged in Norway
Random thoughts on the Norwegian tragedy
A glimpse into the deranged mind of a mass murderer
Oslo Terrorist Anders Behring Breivik Manifesto

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22 responses to “Terror in Norway

  1. Judging by what we know of the perpetrator and his writings and activities so far, he is SEVERELY mentally ill. That doesn’t excuse his actions, but this isn’t some vast conspiracy. It’s the actions of a single person who is completely out of his mind.

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  2. Hlurr – who the hell said it was a “vast conspiracy”?

    However, from what we know so far his ideology is not necessarily uncommon. Extreme right wing, anti-“marxist”, anti-“feminist”, etc. There may be many people with that ideology and who promote that ideology. Those may not commit acts of terrorism themselves but they still fuel the motivation and hatred which drive terrorism.

    Having said that – at least this time the perpetrator is captured. No doubt psychologists will determined his state of mental health.

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  3. This article on Russia Today provides some insight into this dreadful tragedy

    http://rt.com/news/norway-attack-multiculturalism/

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  4. Andy, I think that is only one aspect of the problem. This guy’s manifesto lists a number of complaints and aims. His tirade against “Marxism,” “feminism” and a desire to return to patriarchy and the dominance of the Catholic Church are not too uncommon.

    I suspect this is why local Christian conservatives are so silent on the tragedy. He has just taken some of their ideas to a logical conclusion.

    I think the presence of such extreme ideas is what makes the problem of multiculturalism such a difficult one. Any intelligent questioning of naive multiculturalism gets taken as support for conservatism.

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  5. Does he mention the Catholic Church? I didn’t see that.
    Nor did I see any references to feminism. Mind you, I really can’t be bothered wading through the thousands of words in this guys “manifesto”.

    The real problem, as I see it, is that this is an issue that has been simmering away for ages, and as such cannot be considered an outside act.

    Tragically, we may see more of these kind of actions.

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  6. Yes Andy – in a big way. Just search for the words Catholic, pope, feminism, Marxism, political correctness. Worth doing as people with their own agenda will pull out what they want to fool you.

    Conservative hatred has been simmering for ages – hence my reference to Ernie Abbott here.

    And my point is that these are internal things. One is not going to solve the problem of terrorism by invading other countries. We have to deal with the problems of ideological hatred in our own countries.

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  7. Yes I agree with your point about invading other countries.
    This is definitely a domestic issue, that is deeply connected with the multi-cultural issues within Europe (specifically Muslim immigration).

    The RT article indicates that maybe 50% of Norwegians empathise with Breivik’s views on multiculturalism. That is not to say that they all become killers, but that this is not a fringe neo-nazi nutter.

    This is the scary thing.

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  8. Well he is obviously not mainstream – I don’t think you can apply those stats to explain his ideas which include assassination of many Europeans. Murdering the labour party kids was completely consistent with his manifesto.

    He is definitely fringe – as for a nutter – well in the way that Hitler and his mates were nutters.

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  9. Actually, Andy, this guy seems to have similar ideas to your mate Ian Wishart. Parts of his manifesto read like Wisharts anti-climate science book. He is also a fan of mad Monckton.

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  10. Mind you, I really can’t be bothered wading through the thousands of words in this guys “manifesto”.

    Oh but you should. You would find yourself nodding in agreement with some of his loopy conspiracy mongering about Reds under the Bed and how they’ve taken over all of Europe but nobody but him seems to have noticed.
    It’s right up your conspiracy cul-de-sac.
    Remember this wet fart of stupid from you?

    Yes, you got it! Hard left marxist driven statist IPCC
    (…)
    As for “hard left”, well you only need to look a the EU and see how it is destroying the UK economy through its marxist totalitarian views

    You echo him to a “T”. Go ahead and watch his 12min video. I doubt you will find much objectionable.
    There’s also this one from you:
    So, you are OK with the destruction of western culture at the expense of your myopic ideology?
    It’s uncanny but he really does have your number. He mentions this in the video too. Even has some nice illustrations to go along with it to make the point absolutely clear.
    Andy Scrace meet the nutjob from Norway. Nutjob from Norway, meet Andy Scrace.
    I hate conspiracy theories.

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  11. Typo.
    That’s Andy Scrase not “Andy Scrace”.
    (sigh)

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  12. I was trying to offer some insight into this tragedy. I have lived some of my life in Norway and have some knowledge of the local culture.

    Needless to say, I abhor this act of terrorism, especially the slaughter of teenagers.
    My main point is that the “multi-cultural” issue has provided the catalyst for this act. This is in no way offering any sympathy to the murderer, but it is an issue that is simmering across Europe, especially as people have little say in their political future, with parties that have consistently moved to a common view. This is in particularly true for EU countries, where social policies are largely set by EU officialdom.

    Interestingly, this issue came up on Radio NZ afternoons with Jim Mora,(apropos to the Norway massacre) where he cited Merkel, Sarkozy, and Cameron, as all stating that multiculturalism had failed in Europe.

    If you wish to use this as a platform for personal abuse, then naturally I understand it.

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  13. If you wish to use this as a platform for personal abuse, then naturally I understand it.

    I wish you to understand that your conspiracy theories are identical to the nutjob.
    Identical.
    There is no practical difference.
    He sees Reds under the Bed. You see Reds under the Bed.
    He sees myopic ideology destroying “Western Culture”. You see myopic ideology destroying “Western Culture”.
    Normal people don’t talk like that.
    It’s conspiracy theory crap.
    Here are your own words again. You’ll find them spelled out in his video.

    “Yes, you got it! Hard left marxist driven statist IPCC
    (…)
    As for “hard left”, well you only need to look a the EU and see how it is destroying the UK economy through its marxist totalitarian views
    (…)
    So, you are OK with the destruction of western culture at the expense of your myopic ideology?

    Snap!
    He’s a nutjob. What’s your excuse?

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  14. Andy – it is perverted to say “ the “multi-cultural” issue has provided the catalyst for this act.” After all you quote politicians who have declared multiculturalism a failure – yet they have not felt the need to assisinate fellow countrymen they designate as Class A, B and C traitors. or seriously propose they be deported to islamic cultures!

    Let me ddeclare that I also think naive “multi-culturalism” has demostrably failed. That does not mean that the right wing rhetoric of this guy or Ian Wishart appeals to me. It doesn’t. And my attitudes towards the current cultural problems in Europe centainly cannot be used as a justification (or catalyst) for his terrorism.

    There is plenty that can be discssed about why naive “multi-culturalism” has failed, and great opportunities to advance pluraist policies which enable a true multi-culturalism. But that is not achieved by advancing or supporti8ng hatred and terror.

    So Andy, I invite you to make some positive critquies of the way Europe deals with immigration and the problems of religion.

    But please stop making excuse for terror by claiming multi-culturalism as a catalyst. After all this guy adentifies the enemy as “cultural Marxism/multiculturalism.” He is not attacking immigrants but Norwegians and other Europeans. He can’t be expalined away as a racist – or even a fundamentalist Chrisitian. It is his hatred for progressives and liberals, for those who support pluralism and gender and racial equality, for those who support scientific understanding of climate, etc., which comes through in his document. His diatrabe is not really different to lots you can read at conservative, Chrsitian conservative, and climate change denier web sites. He advances the same One World conspiracy explanation of climate change science that Wishart does.

    Might I suggest that it is the hatred peddled by these conservatives which provide the catalyst for this sort of terrorism.

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  15. Richard Christie

    More from the nutjob.

    Appears he was a fanboy of Dalingpole, Prison planet, Fox News, Monckton, Beck, Inhof, McIntyre, Climategate ….

    Although Breveik is ultimately responsible for his own actions I think that the preceding organisations and individuals ought to take a hard look at themselves. The tone of political discourse, especially from the right wing in the US has been disturbing for well over a decade. I wonder how much can also be attributed right back to how Murdoch’s News Corp. has been operating, especially Fox.

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  16. Richard Christie

    Delingpole and Beck on Fox

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  17. Ultimately, by necessity, all global conspiracies follow the same general patterns. Justify one and you end up feeding another. It creates an environment that is disconnected with reality. In that disconnected reality, the loosely-tuned find a happy home. These people really do see Kommies where the rest of us only see the reality-based world with real, normal scientists doing real scientific work.
    In the 21st century , over two decades after the miserable collapse of the Soviet Union, and somehow “The Kommies” have taken over Europe and every single scientific community on the planet.
    Yeah, that makes complete sense.
    Not.
    I bet there’s not a single website that the Norway nutjob gives in his manifesto as source material on AGW that Andy Scrase disapproves of. BishopsHill, Steve McKintyre, etc. The usual suspects of the climate deniers. Who knows? Maybe Andy and Anders had a couple of friendly chats online about the Kommies and multiculturalism and the AGW Marxist conspiracy?
    Batshit krazy people. There’s no other way to describe it.

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”- Voltaire

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  18. Richard Christie

    Woah, this is a doozey, Delingpole and Jones on Prisonplanet:

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  19. The Rainbow Warrior and Trade Hall links need to be fixed.

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  20. Thanks Lance – just one letter missing. Now fixed

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