Norway 7/22. What? And Then What?
EDITORIAL, 25 Jul 2011
#174 | Johan Galtung, 25 Jul 2011 - TRANSCEND Media Service
22 July 2011 will be engraved in Norwegian history like 9 April 1940, the German invasion. Words pale faced with this enormity. The ministerial area in the center of Oslo looks more like a war-zone than during the Second World War, with some bombing from the resistance and from England. And then the massacre of Labor Party youth at Utöya near Oslo. 8+68=76 killed, many badly wounded.
And then 32 year-old Anders Breivik, blond, blue-eyed, “nice and polite” as neighbors say, confessing–to be verified–to both. A 1,500-page manifesto details his political philosophy: He sees a civil war in Europe–weakened by marxism and multi-culturalism– between islam and christianity. Muslims: leave or face execution. He hates journalists and social democrats for multi-culturalism. And this mass murderer is one of us. He is the enemy within.
In this moment hearts from all over the world reach 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. And yet it has to be done. Understanding is indispensable; so are reflections on what we can learn. All events have causes. Find them, remove them, change them, if the events are unacceptable.
So, 7/22 reminds us of what? IHT evokes 9/11 this weekend, with the 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. The forces have license to kill (Med mandat til å drepe, Oslo: Kagge, 2010), and Norway, strong on the freedom of expression, is deficient on the freedom from insults for muslims.
The choice of targets also carry a 9/11 type message. The Prime Minister’s office, those dear to him, the oil ministry–does that not remind us of NATO targeting Gaddafi, his compound, with rebel oil contracts as rewards? It does. But there is no claim.
Enters 4/19, 19 April 1995, Timothy McVeigh and helpers also used a fertilizer based bomb, on the Oklahoma City federal building. 168 killed. He hated federal US–trained militarily by them–for the Waco massacre, he claimed. A similarity–Anders Breivik was 7 at the time and may have been inspired also by this US violence.
But the massacre on the island differs from all the above. Up comes Hitler’s Willing Executioners (by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen), as fueled by anti-semitism and civil war between Aryans and Jews (Goebbels: “plutocratic in London and bolshevik in Moscow”), as Breivik seems to be by anti-islamism and his civil war. And like the nazis he hates marxists, social democrats and any mixing. He sees his act as “terrible but necessary”. Killing 84 face to face in cold blood for 90 minutes (he had a weapons license) beats even most nazi horrors.
The massacre fits the nazi model as latter-day Western neo-fascism. But why killing labor party youth, as little left wing and marxist as the Progress Party is right wing? The two parties agree both on the NATO Libya bombing and on buying, at enormous costs, US F35 planes. Why did he not hit an immigration agency, mosques, muslim meetings? His thinking neither reflects nor is reflected by Norway’s political landscape. In Norway a loner, a nazi.
But, let us not narrow the interpretation horizon to one point.
On one end is the islamophobic loner with links to some groups. If he could be defined as crazy, the political brunt is removed. He becomes a causa sui, his own cause. Norway could lift 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?
On the other end is the islamist Helper of the Global Jihad a bankrupt Washington could use to get money for “war against terror”.
And in-between is Breivik, at some stage using Libya as a cover, and they at some stage him as a bomber? A tacit cooperation?
Let us straighten the back, looking forward: And then, what?
 The PM 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 niche settlers every four years. Breivik should have met more people. We all should. Parliament and people should discuss all such issues openly.
 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 yes, 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 shaky UNSC mandate with 5 abstentions and no Muslim veto power. Maybe dialogue would have been better than depleted uranium bombing?
 Norway did not like that single bomb. Maybe Libya dislikes 501?
 Norway did not like civilians massacred. Maybe so do Afghans?
 Beyond that, politics is about conflicts crying for creative, constructive, concrete solutions. Schools and media should train in conflict solution, for a conflict hygiene like we have for health.
 Maybe better leave the 7/22 explanation to a competent UN body?  Maybe more knowledge about the history of West-Islam relations?
 Maybe having dialogues with “extremists” before labeling them, searching for their, possibly, legitimate goals?
 Maybe seeing illegitimacy as something that can occur all over the political spectrum, not only far away from oneself?
 Maybe changing the amateurish secret police PST, close to CIA-FBI, with a left eye so sharp that it even sees the non-existing but so right eye blind that Breivik passed undetected and unprevented?
There is that excellent US expression, a “wake-up call”. A brutal one, pointing beyond monitoring fertilizers and gun licenses.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Jul 2011.
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