Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, August 2011
The Oslo Massacre:
The Political Motivation behind the Ideology of Hate
By Joanne Tucker
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, August 1, 2011
“No one will bomb us to silence. No one will ever scare us away from being Norway. ” Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
Jens Stoltenberg’s office
“crazy xxxx. dude was very capable. buying that much fertilizer, having those 3 weapons, and having his set of beliefs all combined to make it happen. but why target the youth camp, why not run riot in the city?”
Why indeed? Breivik detonated a bomb in the city centre creating a very powerful anti-government message of terror, killing indiscriminately. Why then drive to an island to gun down scores of youth gathering to discuss left-leaning political policies? Including the policy captured in a news agency photo the day before the killings -- that Norway should recognize a Palestinian state and boycott Israel.
There are many possible explanations as to Anders Breivik’s motives, more of which are coming to light each day.
Maybe he wanted to create his own movie scene massacre, so ubiquitous in today’s action films.
He apparently hates multicultural non-whites and spent nine years and more than $500,000 caching an arsenal of weapons at an isolated farm. He was a body-builder on steroids and wrote three hours before the bombing, “It’s all or nothing.”
There are many possible reasons. None of which explain why he would make the very deliberate effort to kill Norwegian youth gathering at a Norwegian Labour summer camp rather than immigrants or politicians or Muslims or outsiders. Blonde blue-eyed Breivik, dressed as a policeman, killed fair-skinned mainly blonde teenage Christians, using the most destructive bullets available.
Was he trying to kill democracy? Those who did not belong to his social political ideology? Because ONLY in a Norwegian democracy would he still be alive to speak freely through his lawyer right now.
Can anyone even begin to imagine U.S. (or German or British or French for that matter) Special Forces capturing the armed killer, surrounded by the bodies of his victims, without harming a hair on his head, and taking him into custody just so that he could explain his version of events fully and frankly?
Had he been part of a master terror plot, fed by his own ego and justifications for programmed, Manchurian Candidate-style murder, we can only guess that his handlers might have thought, “No problem; he’ll be gunned down on Utoya and the world’s media will spout whatever information is streamed to them.”
The world’s laziest media did not disappoint. This is exactly what happened on the night of the massacre. Western field journalists, news editors, experts, analysts, reporters, news anchors, and commentators all started broadcasting the usual mantra of jihad. Suddenly, like an expected forest fire, 90% of western commentators were saying it’s the one-size-fits-all Al‑Qaeda.
The only journalists, eyewitnesses, police officers, security officials, government officials, and experts who did not accuse any religion or group or even single person, in the immediate aftermath of the bombing and massacre – were the victims of the attacks themselves – the Norwegians.
The Norwegians did not jump to conclusions. They did not even call the suspect, caught in the act, an ‘extremist’ or a ‘terrorist.’ They victimized no religion and no person, most of all they did not victimize themselves. The language was factual, logical, unhysterical, cool, descriptive. It was surreal to watch and hear, used as we are to modern media fanning assumptions and hatred after any attack, let alone an attack on this scale.
Breivik’s targets were overwhelmingly political, which is strange, considering he is apparently a military and ideological extremist. Online bloggers sympathizing with Breivik’s actions justified his ideological extremism, disconnected from religion, on purely subjective ideological grounds. The following are just a few examples from the U.S.
The little fish grow up to be big fish. Just look at the 6-9 yr old Palestinian bombers and grenade fraggers like in Viet Nam.
I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH KILLING BAD YOUTHS BEFORE THEY BECOME KILLER ADULTS.
THAT TYPE OF ACTION WOULD ALSO STOP THE GANGS IN AMERICA!
This is fascinating, I want to hear more back-story. Is this a ‘V’ style act against the leftist bullshit capitulation to the islamoxxxxx? Not justified, but certainly instructive. [Referring to the movie ‘V for Vendetta’. ]
Why are the Israel-firsters acting so happy?
As the old phrase goes....”sounds like he got the right people.”
Now I don’t feel so bad for having similar thoughts.
Every year, Norway tops the UN list as the best place to live in the world. Norwegians know the value of their freedom of political speech and the peoples’ self-determination. They also collectively realize that those are the primary targets of this attack.
In his televised speech following the mass murders, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg made clear reference to this fact and those who try to eliminate Norway’s freedom to choose its rare, for-and-by-the-people political system and world class democracy, when he said: “I have a message to the one who attacked us and those who were behind this, No one will bomb us to silence, no one will shoot us to silence. No one will ever scare us away from being Norway.”
This is exactly what a gunman carrying out mass destruction tries to destroy or change through acts of terror. “You’re either with us or you die” is the reasoning. Before opening fire on the teenagers gathered around him, believing he was a trusted policeman, he told them “You all must die.”
The targets were symbols of hope – the free and democratic voice of Norway’s liberal youth, the government’s work space, and the center of the most democratic and desirable country to live in on earth. So the question arises, who would want to change or distort that?
Maybe a large number of individuals peacefully disagree with their own government, but who would undermine Norwegian freedom of speech and political will?
In purely political terms, the country that most opposes Norway’s political democratic direction is not Afghanistan, but Israel. Israel and Norway have been parting political ways for some time, resulting in a 2011 crash.
This is not to imply that anyone but Mr. Breivik was responsible for his self-confessed killing spree, but it is to throw important light on the bigger political picture that on Friday, July 22, one man was not trying to murder non-Norwegian Muslims, but rather his own fellow citizens en masse and shake the Prime Minister’s legitimacy of power. The targets were Norway’s sense of security, the Norwegians’ peaceful lifestyle, the Labour party, and the government.
Why is one of the world’s few true democracies being humiliated and terrorized in this extreme way? Sewing fear and hatred in order to change the very nature of Norway’s democracy was the goal, so asking relevant questions about key alliances is logical.
Nothing in the world’s foreign policies today is more key or relevant than the Middle East. When Norway’s Labour Party sponsored the Oslo Accords signed between the Palestinian and Israeli leaders in September 1993, they envisioned an end to the long-running Arab-Israeli conflict through the transformation of Israel from a Jewish state into a genuine democracy for all its citizens, which is what many young Israelis also want. What Norway’s Labour Party did not envision or support, then or now, were the ensuing 18 years of nonstop bloodshed and wars that lead back to square one.
Public and political disillusionment with Israel’s political and military policies has been growing in the city and country where the event promising a new era of Israeli-Arab peace was televised 18 years ago. This disappointment culminated in a series of relationship rifts.
In June 2011, Israeli troops shot dead a number of demonstrators gathered at the barbed wire separation at Majdal Shams overlooking the Syrian border occupied by Israel since 1967. Norway’s foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Store, condemned Israel’s actions and told opposition members in Parliament that the actual situation was that ‘demonstrators tried to cross the cease fire line from 1949 and tried to enter Syrian areas occupied by Israel.’
In February 2011, Norway gave Israel one year to relocate its embassy outside of Oslo’s city center. Oslo said it could not guarantee the safety of the Israeli Embassy in a prestigious, central neighborhood which had been receiving nonstop complaints from its residents about Israel’s security measures and the fear of living next to a potential global target. The government forced the U.S. Embassy to find new premises for similar reasons in 2004, even though the U.S. Embassy had been located in the heart of Oslo since 1959.
Oslo’s municipality is making it difficult for Israel to purchase or lease a new site anywhere within the city centre. “The authorities in Norway are capitulating to public opinion that is hostile to Israel,” cabled Israel’s Ambassador to Oslo to his bosses at the Foreign ministry in Jerusalem. “They are doing everything they can to make things more difficult on the Embassy.” An Israeli Foreign Ministry official called it a new low in Israel-Norway relations.
Tragically and ironically, it was the Norwegian government’s own buildings that were targeted in Breivik’s unprecedented attack. It was not Israel’s Embassy that was vulnerable to a terrorist attack, but the government’s own seat of power.
Norway is playing a leading role in refusing to invest in Israeli companies that contravene its Pension Fund’s human rights, conflict and ethics code. In February 2011, five of Norway’s largest PR firms rejected a proposal by Israel to help promote its worldwide image and prevent divestment from Israeli corporations by European countries, to which a counselor at the Israeli Embassy in Oslo responded, “It’s no secret that Israel has a reputation problem.”
In June 2010, two Norwegian labor unions enforced a two-week blockade banning Israeli ships and goods from entering Norwegian sea ports. This embargo was in protest to Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which prevented assistance and goods from reaching the Palestinians living there. The Norwegian government did not veto the unions’ action.
In May 2010, Norway condemned Israel’s actions in international waters, stating, “Norway is shocked that Israeli naval forces have shot and killed civilians while boarding a convoy carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza. We condemn this use of military force against civilians.”
In October 2009, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman told an Israeli cabinet meeting that it was time to reassess Israel’s relationship with Norway and expelling Norwegian peace monitors in Hebron could be one way of doing that.
A delegation of Members of Parliament from Norway’s Socialist Left Party travelled to the West Bank and Gaza in May 2009, a few months after the War on Gaza, on an ethics committee assignment to assess Norway’s Sovereign fund investment in Israel. MP Ågot Valle, spokesperson on foreign affairs for the Socialist Left Party, said at the end of their visit, “After seeing the situation here --- does Israel really want peace?”
The country’s Global Pension and Sovereign Fund, with more than $365 billion dollars to invest, has pulled out its money from a number of Israeli companies on ethical grounds, including the arms firm, Elbit, due to its involvement in building the West Bank Separation Wall. “We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law,” said Norway’s Finance Minister. Norway also pulled its money out of Israeli companies involved in construction of settlements in the West Bank, terming these “grossly unethical.”
In 2010, another Minister for Finance added, “Several United Nations Security Council resolutions and an International Court of Justice advisory opinion have concluded that the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory is prohibited under the [Geneva] Convention. I have therefore accepted the recommendation of the Council on Ethics and am excluding Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus from the fund’s investment portfolio.”
The globalization of Christendom versus Islam – the new Crusades – is what the post-911 vision for the New Middle East was about, led behind the scenes by U.S. Administration officials whose consuming concern was Israel’s empowerment and the Arab World’s breakup.
If the War Against World Religions is now being transferred from the heart of the Arab World – with the aim of fanning the flames of fear and hatred in Muslim-Muslim, Christian-Christian, Muslim-Christian conflicts – to the heart of northern Europe’s most civilized democracy, then the bet on a new World War is Christendom versus Global Jihad in Europe. Instead of criticizing Israel’s extreme political, social and military policies (disconnected from religion), the revived post 9-11 logic is for Europe to become similarly extreme.
Mass murder in the civilized world’s most authentic democracies aims to shake the foundation of those democracies – the freedom to speak, the freedom to live in peace and security, the freedom to criticize, the freedom to be politically independent.
That’s exactly what the wagers of a globalized pseudo Religious War and terrorizors like Anders Behring Breivik who do not want freedom, democracy, peace or pluralism, are trying but failing to achieve. The bombs and bullets were meant to silence openness and threaten rights and freedoms, but they have, instead, strengthened Norway’s resolve to remain true to its national identity.
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