And that reality is ambiguous.
On the one hand a high level of Muslim immigration, and some conversion to Islam. And high level tolerance of races and faiths, settling, acquiring citizenship, many integrating fully; their Norwegian, and respect for Norwegian laws and regulations, impeccable (with the exceptions of honor violence and female circumcision).
On the other hand very little inter-faith dialogue carried by respect and curiosity, let alone mutual learning. The assumption is that immigrants have much to learn. And then Norway as a participant in US-led, NATO-based, coalitions that, even if not called wars, the fact is that Muslims are killed in Muslim countries by soldiers from the West, including from Norway (how many is a military secret).
The first point is a Norway long on immigration and tolerance; the second point is a Norway short on dialogue of civilizations and conflict resolution. Perhaps the worst possible combination; opening Norway for something the country is not prepared to handle.
Imagine an isolated Norway, no immigration, nor participation in any war against Muslim countries, backed by UN resolutions or not. Nothing to trigger Breivik’s hatred of the Labor Party in Norway. He might have focused on some other country instead for his calling to defend race and culture. But that would be a Norway very few want.
Imagine a positive Norway–with increasing inequality and loneliness–in dialogue with muslims strong on togetherness and sharing. Could that rejuvenate the “suicide church”? Fridays for mosques, Sundays for churches, Saturdays for spiritual dialogues? And Afghanistan: mediating between violent islamism and westism, exploring what USA, Taliban and others want, dampening polarization-escalation; solving the conflict, like a neutral Afghanistan in a Central Asian community? And, making people aware of how polarization erodes their rationality.
An isolated Norway is unrealistic but not a more positive Norway that may come out of 22-Jul in the longer run. The empty churches and filled mosques bear testimony to the inability of the christian-humanist tradition to respond to challenges by searching beyond their own civilization for new syntheses. Alternative: decline and fall. We live in a globalizing world and have to learn from each other.
Would a more positive Norway have saved us and the world from a Breivik? A victim of triple polarization–with the frequently found ideas of treason within and a calling to act–neither totally insane nor totally normal, the false dichotomy offered by the court process?
Hard to tell. This might have stimulated his extremist defense of his indigenous Norway, culturally conservative-christian, racially blue-eyed and fair-haired. It should also be pointed out that far from fighting the polarization he used it, stimulated by the forces it unleashed in himself to kill the “traitors”. Like a country at war uses propaganda, like soldiers robotize themselves with dope and games. And beyond that, he used polarization politically, hoping for strong reactions against the extreme right; so strong that they will hit back in defense of their own race and culture. Like the Royal Air force-RAF hoped in Germany.
But it might also have prevented a Breivik. His narrative seems to confirm that he was acting alone; other hypotheses (islamists, Mossad were pulling strings, etc.) can be discarded. Imagine a Norway beyond cultures just living side by side and developing into something new and fascinating. Imagine a Norway where people are taught conflict hygiene, what conflict and polarization do to them, how they can avoid thinking only in black and white, and learn thinking and practicing solutions rather than violence. Imagine a Norway putting that to work in West vs Islam. A Breivik, intelligent, might have found that more attractive than killing, but might also have turned more desperate.
The Breiviks have to be identified, for deep dialogues.
Norway now has an existential problem like once had with Knut Hamsun: how can a person like that arise in our midst? Contrary to our self-image as “peace nation”? One easy way out is to declare him insane; taking the brunt off any message, secluding him, treating him.
Another way out is to focus more on the sufferings of the victims and the bereaved and less on an incomprehensible perpetrator. There were acts of extreme beauty and compassion. But they were also escapes from a reality with victims and terrorism. Becoming worse?
Breivik is politically at the center of a triangle: nationalism-racism with evangelical christianity, zionism–his often cited ideal– and islamophobia. In Norway, like in the USA, there has long been a strong link between the first two; help bringing the Jews home. Hard zionism is indeed at odds with Islam. There are strong islamophobic forces and new alliances with fundamentalist christians. The triangle will be strengthened, partly due to Breivik, the unquotable.
Not necessary. The court gave him a podium to broadcast his views, nationally and internationally. Of course he had his right to tell his version, the ‘what’ and ‘why’. But he had confessed and horrible details added little to the worst misdeed in Norwegian history. The open court process could have been limited to one week. And the incapability of both sides of the psychiatric divide to reflect what political conflict polarization does to people is not a court issue.
Did they hope for a break-down, the repentant sinner on his knees as the third way out? May happen one day, but not in a court that mobilizes and rewards his conflict energy. He merits the strongest punishment Norway can offer, with no podium access. A social death.
And Norway has to come to grips with what happened.
Meanwhile bereaved Afghans suffer, as do bereaved Norwegians; whether the killing benefits from UN, or democratic, legitimacy. With no compensation, as there will be for Breivik’s numerous victims.
Appendix: Breivik’s Three Conflicts: Some Quotes
ISLAM. “It is significant that one of the few place names on earth that reminds us not of the victory of the winners but rather the slaughter of the losers, concerns a genocide of Hindus by the Moslems.” (p. 13). “Since the creation of Islam in the 7th century and up to this day, the Islamic Jihad has systematically killed more than 300 million non-Muslims and tortured and enslaved more than 500 million individuals. Since 9/11 2001, more than 12 000 Jihadi terrorist attacks have occurred around the world–This trend will continue as long as there are non-Muslim targets available and as long as Islam continues to exist.” (p. 39)–Assyrian, Coptic, Maronite, Hindu genocides in the Middle East.” (p. 1366)
“–the “holocaust religion is one of the major factors that are making Europe vulnerable and susceptible to Islamic conquest through demographical warfare.” (p. 1366).
“–we, the pro multi-ethnicity and pro-Israel/Jewish factions, do in fact expect future support from all non-Muslim right wing minority groups and indirect support from the Israel right wing.” (p. 303).
“Islam is utterly incompatible with human liberty–(p. 560); Islam is a totalitarian ideology–(p. 538); “It was only for about 13 years that Islam was peace and nothing but peace” (p. 539); “Islam is a compressed version of all the darkest aspects of masculinity” (p. 352); “The best way to deal with the Islamic world is to have as little to do with it as possible” (p. 330).
RACE. “A 2002 study found the prevalence of blue eye color among European-Americans in the United States to be 57.4 percent for those born from 1899 through 1905 compared with 33.8 percent for those born from 1936 through 1951. Blue eyes have become increasingly rare among American children, with only one out of every six–16.6 percent–of the total United States population having blue eyes.–A century ago, 80 percent of people married within their ethnic group.”
“The key to our survival is to liberalize the strict bio-technology laws and to commercialize and glorify repro-genetics while there is still a sustainable selection of Nordic of 99% purity left (the window of opportunity will be forever lost within 150 years).–we will be able to purify our tribe and add several IQ points to our offspring in the same process.” (p. 1159). “Race-mixing leads to suicidal children with severe mental problems” (p. 1160.
CULTURE. “Western Europe is heading in a direction where they are going to become colonies of their former colonies.–Why do European lack cultural and political self confidence to prevent its own suicide?–My own ancestors, the Vikings, were known to be the most vicious and brutal warriors of the age and would raid significantly more developed cultures even when outnumbered 10 to 1. Instead of looking at genes we will find the answer if we look at the psychological condition of the modern European. How did we end up as cowardly eunuchs applauding our own cultural and demographic demise? The essence is that–we didn’t persecute the Marxists after WW2. If we had executed each and every Marxist and banned Marxist doctrines–the cultural as well–internationalism, extreme feminism, anti-elitism, anti-nationalism) we would not be in the current situation.” (p. 733). “A multiculturalist is just as bad as a Nazi, which again is just as bad as a true Muslim, a communist or a fascist.” (p.1237).
“So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural marxists-”. (p. 1163).
“conservative culturalists are royalists–genetically identity a suitable candidate from the Fairhair-Hårfagre line–coached by a neighboring royal family for at least three years before coronation.”
16 July 2012