I have never been in Oslo. I hear Norway is a beautiful country, home of the Opera browser and I wish I will go there and visit one day. What happened in Norway is a tragedy; it is, in fact more than tragic. Youths between 14 and 18 being slaughtered is a horrible thing to do, and in such a great number. I know a few people in Norway; I hope they’re all fine and that no one from their relatives was killed in the attack (in fact, I know someone who indeed has a distant relative who was murdered on the island) ; but there are three rather disturbing trends I have noticed and that I would like to mention here.
- I hear and read that Breivik is demented, that he’s in fact insane and should be locked up in a lunatic asylum. I disagree: the man is meticulous and seems to be fully aware of what he’s done. To label him as lunatic is to refuse to see how human his actions were and to deny him (and others, in a broader sense) complexity and responsibility for the tragedy. It’s like saying that Hitler or to a lesser degree Ben Laden were insane: They were not, and they’re responsible.
- Some people seem to have issues dealing with the fact that what happened wasn’t coming from muslim terrorists. Let’s be perfectly honest here: I, as well as many others, if not 95% of the people who learned about the news that day first thought about muslim terrorists. If you haven’t and were suspecting someone else, good for you. But let’s not try to be shy about this; it was our first thought, our first movement, the first blame we cast. We could not imagine -or rather, we had forgotten a simple truth: Extreme right activists and terrorists exist, and they do kill. They killed in the twenties, the thirties, the forties and all along the twentieth century. They do kill as well in our present century, all around the globe. Hate is not the monopoly of Islam. It’s so comfortable for some to think so . You can call yourself Christian and kill in the name of Jesus Christ; that just happened in Norway but it happened many times before. You can kill in the name of the Judaism; that actually does happen; you can kill others, or you can kill your own people, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the blood shed and the false pretense that your action is going to lead to your desired result.
- As a consequence, not just the extreme-right movements of the western world (including the tea-party spin doctors) are getting uncomfortably agitated, but the conservative and neo-conservative parties are dancing around the topic in an interesting way. Their Weltanschauung has been once again invalidated. It’s not that a conservative view of the world and society is necessarily wrong; it’s that the ideology that has seized the conservative wing of the western world politics ever since the nine-eleven events has proven, just like any ideology, to be fundamentally anti-democratic, and has led to failure. They failed to see the rise of the Arab revolutions spreading in the quest of true democracy and freedom, just like they failed to find the much sought-after weapons of mass-destruction in Iraq. Now they failed to see that you don’t have to be a Muslim (and therefore suspect to their eyes) to be a terrorist. And in front of people like Breivik, rest assured that the Neo-Cons are not overly moved, because Breivik has carried their unconscious or conscious fantasies to the extreme realization. The extreme right thinks Breivik was right, but that it came at the wrong moment, allowing then the whole “leftist” press (I wonder if they’ve ever heard about Murdoch) to paint them in a bad way.
If there’s any personal conclusion I could be making, aside the expression of deep sadness that I feel, it would be this one: let’s stop being angelical about the values of the Western world. They are worth being fought for, but we won’t have the clash of civilizations hoped by the extremists of all kind, and better yet: our values are not under siege by some foreign civilization or religion: they’re under siege because we are so intent on destroying them ourselves. The western world economies are often crumbling, our politicians often corrupted and seemingly never able to get a hold of the special interests driving most of our policies, while this state of things only frustrate their own citizens. What can be done to fix this beyond the manufactured slogans and pseudo miracle rules advertised by lobbyists? This is the question that the Oslo tragedy asks, again and again. Will we have the courage to answer it?