The Terror in Norway is the Terror Everywhere
by Kenneth Paul O'Connor
July 27, 2011
Not since Hitlerís army invaded and occupied their country during the 2nd World War has Norway experienced terror like what happened on Friday. A man driven mad by the same nationalist fervor that Hitler built his army with waged war upon his own country that day, with a brutal disregard for even the innocence of its youth. This is personal for me, as I have family of all ages who live in Norway. They are all physically in tact, thankfully, but emotionally shaken. Will Norwegians be able to regain the sense of peace and security they had enjoyed for so long? Is no place safe from the terrorist mentality?
It would be easier to make this a polemic about gun control, but as crazy as it is to trust the fragile human mind with the power of guns, that is not the issue that lies at the heart of this matter. There may only be one man responsible for these murders, but he is not alone in his murderous thoughts. His claim that there were two cells supporting him are probably not true, as Norwegian police have stated, but they have also recently stated that "a higher degree of activism in groups hostile to Islam may lead to an increased use of violence". Should we be surprised if there is a more organized movement? Has there been adequate research on the part of media and government regarding right-wing terror groups? Why did the media rush to report on the unconfirmed report that it was the act of a ďglobal Jihadist groupĒ? I donít think it was wrong to suspect that the bombing in Oslo was an act of Islamist terror, but to broadcast such conjecture does a terrible disservice to a nation in panic, particularly its Muslim community.
I do not believe there is a strong sentiment of fear and hatred toward immigrants, Muslim or otherwise, in Norway. That has not been my experience when I have been there, my most recent visit taking place just this past May. However, no one can deny that this sentiment exists in no insignificant number of minds throughout Europe. What goes through the mind of a man like Anders B. Breivik? Does he believe that someday Norway will lose its identity? That it will be taken over by Muslims because of the tolerance of the left-wing parties? Given how his fashions himself a modern day crusader in his video manifesto, delusions of grandeur are nothing new to him. His mindset was not born in a vacuum however, and he reminds me of far too many individuals raised on dreams of holy war.
I am an American, born and raised. I was 18 when the Oklahoma City bombing took place. The 90ís were a more turbulent time than most of us care to remember. I canít help but notice that when our elections move our government to the left, the right move further right. I fear the worst possible right-wing reaction if Obama is re-elected. There is evidence of right-wing militias strengthening here in America, but today I am more concerned about the power of one man and his delusions. Just like the young man in Arizona who earlier this year shot a Democratic congresswoman and her supporters, Breivik had some suffered some shortcomings in life, and appears to have unchecked mental illness. This is a profile of too many young males these days, especially in the USA. Although Breivik was not the leader of a revolution, and was not fit to be, he easily could have been the pawn of a more sophisticated plot, and so could many others. I am hoping that his lone act is a sign of desperation, meaning that there was no one willing to help him, but then again, if that desperation leads to horrifying mass murder, how is that comforting?
Norway, famous for awarding peacemakers and for brokering peace accords, will now have to turn inward to make peace with what has happened and contemplate what it means going forward. It was one of the last places in the world anyone ever expected to be victimized by terror. It is a sad day when children, wherever they may be in this world, must learn that terror knows no boundaries.