What have we learned after Norway’s 22/7?

by , under Enrique

What goes around comes around.

Exactly a year ago Anders Breivik carried out his mass killings, which ended up causing the death of 77 innocent victims. Have we learned anything from that tragic Saturday that shook the Nordic region and changed it permanently?

In order to answer that question, we’d have to travel back in time to see how things were prior to that  day.

In Finland, the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset (PS) had just won a historic election victory that enabled the party to increase the number of its MPs to 39 from 5 in 2007. While party leader Timo Soini played down anti-immigration sentiment as one important factor behind the PS’ election victory, others disagreed.

Before Breivik erupted on the stage, anti-immigration parties like the PS were the new political force to contend with in Finland. It seemed that nothing could stop them from adding new election victories in the future. The louder and cruder their anti-immigration and anti-EU stances were, the more supporters they’d rally to their cause.

In Norway, Denmark and Sweden, far-right populist anti-immigration parties had grown as well and were openly challenging traditional parties.

Everything changed, however, after July 22.

The first blow came in Norway to the Progress Party (FrP), which saw its support in the September municipal election plummet by 6.1 percentage points to 11.5%. In the same month, another anti-immigration party, the Danish People’s Party (DPP), suffered an election setback.

Since 2001, the Islamophobic DPP had supported minority right-wing government in exchange for tighter immigration policy.

In many respect, Breivik was a wake-up call that woke up for Finland and the Nordic region to the threat of intolerance and hate speech.

A recent supreme court ruling against Jussi Hall-aho is a case in point. The PS MP was not only fined for defaming a religion but for inciting ethnic hatred as well. The ruling wasn’t only a big blow to the PS but to the far-right Suomen Sisu wing of the party.  Halla-aho was forced to resign as chairman of the administration committee, which, among other matters, sets immigration policy.

The presidential election was another important example of how Finland is distancing itself  after 22/7 from the anti-immigration and populist rhetoric of parties like the PS.

Two conservative anti-EU candidates, Timo Soini of the PS and Paavo Väyrynen of the Center Party, lost to Green Party hopeful Pekka Haavisto in the first round of voting. Haavisto is openly gay and pro-EU.

The next test for the PS will come in the October municipal elections. If polls are anything to go by, the party will suffer another election setback.

In light of the above, can we claim that Breivik had had a direct impact on the popularity of the PS and other parties in the Nordic region that are anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam?

Your answer to that questions will probably reveal more than anything else your political views on immigration, Islam and cultural diversity.

But if we ask Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Norway had become after July 22 “more tolerant, [and] more careful not to judge people” by ethnic origin.

Even if Stoltenberg has shown leadership on how a wounded society should react to intolerance, it’s still unclear what impact Breivik will have on our societies. We are still healing from the wound and can matters return back to “normal” in Norway after Breivik?

If we set aside politics and try to understand the impact Breivik had on the region, one matter is certain:  We are outraged by what happened but dread even more the possibility that it could happen again.

Competing for the anti-immigration thunder and rhetoric of parties like the PS, DPP, FrP and Sweden Democrats are far-right groups like the Finnish Defense League, which are  copy-and-paste clones of the English Defense League.

Breivk scared the wits out of some of us and proved that anti-immigration and Counter-Jihad rhetoric can convert itself into a monster that has the ability to wreak terror and change our societies for good.

That I believe is the real message and threat of 22/7.

  1. ALWILBGOOD

    Sick James Holmes the US loner who killed 12 and wounded 58 others became an enthusiastic disciple of Breivik before going on the killing spree.He wanted to cause as much damage as Breivik did fortunately the rampage ended his rifle jammed. Breivik 1,500 page-manifesto is and will always be danger to the entire world.

  2. akaaro

    I think they are spreading more threat than Breivik and are like-minded extremist when we see how this woman is talking about their ideology. How can it be possible to have non-finns and muslims to your member organisation when your main objective is to eliminate them. That is impossible, finland is a pregnant now but lets see while it gives birth what is inside.

  3. Jssk

    It almost seems like you are very joyful about the terrorist attack. Like dancing on the graves.

    Can you tell me, what is wrong with being against EU or mass immigration?

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Jssk, suggesting that I am “joyful” about what happened in Norway, reveals a lot about yourself.

      You never cleared up for me what is “mass” immigration.

    • D4R

      More like you and others being against dark peoples migration to your countries!!

  4. JusticeDemon

    Ricky

    You never cleared up for me what is “mass” immigration.

    We already know the answer. 7,000 Somali immigrants over a 20-year period constitute “mass” immigration, whereas 47,000 Russian immigrants over the same period do not.

    It’s all a matter of cutaneous melanin density, faith and fashion.

    We have to understand that people who cut and paste their views from Austria are right to warn us about the dangers of foreign influence in Finland, otherwise we may lose the ability to think for ourselves.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      JD, “mass” immigration is exactly what you said. The term “mass” goes well with the far-right view of multiculturalism. For us, it is a Canadian social policy that came about in the 1970s. For the anti-immigration crowd, multiculturalism is an immigration policy or an underhanded plan by some politicians to let Africans and Muslims to move to Europe and Finland.

  5. Jssk

    JD, “mass” immigration is exactly what you said. The term “mass” goes well with the far-right view of multiculturalism. For us, it is a Canadian social policy that came about in the 1970s. For the anti-immigration crowd, multiculturalism is an immigration policy or an underhanded plan by some politicians to let Africans and Muslims to move to Europe and Finland.

    Mass immigration means a movement of large group of people from area A to area B. Our current immigration policy regulates immigration well enought, but effects of mass immigartion can be seen in certain european countries.

    I dont care if the immigrant is russian or somalian, of course i notice that but i wont let it affect how i act. Anyways, finns have much more common with russians than somalians. I dont think of muslticulturalism like you said anti-immigration crowd does. Maybe its because im not anti-immigration, but i dont think even them defie multiculturalism like that.

    Of course theres ignorant people in every political orientation.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Mass immigration means a movement of large group of people from area A to area B.

      There is a difference between “immigration” and “refugees.” Why do you group them and what number constitutes “mass” immigration or a “mass” amount of refugees?

      This fear, that we are being invaded, is an old fear of some Finns. I remember it being used around 1990 by Keijo Korhonen, who claimed that the fall of the USSR would force a mass amount of refugees to flee to Finland.

  6. JusticeDemon

    Jssk

    Mass immigration means a movement of large group of people from area A to area B.

    Not quite. It refers solely to an influx and has nothing to do with the origin of migrants. It also clearly implies a collective process with no significant individual examination of migrants, especially through a licensing system. In this sense the movement of industrial workers from Finland to Sweden in the 1960s and 1970s was a mass migration, as this movement was managed solely as a matter of domicile registration and not under a licensing system.

    With the arguable exception of persons displaced by war in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia and admitted under a special 1993 enabling Act, Finland has had no mass immigration at all.

    Otherwise you are now adopting the Farang strategy of calling our attention to some phenomenon and then explaining how unidentified “others” (variously described as ignorant or otherwise intellectually challenged) might misunderstand it. This is a species of trolling.

  7. JusticeDemon

    Ricky

    The political instability surrounding the breakup of the USSR did result in some very preliminary contingency planning at the time.

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