Comment: The box story below in the September issue of Le Monde Diplomatique (LMD) is a good read that attempts to see what lessons can be learned from Norway after Anders Breivik went on the rampage on July 22.
One matter that we must accept, according to the story, is the rise of far-right radicalism, anti-immigration and Islamophobic sentiment in Europe. Even so, we cannot say that they will automatically produce more Breiviks.
Writes LMD: “These ‘radical’ views are not the sole preserve of a disparate violent fringe — they are becoming legitimised as part of the political discourse. The ‘one long scream of resentment,’ in the words of the late historian Tony Judt, ‘at immigrants, at unemployment, at crime and insecurity, at ‘Europe’ and in general at ‘them’ who have brought it all about” is being heard by more people than ever before. Yet there is a danger of reading too much into these opinions as the catalyst for an individual atrocity.'”
One matter we should keep clear, however, is that far right or right-wing populist views are deteminental to our society. “These (far-right) parties should be opposed not because they may have tangentially ‘inspired’ individual acts of symbolic violence, but because their programme is dehumanising, sectarian and threatens the basis of a stable, cohesive society,” concludes LMD.
By K Biswas
What do the tragic events in Utoya and Oslo tell us about the status of far-right, anti-immigrant or Islamophobic politics in Norway, Scandinavia and the rest of Europe? Commentators and “security experts” — many of whom were initially convinced of the Islamic nature of the attacks — have spent the past month speculating.