By Enrique Tessieri
It is a tragedy that 77 people had to die at the hands of Anders Breivik on July 22. Ironically the mass killer did more than anyone to undermine the ideology of anti-immigration populist parties and hate groups in the Nordic region and Europe.
The political fallout of Breivik’s deeds was clear: The first blow came to the Progress Party (FrP) of Norway, which saw its support plummet in the municipal election by 6.1 percentage points to 11.5%. That was followed by election setbacks in Denmark and Finland.
Not even the far-right Sverigedemocraterna of Sweden has been spared.
Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg became an exemplary leader after the mass killings of Norway. His reaction was totally the opposite from what we saw in the United States after the September 11 attacks. Contrary to President George W. Bush, the Norwegian prime minister said that his country’s reponse to the mass killings will be more openness and more democracy.
The question that hounds us, however, is if Breivik were a Muslim instead of a white Norwegian, what kind of an anti-immigration backlash would we have seen in the Nordic region and Europe?
On a BBC documentary, Stoltenberg said that Norway had become after July 22 “more tolerant,[and] more careful not to judge people” by ethnic origin.
Wise words by a wise leader of a country that suffered one of its worst tragedies in recent history.