regarding Norway

Via fjm and Charlie Stross, a number that puts the tragedy in Norway into perspective: 80 people dead out of their population is the equivalent of 5000 out of the United States. (Though the final number may have changed since that was posted.) That’s the scale of loss Norway has suffered.

And it’s a very, very targeted loss. The “summer camp” was a political one, organized by the social-democratic Labour Party. The youths killed there were politically engaged, passionate about their cause. Some of them might well have been potential Prime Ministers, Members of Parliament, movers and shakers in the Labour Party’s future. It’s like killing thousands of the most committed Young Democrats, or Young Republicans.

As most people know by now, Breivik is not an Islamic terrorist (contrary to the utterly unfounded assertions made by various media figures, at least in the United States, immediately following news of the attacks); he is a self-identified right-wing Christian who opposes multiculturalism and the spread of Muslims in Europe. This post, and this quote from it, sums up the inequality of the reactions based on who’s to blame:

“[T]hey’re now pleading for the world not to do what they’ve spent their careers doing — assigning collective blame for an act of terror through guilt-by-association.”

And this one . . . this one just makes me want to punch people in the face.

But you know what gives me hope? A quote, whose source I have now lost, from (I think) the Prime Minister of Norway, to the effect that “the proper response to an attack on democracy is more democracy.” Amen. I hope the Norwegians don’t surrender their ideals because of this terrorist’s actions.

0 Responses to “regarding Norway”

  1. almaeron

    That last quote is indeed from the prime minister:

  2. auriaephiala

    Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister “… that the answer to violence is even more democracy, even more humanity, but never naïveté. That is what we owe to the victims and to those they hold dear.”

    I find the idea of killing all those teenagers especially tragic. That’s like killing the hope of a nation.

    And those right-wing bloggers are vile.

    It’s always strick me that violent fanatics are essentially fanatics, regardless of their cause or political allegiance. Their means define them far more than their ends.

    • Marie Brennan

      I do think the ends are relevant; a violent anarchist and a violent fascist share some similarities, but their differences should also be borne in mind. Having said that — yeah. They’re all unwilling to or incapable of winning their arguments, so they resort to destroying their opponents.

  3. findabair

    Amen indeed! That has been my great fear ever since the news broke, that we would move towards more security and surveillance and less freedom and democracy. – I cried, walking through the city centre on Saturday, when I saw the Parliament building cordoned off and surrounded by heavily armed soldiers. A great illustration of how things have been, is that in Oslo, you’ve been able to get closer to the Parliament or the Royal Palace than to the American Embassy! I should so very much like for that state to continue. The soldiers are gone now, though, and I sincerely do believe that we will manage to keep to our ideals.

    And Jens Stoltenberg has truly shown himself as a great leader, and I am proud to have him as my country’s Prime Minister.

    • Marie Brennan

      I can understand guards in the immediate aftermath; you don’t know if the danger is still ongoing. But I’m glad that hasn’t been carried on to the next step of “the danger is constant, and so must be our vigilance.”

  4. d_c_m

    “the proper response to an attack on democracy is more democracy.” Amen.
    Amen indeed.

  5. la_marquise_de_

    Today’s Guardian newspaper has a set of pictures of the victims. The youngest was barely 14. It’s heartbreaking to see: most of the dead were young people who wanted to go out into the world and help people.

  6. Marie Brennan

    I didn’t know about the refugees. That’s even more heart-breaking.

Comments are closed.