Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Why I'm Glad the Norway Terrorist is Alive

Anders Breivik’s own father wishes he’d committed suicide after his unconscionable massacre of teenage campers, but I am fervently grateful that he did not. If he had killed himself or if he had died in a firefight with police, if all they found was the dead body of the blond blue-eyed gunman along those of his innocent teenage victims, there is a very good chance that suspicions would still have fallen on ‘Islamic terrorism.’ There would have been speculation- and from some sources, outright fabrication- about his links with Al Qaeda cells. He would have been portrayed as a native-born Norwegian recruit to the cause of the Caliphate; his history of anti-immigrant, Islamophobe ranting on the web would have been dismissed as a cover. Never mind that the whole purpose of terrorism is to propagate its cause, which would make it self-defeating not to acknowledge an act after the fact; conspiracy theories would have run rampant anyway.

At least now, with Anders Breivik alive and able to stand trial, he will speak for himself, and for his true convictions.

But in spite of that, there are those who must blame Al Qaeda at any cost: if he committed this heinous act, they claim, he must have been inspired by Al Qaeda- rather than, say, Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber or Colombine.

Nor, for that matter, do the disseminators of the rampant Islamophobic discourse on the far right in America acknowledge their influence on Breivik, although he himself explicitly quotes them in his ‘manifesto.’ On the contrary, the blame-the-victim mentality is alive and well. If it were not for the lenient immigration policies of Norway, ethnic Norwegians like Breivik who resented immigrants diluting their ethnic, religious and cultural purity, would not have had to resort to such extreme tactics.

At the same time, there is nary a reference to a ‘Christian terrorist.’ The explicitly religious aspect of the terrorist’s motivation, his quest to save European Christendom from an Islamic invasion, is explained away as being ‘political’ rather than ‘religious.’ In what sense, then, is Al Qaeda ‘religious’ rather than ‘political’?

Ultimately, though, the ideal pigeonhole in which to classify Anders Breivik, where he will least trouble the Western world’s peace of mind and self-image, would be as a ‘deranged loner,’ an aberration rather than a phenomenon. With the perpetrator of cold-blooded carnage against the most innocent of his fellow Norwegians alive and able to stand trial, the truth, whatever it is, stands a better chance of being heard.  

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