A far-right Norwegian nationalist with ardent anti-Muslim views levelled savage blows at the mainstream political culture of his countrywith massive attacks on the government building housing the prime minister’s office and a summer camp at which young followers of the ruling Labor Party played. He killed 80 people. There are many questions raised by the savagery of this attack. How could Norwegian security allow such a thing to happen in the heart of Oslo, in a government facility housing the nation’s leader and political heart? How do we apprehend the enormity of the devastation and the fact that it was wrought by a far-right terrorist targeting the country’s liberal political leadership? But for me, another important question which no one, so far is asking is why did most of the world first think the terrorist/s responsible were Muslim, when the actual killer hates Muslims? In fact, this is what the New York Times wrote in its story which did report the political affiliation of the killer:
Initial reports focused on the possibility of Islamic militants, in particular Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or Helpers of the Global Jihad, cited by some analysts as claiming responsibility for the attacks. American officials said the group was previously unknown and might not even exist.
There was ample reason for concern that terrorists might be responsible.
How’s that again? Are the only terrorists in the world Muslim? If so, what do we call a right-wing nationalist capable of planting major bombs and mowing down scores of people for the sake of the greater glory of his cause? If even a liberal newspaper like the Times can’t call this guy a terrorist, what does that say about the mindset of the western world?
It’s absolutely imperative for the world to face the fact that for every Islamist willing to resort to violence there is a right-wing nationalist willing to do the same. We can see that in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Equally important to note that while there may be some on the left who have resorted to violence (in this country in the 1960s for example), the overwhelming share of mayhem comes from the political right. We can see that in Israel, where the extreme settler movement assassinated a prime minister and murdered fellow Israeli Jews. The same holds true here in the U.S., where a white supremacist, Jared Loughner, recently murdered a federal judge and several others in addition to nearly assassinating Gabrielle Giffords, a Jewish member of Congress.
UPDATE: Pam Geller is denying the statement below that Fjordman and Breivik are the same. And readers have noted that Breivik refers in his own name online favorably to Fjordman in the third person. Which either means that they are two separate individuals, or else Breivik is playing a double game. But even if Geller is right, Breivik clearly admires the work of Fjordman, Geller, Spencer and the other anti-jihadi bloggers and says so in his own name. If there are any Norwegian speakers who can help research Breivik’s writings and translate selected ones, please contact me.
Norwegian bloggers are reporting that Breivik is the author of a blog called Fjordman and that he’s guest blogged for Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch and Gates of Vienna “for years.” As Breivik, he publicly praised one of her posts. Elise Hendrick has translated a passage from Realisten which confirms that Fjordman and Breivik are one and the same:
According to his own statements, Anders Behring Breivik previously operated the blog ‘Fjordman’, and later wrote for many years under the pseudonym Fjordman for the anti-Muslim and Zionist blogs Gates of Vienna and Jihad Watch.
In fact, an intrepid friend of Elise’s has created a web page with the “collected works” of the miraculous Fjordman. Pretty soon there’ll be a Festschrift in his honor. And did you know he’s written a book (of course he has, he’s an articulate mass-murderer), Defeating Eurabia. It’ll only set you back 50 bucks to get a glimpse into the mind of an anti-jihadi terrorist. Here’s a favorable review of Geert Wilders magnum opus, Fitna penned by Fjordman. And don’t ya know that feminism leads to the oppression of women, natch. And Caucasophobia is racism, of course.
I was curious about the views of such an individual would be regarding Israel. And lo and behold, the educated terrorist doesn’t disappoint. Here is his Why Europeans Should Support Israel. With friends like this does Israel need enemies?
There may be people out there more knowledgeable about the minds of assassins, but I’ve rarely heard of articulate mass murderers. The most recent one that comes to mind is the Unabomber who wrote long treatises which were published unwillingly by several major newspapers. Perhaps readers can think of others. But generally, it appears that our man Breivik is a paragon of the pathological literary mindset.
I don’t think we can blame Robert Spencer or Pam Geller specifically for not being able to predict that one of their political allies would be a homicidal killer and terrorist. But still, if you lie down with dogs you’ll wake up with fleas. The brand of hate peddled by Geller and Spencer naturally attracts such a following. H/t Loonwatch.
Breivik’s Twitter account contains a single tweet:
One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.
To which I’ve replied in a tweet of my own:
One person with homicidal right wing beliefs is equal to the force of 100,000 who think only Muslims can be terrorists.
My strong hunch is that there must be a substantial group which participated in this conspiracy. One man doesn’t make and plant two bombs and then travel to an island and kill 70 people alone.
Whether it is Israel, the U.S., or Norway, if we wear blinders which prevent us from seeing that Muslims are NOT the only people capable of mass political violence, then we have left ourselves vulnerable to the ascendancy of a violent far-right political culture. If you examine what happened in 1995, when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, the Israeli political liberal-centrist mainstream basically imploded after a series of Palestinian bombings and the onset of the second Intifada. All of which enabled the ascendancy of settler extremists and their Likud fellow travellers who have now taken control of Israel’s political discourse. People now forget that one of the most savage acts of political incitement was a speech delivered by Bibi Netanyahu from a Jerusalem balcony while members of the crowd brayed for blood vengeance against Rabin. The assassination followed shortly thereafter. Bibi, the Likud and the settlers have been the ones who gained the most politically from the murder.
I would never hold that the political left is wholly pure and virtuous, but when it comes to an impulse to violence those on the far-right largely have the market cornered.