Jeg ble bedt om å kommentere tragediene i Norge i den spanske avisen El Mundo. Jeg så en mulighet for å bidra til en europeisk debatt, men tenkte (alt for naivt) at dette ikke ville finne veien til Norge.
Jeg tenkte som de fleste andre: For oss som har dette så nært innpå oss, er det en tid for å sørge, en tid for debatt. Nå er jeg fanget i en medieverden jeg selvsagt burde kjenne bedre enn de fleste. Saken er slått opp i Dagbladet i dag, trolig med en vinkel jeg gremmes over. Jeg kan ikke laste andre enn meg selv for det. Men når katta først er ute av sekken, her er teksten jeg sendte til El Mundo:
To You who Nourished the Killer
By Petter Nome, Oslo
What kind of mental and moral disorder leads a young man to eradicate the heart of political life in a peaceful nation and massacre ninety people in a youth camp?
A psychologist friend of mine commented when the horror was still developing: “This looks like the ultimate patricide, the modus of a person who was betrayed by his childhood authorities and has developed extreme hatred towards all kind of authorities.”
Now, the latest news about his “childhood authority” leaks out: His father received the news about his son’s crimes when reading internet news in his home in southern France. He claims he is shocked, as his son seemed “quite normal when he last met him” – in 1995. My friend may have hit the nail quite accurately. At least we know that many more psychological profiles and analyses will follow.
But making this a mental issue is a dangerous dead end road. We also know that Anders Behring Breivik has been planning his acts and writing on his 1.500 pages manifesto for nine years. During this period he was enrolled in the Norwegian Progressive Party for several years, also as a head of board in a local party branch. He has been a member of the Free Masons and admired their predecessors, the Templars and crusaders. He identifies himself with Christian fundamentalism and strongly supports the state of Israel. On top of that, he seems like a bright guy with an intellectual, though deeply disturbed, mind.
His “philosophy” is obviously extreme and pervaded with hate, but many of his main views and arguments are not obscure nonsense in the mind of a freak. They are all too well present in everyday conversations in streets and pubs – and mainstream politics. First of all, his generalizing anti Muslim gospel and fear of “multiculturalization”. But Mr. Breivik has more in store:
· Replace western democracies with administrative monarchies or republics.
· Increase the birth rate in western countries by banning abortion.
· More cultural power to the church.
· Death penalty after three criminal convictions
· Concentration camps for drug addicts.
· Forced reeducation of “marxists”.
Heard any of this before? Populist parties and movements in most western countries embrace at least some of these ideas, which they, in democratic societies, are absolutely free to do. My accusation is not that they use the freedom of speech for weird ideas, but the fact that most of these movements breed and build their power and influence on suspicion towards people and groups they hardly know. They nourish the smoldering fear and uncertainty in parts of the population, thus making it possible to transform to hate and violence.
The Norwegian Progressive Party is the second biggest party in Norway, holding 41 out of 169 seats in the Parliament. Their leader, Ms Siv Jensen, claims she was shocked when Mr. Breivik turned out to be one of their former members. She sure was, and her tears were falling. But did she ever carry one single brick to the bridge most of us are trying to build between people and cultures? She never did. Did she ever try to make electoral catches with her talk about “islamisation” and “national” and “Christian” values? She did, almost every day.
Ms. Jensen is not a supporter of violence. Neither are most of her colleagues in populist and right wing parties in Europe. But they should not be left with their shock and swollen faces. They carry profound responsibility for actively creating a climate where hate and violence appear as options for their most impatient followers.
At this moment, Norway is united in grief and sorrow. Everyday’s political controversies are swept away. The government buildings looks like a war zone, but a mountain of flowers and candles is growing outside the Oslo Cathedral. Five million people mourn the victims and feel the deepest sympathy with their loved ones. There is no visible anger, no loud cries for revenge. Just silent despair. Proud moments of dignity. As one of the Utøya survivors, a teen age girl, said: “If one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we all can show together.”
The government has made clear that these attacks will not alter the freedom and openness of the Norwegian society. “The Norway of tomorrow will look the same”, says our secretary of state, Mr. Jonas Gahr Støre. I hope he is right.
But a tomorrow must also come, for the vital questions of responsibility and lessons learned. That day should dawn, not only in Norway, but in all European countries where fear, contempt, distance and hate are both means and goals in political rethorics.