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How the wheel turns: from 9/11 to 22/7

Just how will the wheel turn, how will the public debate shift, after the terror attacks of 22/7? Food for thought from Björn Stærk:

...After the terror attacks in Norway on July 22, perpetrated by a fanatical opponent of multiculturalism and the Islamization of Europa, it happens again.  The wheel turns.  We won’t pretend that everything has changed, no more than everything changed on 9/11.  The threat from Islamist terrorism is the same.  The immigration challenges of Europe are the same.

But reality has shifted sufficiently that you cannot mindlessly apply the same old models to the new situation.  And, this time, the pundits who reveal themselves to be most out of touch may well be precisely those right-wing critics of immigration and Islam who took the lead after 9/11...

Would you believe, after 22/7 lots of people have called Norwegian news sites asking that their anti-Islamic comments be deleted?


Photo from Flickr: "Prayer Wheels" by Eric Montfort", republished here under a CC-licence

Oslo terrorist attack just a marketing ploy to promote the terrorist’s anti-Islam manifesto?

Anders Behring Breivik might have killed close to 100 people to market a manifesto partly copied from the Unabomber.

I didn’t know whether to cry or throw up while reading the manifesto published by the man who has admitted to the twin terror attacks on Oslo Friday.

When people started discussing and publishing excerpts from the manifesto – which also includes a detailed description of the attack, how it was planned and a diary leading up to 22/7 – on Google+ last night, there were those who said media would be playing into Breivik's hands by covering it.

There is some truth to that as the author of the manifesto more than hints that the atrocities that left at least 77 people dead were just a marketing ploy for his 15000-page manifesto.

Still, I believe transparency is more productive than secrecy in such instances, and we need to understand the terrorist's motivations in order to expose his contradictions and fallacies – even though it requires more than a degree of sobriety from the media when covering it.

As a blogger it’s my gut reaction to always link to my sources, but in this case I’ll leave it up to those interested to look up «2083. A European Declaration of Independence».

In it the author describes the necessity of using "terror as a method to wake up the masses" to the silent Islamification of Europe - aided, abetted and legitimized by “multiculturalist traitors”, cultural Marxists (or relativists) and feminists.

I was called up yesterday and asked if I could possibly put together an analysis in 2,5hrs of the attacks in Norway for Mail on Sunday (which was a challenge I couldn’t resist: the article can be found here).

That was before we knew of the manifesto.

Now, having read it, I guess I should be gratified by just how spot on my analysis of Behring Breivik’s motivation was:

This was an attack on Norway’s Labour party, which members are described in the document as some of the worst cultural Marxists aiding and abetting multiculturalism and Islamification.

The author also pays tribute to folks like Pim Fortuyn, Geert Wilders and BNP - and Tony Blair is describe as one of the most dangerous cultural Marxists' of them all.

The manifesto’s author quotes a wide range of sources – including Theodore Dalrymple, Melanie Phillips, Mark Twain. Every time a writer I like, such as Mark Twain, is mentioned I just felt like screaming:

“No, not in my name – don’t use this as support for your crazy arguments.”

The document is an awful muddle of reactionary Conservatism, Christianity, anti-Islam, anti-Marxism, philosophy and practical advice to would be terrorists, but most of it is both eloquently and lucidly written.

Part of what is so sickening is how every argument he touches on, even the few I agree with, becomes contaminated by his madness.

For instance, I’m not a big fan of Marxism, the ideology, but the context he puts this all into, and the actions he recommends based on his conclusions, makes me physically sick.

What we’re presented with is a manifesto for a terrorist BNP, a terrorist movement akin to Al-Qaeda only that it will fight for a nationalist, Christian-Conservative society free from Moslems, Feminists and Cultural Marxists.

The author believes this will be accomplished by 2083.

However, by comparing the two manifestos, right-wing news site revealed that huge chunks of the "2083 manifesto" probably is copied from the manifesto of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski....

This story just keeps getting more and more surreal.


Terror in Oslo: A near miss

“You know, it was a near miss for you just as it was for me as I narrowly avoided being on the Piccadilly line train when one of the bombs exploded on 7/7”

The sentiment belongs to my Dutch ex-partner. We lived together in London on and off for years, and I was just talking to him over the phone yesterday about what happened in Oslo on Friday, on 22/7, when he said something along these lines.

He had left five minutes earlier for work than usually on that fateful day in 2005. Had he got on the Underground train at his usual time that morning, he would have been on the 311 train that was close to Russell Square when the bomb went off.

Myself, I don’t really feel that I was caught up in the bomb attack in Oslo Friday, even though I was in a newspaper building close to where the bomb went off. All of us in that building had a very lucky escape.

I’ve described what happened on that day to, who also recorded an Audio boo with me, here.

It just felt incredibly surreal and incredibly sad when it happened.

I’m devastated for all those who were killed or injured by the twin-attacks in Oslo and on Utøya, and for all those who have loved ones who were killed, injured or are missing.

But the scope didn’t really sink in until I read what we believe to be the terrorist’s manifest0 this morning.

Even if the perpetrator is a Norwegian this was beyond any doubt a meticulously planned and well-executed terrorist attack.

It had very explicit political motivation and aims - a key aim being to wake people up to, and halt, what this guy sees as the Islamification of Europe - but I’ll return to that in a different post.

Here’s Oslo City Hall yesterday: 


Terror in Oslo: Saturday's frontpages

It was the morning after the worst day in Oslo's recent history, and these are the frontpages we woke up to.

It must be said that VG, Norway's largest newspaper and also my main employer, was right across the street from the governement headquarters where the bomb went off, and large sections VG's glass walls facing the explosion fell out (as you can see from this video I just re-shared on Google+ ).

The tabloid's staff was evacuated not once, but twice during the afternoon and evening of 22/7 - first from VG, then from its temporary workspace in Schibsted's headquarters - and ended up renting suits in a nearby hotel to have a workplace in which they could finish today's paper. Incredibly professional, and I am impressed by the paper they did put together under trying cicrumstances.

I for one forgot my mobile phone charger when evacuating the VG building, and I couldn't have been the only one to do so because talking to the salesman in the store I bought a spare charger today he said someone from VG had bought a whole load of chargers after the attack yesterday.

Here's the frontpages of Norway's two largest tabloids, VG (Verdens Gang) and Dagbladet:


And here's Aftenposten, Norway's newspaper of record, and Dagens Naeringsliv (DN), our largest financial daily: