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Norway Tragedy

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Celebaelin
834342.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:38 am Reply with quote

Apparently (and by that I mean according to Wiki) no-one can agree on what the definition of terrorism is so Breivik's actions almost certainly qualify him as a terrorist by some definitions but I wouldn't leap to label him as such nor to criticise people who stopped using the word terrorism when they found out that the atrocity was the work of one man.

Or was it?

As has been pointed out above in his court appearance he's now claiming that there are two other cells operating in collaboration with him. As far as we know so far however he was a cell of one so perhaps this is just a sick joke to accompany this twisted little sh*t-suckers last moments of relative freedom.

 
Moosh
834344.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:42 am Reply with quote

sjb wrote:
Just out of curiosity, are British media outlets more Islamophobic than American ones? (Seems unlikely, but....) On the day of the bomb and shootings, I watched some tv coverage on CNN and MSNBC and the only allusion made to Islamic involvement was the attention paid to the statement made by Helpers of the Global Jihad. They didn't outright take responsibility but they did make it sound like woo-hoo, score one for us! The reporters I saw talking about it didn't jump to the conclusion that they or some other Islamic organization had done it. I try not to watch much tv news, though, so by the next day's newspapers I think the media had latched onto Breivik and started the look what he said/posted on facebook schtick.

Were the British media, in the immediate aftermath, outright saying "Yup, looks like more Islamic terrorism to us" ? Actually, for all I know they might have been saying such things on Fox news, but I have
that channel blocked on my television. Hmm....

Here is the front page that The Sun, ran on Saturday. And that's the newspaper with the highest circulation in Britain, so it doesn't get much more mainstream.

 
Celebaelin
834347.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:46 am Reply with quote

sjb wrote:
The reporters I saw talking about it didn't jump to the conclusion that they or some other Islamic organization had done it.

I don't know if it was Islamophobia or a desire for a 'hard' headline but all the media started pointing at Islamic militants more or less immediately on the grounds that, well, it's a fair enough assumption isn't it?

No, as it turns out it isn't.

The more litigation-conscious (and/or cautious, and/or responsible) American media were more analytical from the sounds of it - read the Charlie Brooker article linked to above for an accurate if scathing account of the initial reactions; all of which (except the Sun headline) I heard or read in the hours following the attacks.

sjb wrote:
Were the British media, in the immediate aftermath, outright saying "Yup, looks like more Islamic terrorism to us"?

Essentially yes. No-one claimed they had details but that was the only possibility being discussed.

 
suze
834354.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:58 am Reply with quote

sjb wrote:
Just out of curiosity, are British media outlets more Islamophobic than American ones?


Some of them are, notably the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. Because of the time frame - the Norway events happened during the working day in Europe, and by nightfall it was clear that they were not the work of Islamists - those organs didn't run Islamophobic stories about them. But they easily might have done had the timings been different.

EDIT: That Sun headline above rather contradicts me here! Was that an early edition? I was otherwise occupied on Saturday and so didn't read a newspaper, but I did see a Mail in passing, and its headline was not along those lines.


As for radio and television, no one apart from the BBC matters, and the BBC is not Islamophobic. (Indeed, there are those in Britain who criticize it for leaning too far the other way.)


One other line on the Norway events. It has been reported today that the guy can only be jailed for 21 years, because there is no life imprisonment in Norway. Not true. Rarely do Norwegian courts pass a life sentence - there hasn't been one for over a decade - and the understanding is that it is issued only in the most exceptional circumstances. But the present circumstances qualify.

 
CB27
834358.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:12 pm Reply with quote

I do find it ridiculous that people are calling it islamaphobia because many people jumped to the conclusion that this could be a Muslim terrorist attack.

That journalists can voice their opinions in public didn't make them any better or worse than the rest of us.

I'll admit that when I first heard about the car bomb in Oslo (and it was a while before the reports about the shootings came through), my immediate thought was that it was possibly perpetrated by fanatical Muslim group because I was not aware of any internal struggle in Norway, nor did it have the hallmarks of a single person doing it.

I didn't think it was the fault of all Muslims, and in fact my first thought was "this will play into the hands of right wingers in Norway". It wasn't racist of me to assume that it was a fundamentalist Muslim group that carried out the attack, it was the most logical answer given the information I had at the time.

Likewise, if I hear of an explosion in Northern Ireland my immediate reaction is that it's probably an IRA or suchlike group, and if it was an attack in Spain or South France I might think it was Basque separatists, and there are a few other areas where some very likely candidates seem more likely than Muslim terrorists. However there was no such obvious motives for anyone in Norway.

In fact, while we berate those in the West who thought this was done by a militant Muslim group, I was looking at a few headlines and comments in media from Muslim countries and I do sense a feeling of relief of sorts that this was not so, as typified by this editorial from the Pakistan Observer.

Before we start blaming ourselve (or others) for jumping to conclusions when it comes to identifying the culprits, let's remember that terrorism and fanaticism look the same whereever they are, regardless of who carries it out or who suffers. You have to consider the likeliest motives (and whether anyone claims resposibility), and until this weekend we knew of no likely motive for an attack on Norway except for those who opposed their military presence in certain parts of the world, and the anger some felt some years back over a number of cartoons.

 
sjb
834367.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:43 pm Reply with quote

That front page of The Sun made me vomit a bit in my mouth, for various reasons. :\

Maybe it's my perspective, but I wouldn't really have assumed it was a Islamic terrorism at work unless it had happened specifically at an embassy, military installation, etc. in Norway. I know it was a building with government offices in it, but that just doesn't strike me the same way as I was/am under the impression that the building has more than government offices in it. (Not that I'm saying your immediate thought was wrong CB--you're just at a different perspective than I am!)

I think for both me and others here, we're more accustomed to hearing about shootings (but not so much bombs) in Nordic countries being the result of native, non-Muslim folks. Finland in particular comes to mind, which isn't really right of me to conflate Finland and Norway but it is what came to my mind first when the news first broke.

For instance:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kauhajoki_school_shooting
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sello_mall_shooting
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jokela_school_shooting

Also, the first act of terrorism (for lack of a better term, use your own alternative if so desired!) I remember really clearly was the Oklahoma City bombing. I was 8 and it really burned itself into my memory. So, while 9/11 looms larger in my mind it did not erase what happened in OC--effected by a homegrown, non-Muslim fellow. Thus, I don't generally assume what sort of person or persons might be behind any sort of terrorist violence.

 
exnihilo
834373.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:54 pm Reply with quote

On terrorism: surely a defining feature is its ongoing nature, there has to be further attacks or the threat of further attacks to count as terrorism otherwise there is no inspiring of terror. It need not be politically motivated, even, it just needs to be there as a threat. If, as seems very likely, this is one lone nutjob then the threat was never posed in the first instance as it came out of the blue and will not be posed in the future because he's been apprehended. No terror = no terrorist.

 
sjb
834381.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:29 pm Reply with quote

It's being said, though, that according to Breivik he did not work alone.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/07/25/Suspect-says-more-cells-exist-toll-falls/UPI-99181311577200/?dailybrief

Also, I hadn't heard until just now that Crown Princess Mette-Marit's stepbrother was killed in the island massacre.

 
exnihilo
834383.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:34 pm Reply with quote

I know it is, I don't believe him. The only "evidence" is he says he wasn't working alone.

 
Jenny
834423.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:41 pm Reply with quote

I don't know what Fox's original response was, but the current article is actually quite reasonable.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/07/23/norway-bomb-suspect-bought-6-tons-fertilizer/

 
bobwilson
834450.  Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:16 pm Reply with quote

post 834358

Quote:
I do find it ridiculous that people are calling it islamaphobia because many people jumped to the conclusion that this could be a Muslim terrorist attack.


I sort of agree with you CB. There is nothing islamophobic in assuming that the events are the work of Islamic terrorists. The islamophobia comes from the climate in which such an assumption is made - and that is far more insidious.

As you say - "It wasn't racist of me to assume that it was a fundamentalist Muslim group that carried out the attack". It does, however, say mountains about the conditioning you're receiving.

On a different note - is it really the function of the news to expend an enormous amount of time and energy on reporting this event, and that "people are upset", and speculating in detail?

By all means, let's have the headline report on the news that it's happened, and some gossip about the facts - but does it really need to be the only item along with the death of Amy Winehouse and the sports news when there's a whole load of other stuff that needs to be reported? Is it really necessary for Newsnight to go live to a candlelit vigil? Or for News at Ten to tell us that the Norwegian Royal Family are not best pleased?

Interestingly, but barely reported, five children were injured by the actions of British troops in Afghanistan. (To be fair - this did merit a report on the BBC pages for a few hours before being subsumed by the much more important matter of the speculation concerning Amy Winehouse). According to the now relegated report - these injuries were sustained when the troops fired on an (unidentified) "insurgent".

But worry not - "A shooting incident review is now under way and UK officials in Afghanistan are keeping the provincial governor abreast of the results of the investigation."

So that's alright then.

 
djgordy
834463.  Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:08 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:

I sort of agree with you CB. There is nothing islamophobic in assuming that the events are the work of Islamic terrorists. The islamophobia comes from the climate in which such an assumption is made - and that is far more insidious.

As you say - "It wasn't racist of me to assume that it was a fundamentalist Muslim group that carried out the attack". It does, however, say mountains about the conditioning you're receiving.


It cetainly does make you Islamophobic.

 
CB27
834467.  Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:39 am Reply with quote

Thanks for expanding on that.

As I said earlier, my initial reaction was prior to the shootings, when the first reports of the shootings came in my reaction turned to one of "either this is an extremely horrible coincidence of two events happening at the same time, or my initial reaction was wrong"

I notice from a couple of other replies that people say they didn't think it was anything to do with Muslim extremism because there is an unfortunate history of shootings in Scandinavia, and I agree that's why I changed my mind when reports of the shooting came in, but it was hours before those reports came in, so I was reacting to a car bomb outside the Prime Minister's office (not just any old Government building).

bob is right in saying it's conditioning, but I disagree that it's all media conditioning. For me personally it's also to do with the history of car bomb attacks in different countries (including the UK), and that this was set off without any warning given. I've been to Norway, and it's one of those places that seems to have so much cultural connection to the UK. Because car bombs of the size that seemed apparent are not usually the actions of an individual, and I couldn't think of any organisation in Norway that had militant tendancies against the Government, I looked to the next logical answer.

Islamaphobia is about fear and/or hatred of Islam, whether consciously or not. As I mentioned earlier, my initial reaction was that this will play into the hands of right wingers in Norway and elsewhere. The fact that a lot of media in the Middle East and other Muslim countries seemed to report the same kind of reaction suggests to me that either it was a natural reaction (which is what I contend), or that all those countries are alcos Islamaphobic.

 
Neotenic
834482.  Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:57 am Reply with quote

At last, it seems, there is a certain amount of good news - that the final death toll has been revised down from 93 to 'only' 76.

A small mercy, but a mercy nevertheless.

I think we're also seeing why he didn't top himself, too - it's becoming increasingly clear that he wanted to use his trial as a platform for his point of view - The pictures of him gazing almost smugly out of the police car and his requests to wear a uniform and read a speech at his initial court hearing suggest to me that he's going to now try to set himself up as a poster boy - rather than a martyr - for the disaffected.

The thing I find weird about what we hear about his ideology, though, is this use of the term 'cultural Marxism' - but I would have thought that the term would relate to a hegemenous society, which seems to me to be precisely the thing he was wanting to preseve.

 
Celebaelin
834500.  Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:03 am Reply with quote

I'm not sure you're right there Neo; what the child-murderer is referring to is the egalitarian treatment of those of different ethnic backgrounds - which the current hegemony favours.

Ironically of course Islamic supremacists in the UK have been making substantial inroads towards eradicating any religious or cultural freedom that might have been accorded muslims by dint of their unflinching insistence that they shall, by the will of their God, come to rule and dominate.

This incident in Norway and its reporting has the potential to make us all examine how our tolerance for muslims in particular has been eroded because of terrorist threats. If we accept that the next question we have to address is how justified we are in this. In the current climate of high-profile enmity between extremist Islamic groups and Western governments an assumption of Islamic involvement was not an unnatural response and I suspect many of us made that link internally - I certainly did. We are not professional news providers however so we did not (I assume) then rush out to tell everyone and anyone our thoughts on the matter and neither do we expect journalists, with their greater access to available information, to speculate in such a manner.

We, jointly, are starting to worry about the extent to which we cast Islamic terrorists as the only persons likely to want kill Western civilians with bombs and guns. In truth they still have to be pretty high on the list of suspects but, sadly, they're not the only potential candidates.

 

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