Readings for Understanding Norway's Tragedy.I left town Friday and went without a computer for four days, but I was able to post a disclaimer and keep reading throughout that time. What follows are some good sources to read to cover the news of Anders Behring Breivik's terrorist attack.
First, some basics:
- Breivik is a terrorist. While that term is now defined subjectively (based on who the culprit is) in our current lamestream media, it still has an objective meaning: Attacking or threatening innocent human life for political purposes.1
- Culture is more important than religion to Breivik. He emphasizes the history of European Christendom, not its theology.2
- The motivation was political. While the targets should be enough to establish this, Breivik has thankfully left a clear record of his political motivation.
- Breivik is a fascist. See the modern definition of fascism to see the connection. (Scroll down once to the first subheading)
- He also blames feminism. The unifying theme to his motivation is his antipathy for "Cultural Marxists."3
A good quick update is at CNN, "Latest developments in Norway terror attacks" July 26, 2011. Kudos to CNN for stating "terror" in the hed.
Religion Dispatches is a great site in general, and doubly so specifically on this story. Their tag for Anders Behring Breivik is, and will continue to be, an excellent resource. Sarah Posner was already in my RSS feed and has several good articles so far. I'll be coming back to this site for sure.
Glenn Greenwald is incomparable, the subjective "terrorism" definition point is his, and he had as good a first response opinion, which is pretty hard to get right, as I've seen. Although just repeating these points four days later isn't very good.
Justin Raimondo, of AntiWar.com, is someone I should probably read and link to more. "The Crusader" July 24, 2011.
A couple of articles that I haven't read yet, but trust the authors to deliver the goods:
Chris Hedges, "Fundamentalism Kills" Truthdig.com, July 26, 2011.WHOA! Should have at least read the first paragraph! Update here.
- Spencer Ackerman, "Whether He Knows It Or Not, Breivik Is A Member of al-Qaida" July 24, 2011.
Yet it is important, nevertheless, for all observers to remain as humble and objective as possible in the face of the facts of a horror like this. Reaching for larger sociological or even political explanations of events of this kind is understandable. But it risks missing the reality that this was perhaps, above all, a catastrophic psychopathic event. The full facts about the killings in Oslo and Utøya have not yet been fully assembled. That work must be awaited with thoroughness and patience. Most of the evidence, however, including statements now made by the killer in police interviews – suggests that Anders Behring Breivik acted alone, without accomplices and not as part of any wider conspiracy, let alone a wider militant Islamist conspiracy as initially speculated.It is quite humble and objective to conclude that there was a political motivation to the attacks. It is rather difficult to use the word "explanation" in this discussion. The rational category of "explanation" doesn't apply here. Also, saying that it was, "above all, a catastrophic psychopathic event" is obscuring reality more than clarifying it. Finally, whether he acted alone or not, while immediately important for the police to find out, isn't important in the meaning of this tragedy. There are worse sections in the editorial, but they will have to wait.
1 Maybe "terrorist" is unrecoverable: Johan Galtung on Democracy Now! on July 29, 2011.
2 Of course, it's not as simple as that: Jeff Sharlet on Democracy Now! on July 27, 2011.
3 Good coverage of this subject: Eva Gabrielsson, lifelong partner of Stieg Larsson. While he was alive, Larsson was best know as a journalist covering the extreme right-wing movement in Europe. Gabrielsson on Democracy Now! on July 27, 2011.