In possession of no greater than a scintilla of evidence, news casters rushed in where angels fear to tread and blamed Muslim hardliners for the terrorist attacks in Norway. It was all speculation. Their reasoning: Al Qaeda had Norway on its hit list because of the Scandinavian country’s participation in the war on terror. There was a spoke in the wheel of their easy theory-the man arrested was blonde and blue eyed- so they skirted the facts standing in the way of prejudice and sensationalism, and described the terrorist as a homegrown al Qaeda convert and zealot.
What now that the mass murderer is a Christian madman? Will the world wage war on Christians as it has waged war against Muslims? Will it fairly apply its racial profiling security systems and pull aside every blonde man with blue eyes in airports? Isn’t this what we did to Muslims or anyone with a tan after 9/11? This lunatic wasn’t the first fair skinned, fair eyed assassin. The Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy Mc Veigh was a right wing all American boy next door. Yet according to the western media, the crazies reside in Iran and Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Norway attacks have proven that the war on terror is largely a PR war, which is being conducted mainly in and by the mainstream western media. Terrorists exist worldwide and terrorism has been repeatedly used by marginalized groups as a means to political power. Why should terrorism be associated solely with Muslims? 9/11 was the most brutal attack in history, but it was one of hundreds, perhaps thousands. We have been brainwashed into seeing Muslims as the enemy. Perhaps now Hollywood can start to produce a few more blockbusters in which the villain is white and Christian. I am all for equality when it comes to stereotyping.
A Norwegian woman summed up the meaningless prejudice, “What does his religion matter? He is a killer and people are dead.” She hit the nail on the head. I can’t imagine the young people slaughtered out on the island asking their shooter to declare his faith before he assassinated them. Terrorists are prepared to kill for their cause, whatever that cause may be.
From the stoic Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg we had pure pearls of wisdom. A man could kill people, he declared, but he could not kill a nation. Norway would not cease to be a free society because of one madman. It would not introduce draconian laws which would confiscate its people’s freedoms. Norway would not change Norway. The world might be describing the bloodshed as Norway’s 9/11, but Norway was going to show the world and the people of the land of the free and the home of the brave how you truly fight terrorism.
A terrorist’s objective is to plant seeds of fear in the minds of his enemy and to alter his lifestyle. Al Qaeda did not vanquish the US when the planes hit the Twin Towers. It won the war when the US and its allies panicked and stripped their citizens of the basic constitutional rights upon which western democracy is founded. After 9/11, Americans did not come out into the streets in silent protest as the Norwegians have. They did not claim the land back for the people-they sat at home and urged their government to launch missiles on innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq. Congress hurriedly passed an oppressive Patriot Act without reading the legislation.
Norway’s homegrown Christian terrorist has killed scores of Norwegians but if the people of Norway live exactly like they did before last week’s bombing and shooting the killer’s victory is hollow. He has taken lives, but he not altered the fabric of Norwegian society, which is clearly the terrorist’s ultimate intention. While this blonde, blue eyed boy is for eternity locked up in a prison, outside his fellow citizens are as free as ever, perhaps made freer by the resolve he stoked when he set off his bomb and fired his gun at them.
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