Norway’s Massacre: Blurring the Lines Between Mainstream Politics and Extreme Right Politics
By: La Septieme Wilaya
We all sat in our living-rooms watching in awe the horrific images of young boys and girls killed in their prime by another extremist. This time, this one is Norwegian. He could have been French or British or German or Italian or Dutch and the same horrific feelings would have grabbed us in the pit of our stomach. In fact, with all the extreme and poisonous political rhetoric of late, it is a wonder that images like these have not become part of our daily routine. When mainstream politicians like Merkel or Sarkozy or Geant or Fillion or Boris or Ruttle or Berlusconi embrace extreme right racist and radical rhetoric, make that rhetoric part of their daily political speech, desensitize it, trivialize it and elevate it to the highest spheres of power, then that toxic, venomous, and spiteful speech tend to have consequences. And those consequences tend to be measured in body count.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, images like these have the tendencies to be seared in our collective memory, and before senseless acts like these, we tend ask ourselves again and again, why? Why did he do that? Why did all these young people have to die like this? But deep in our hearts, we all do have an answer, or just the beginning of it. We all know that although Anders Behring Breivik committed this crime alone, he had many accomplices throughout Europe who helped him select the target, find the place, choose the time, and pull the trigger. But these accomplices are not going to stand trial or face a jury, and be held accountable for their acts. These are the kind of accomplices who walk between raindrops like magicians, and dance on razor blades like tightrope walkers from hell. These acrobatic politicians, these wordsmiths of modern political rhetoric, gently yet viciously, maleficiently, and systematically attack Europe’s multiculturalism, Europe’s Muslim community, immigrants, and colored Europeans and hold them responsible for all Europe’s ills and sufferings.
We all are used to hearing extreme speeches in the mouth of Jean Marie-Marine Le Pen or Guus Looy or Roeland Raes or Pia Kjaersgaard or Nick Griffin or Jorg Haider or Geert Wilder or any other two-bit extreme right politician. We are not and we cannot be surprised to hear Geert Wilder say that Al-Hijab is a form of terrorism or hear Nick Griffin and Marine Le Pen argue that Muslims have invaded Europe and are changing its cultural character, or hear Pia Kjaersgaard declare that multiculturalism is a death sentence to Europe’s superior culture. We expect extreme right politicians to hold speeches like these consistent with their political ideology. However, what we do not expect is when mainstream conservative politicians start shopping in the extreme right grocery stores of hate and intolerance. Faced with their political failures, and their inability to create jobs and a sustainable economic growth, mainstream right politicians slowly started a systemic radicalization of their political rhetoric. We all heard Berlusconi’s prejudicial description of Italian Muslims and all Muslims as backwards people with backwards culture. We all heard Sarkozy’s attacks on French Muslims. We all heard Geant’s Nazi like declaration about multiculturalism. We all heard Merkel, Boris Johnson, and Cameron declaring multiculturalism a failure and a danger to Europe’s “mainstream identity.” We also all witnessed racist (and unconstitutional in most instances) laws passed by French, Belgian, German, Dutch, Italian, and Swiss parliaments banning the Islamic scarf, banning Al-Niqab, banning the construction of mosques, curbing asylum demands from Muslim countries and so on.
All of this political radicalization took place in an environment rife with hate speech and extreme rhetoric. The speech that used to be taboo has become trivialized and banalized. The lines between the extreme right parties and the mainstream right parties have been blurred. In an attempt to attract the extreme right vote and courting the extremists, mainstream politicians prostituted themselves on the extreme right sidewalks. It became almost impossible to distinguish between and extreme right politicians talking on television and a mainstream politicians, unless we read the nametags.
It is in this poisonous environment created by mainstream conservative politicians that Anders Behring Breivik evolved. He saw what used to be taboo become mainstream. He witnessed his leaders validating all his sick extremist theories. He saw that his beliefs are no longer shameful or outside societal boundaries. This comfort that all these mainstream conservative politicians have given him pushed him to act out his psychopathic fantasies. And act out he did. And he did not do it alone.