People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 34

August 21, 2011



Slaughter in Oslo


Yohannan Chemerapally


THE killing spree in late July by the self confessed right wing Christian radical, Anders Behring Breivik, has brought into sharp focus the role of right wing groups in fostering terrorism in Europe and many other parts of the world including the US and India. In fact many commentators are saying that the gravest threat the world faces today is from the far right neo-fascists and right wing fundamentalist groups which have their roots in the Europe and the US. Europol, the European Police Agency has suggested that the threat from Islamist terrorism is minimal as compared to with “ethno-nationalist” and “separatist” terrorism. The overwhelming majority of terror attacks on the European continent in the last couple of years have been attributed to nationalistic, neo-Nazi and separatist groups like ETA.


Breivik in his posting on the internet had words of appreciation for the right wing groups in the US as well as the Hindutva forces in India. Scandinavia till recently was known for its secular outlook as well as religious tolerance. But things have evidently changed since the beginning of the last decade. Several extremist right wing parties have sprung up all over the region, including Norway. These parties feel that the governments in Europe have not done enough to protect western culture  from the growing threat of so called “Islamification.” Many of these parties are represented in the legislatures of various Scandinavian countries.


In Denmark, Norway and Finland, these parties in fact now have an influential role in politics. The racist right wing Progress Party in Norway has been making steady gains. In Holland, the Freedom Party led by by the bigot Geert Wilders won a significant percentage of the votes in the last elections. The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats were elected to the country’s parliament for the first time last year. The party had its roots in the neo-Nazi movements. In parliamentary elections in 2005 and 2009, Norway’s Progress Party won about 20 per cent of the vote. In France, the openly anti-Islamic National Front led by Marine LePen is poised to get the largest percentage of votes when presidential elections are held next year. 


These countries had once welcomed immigrants from the developing world with open arms. But the events of the last decade, precipitated by the events of 9/11 have led to the rise of xenophobic political parties. Leading political figures in Europe, including the David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy amd Angela Merkel started openly criticising the concept of multiculturism. Breivik in his manifesto recorded in a diary derided multiculturism, describing it as “an anti European hate ideology designed to deconstruct European cultures and traditions, European identities, European Christendom and even European Christian nation states. And as such, it is an evil genocidal  ideology created for the sole purpose of annihilating everything European”. The Muslim immigrants in Europe are among the poorest of the poor. There are an estimated 16 million Muslims in Europe out of a population of half a billion.  The 32 year old killer also professed his admiration for the state of Israel and the Tea Party Movement in the USA. He wanted a similar Tea Party type movement to be organised in Europe. Breivik’s manifesto was inspired by the anti-technology manifesto of another right wing terrorist, the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, currently serving time in a US prison for sending mail bombs which killed three people and injured 23 others.


Breivik chose not to attack a mosque or Muslims but instead chose to target the ruling Labour Party and government buildings. The Christian right in Norway has been very critical of the government of prime minister Jens Stoltenberg for its stance on immigration and multiculturism. Breivik had gone to a Labour Party youth camp in Utoya island  near Oslo with the express purpose of killing as many of the participants as he could. More than 90 people, many of them children were killed by the lone gunman who first planted high powered explosives near the prime minister’s office and then embarked on his killing spree. It was a clear message that the right wing xenophobic groups consider those political parties and governments facilitating the alleged “Islamification of Europe” as the primary targets. Breivik’s actions are the second biggest massacre of innocents by a lone actor. Timothy McVeigh, another Christian right wing fundamentalist had blown up the Alfred P Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in the USA in 1995 with a truckload of fertilisers killing 168 people and injuring 450. McVeigh is still viewed by fringe right wing groups in the US as a hero.


For a very brief period, western government and the media, were reluctant to admit that the heinous terror act was carried out by Christian terrorist. President Barack Obama  was quick to issue a statement that suggested that Muslim groups were to be blamed. Televison networks like CNN and Fox were quick to assume that the culprits belonged to the “jihadist hydra”. Most of the commentators also sympathised with Norway, describing it as a pacifist nation. Norway however is a NATO member and has participated enthusiastically in many of the organisation's military campaigns, including the latest one in Libya. In fact, Norwegian planes have dropped the largest number of bombs over Libya than they have in other NATO led invasions of third world countries.