I am scared for my family in Oslo, even though I already know they are safe. I am scared for my sister's and my friends' friends, whose safety I do not know about yet.
I am heartbroken and crying for the people who lost their lives, for their families and all the people who loved them, and for all the people of Norway who survived and witnessed and must now cope with this trauma. Summer camp means something very special to me, and that someone could use a gathering of young people as an opportunity for such incredible violence makes my soul sick.
I am angry at the news media for initially reporting that Norway had no domestic terrorists and citing all kinds of possible motivations for the perpetrators to be members of radical Islamic groups (e.g., the Mohammad cartoon and fall-out, Norway's NATO participation in Afghanistan) when there was no evidence that these groups had anything to do with the killings. I am even more angry because once actual evidence came to light, it became clear that the main suspect is an anti-Islamic Neo-Nazi terrorist who is also a white, Christian political conservative.
I am scared for Muslims and for people of colour in Norway and surrounding countries who may be targeted for violence, or may have suffered from the early assumptions people made about who was responsible for the bombing and shootings. I am scared for everyone in Norway who could be a target for people who shared the racist, anti-liberal beliefs of Anders Behring Breivik.
I am angry at the people who hate enough to kill. I am angry with the people whose intolerance, hatred, bigotry, and ignorance contribute to an environment where these ideologies fester, whether they pick up a gun or not.
I am scared that something like this will happen here, in my country. I don't believe there is any reason why it couldn't. Reading the commentary on the news websites yesterday when they were still talking about Muslim terrorists shows me all I need to know about the character of my country's citizens.
I am sad, I am angry, I am scared, and I am tired.
From the above-linked article:
In the decade since 9/11, Al Qaeda and its regional affiliates have been regarded as the greatest threat, while some say problems of extremist right wing groups opposed to Norway’s immigration have gone unchecked.
“It’s unreal. Here?” said Renee Clasen as she stood at the shrine of flowers near the bomb site, squinting her watering eyes in the setting sun Saturday.
Clasen was at her office at a publishing company near the bomb blast Friday and like many others assumed as she ran terrified from the crumbling building that Oslo had been struck by a radical Islamic group.
She believed it was her business that was targeted since her company was about to publish a book with Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, a flashpoint for radical jihadi groups.ETA: The BBC website has an article detailing the recent history of Neo-Nazi extremist groups in Norway and surrounding countries.
These groups are not anomalous - I have grown up around them. We cannot continue to assume that we can identify people with violent political beliefs based on differences in national, cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
ETA 2 (07/24/11): The New York Times finally confirms one of my fears regarding who specifically was targeted among the youth at the camp:
Organized by the youth wing of the ruling Labor Party, the camp has become a kind of multicultural incubator in recent years. Many of the victims in Friday’s shooting were the children of immigrants from Africa and Asia who have begun to stake out a greater role for themselves in Norwegian society.ETA 3: More links as people begin to dissect Breivik's 1,500 page manifesto, which was written in English and distributed to a number of people shortly before he put his plans into action.
Over at Manboobz, David Futrelle offers a partial overview of Breivik's misogyny and its similarities to the usual MRA tropes. It does not surprise me that Breivik would exemplify every possible toxic hyper-conservative attitude.
P. Z. Myers takes on Breivik's attitudes toward atheism and Christianity, but makes the error of suggesting that Breivik must be delusional and mentally unsound (using plenty of ableist language to do it, dammit).
Hradzka at Dreamwidth does a better job in his analysis of Breivik's overall planning process of explaining why Breivik does not have to be (and almost certainly was not) mentally unstable to carry out his actions the way he did - his methodical and clear-headed planning and execution of his intentions is what allowed him to wreak such devastating carnage. He (indirectly) corrects Myers' misconception that the World of Warcraft/MMORPG style of the manifesto is a indication of immaturity or insanity - in fact, it may well have been a conscious and intelligent tactical decision to mask its true character in the event of premature discovery. I find this interpretation of Breivik far more plausible and far, far more terrifying than that of the gun-happy mad man.
Unfortunately, in another otherwise insightful piece, Hradzka makes the assertion that it made sense to initially suspect Muslim terrorist groups because of their nigh unique propensity for "spectacularly violent acts", but his own writing does not back this up - he references only one Islamic terrorist group with this history (Al Qaeda) and two others who are not Muslim (Timothy McVeigh and a South Korean man, Woo Bum-kon), and other non-Muslim examples are raised in the comments.
The most chilling outcome of Hradzka's analysis is the possibility that Breivik's strategies, which he outlines in detail in his manifesto, will become a template for individuals already primed for this kind of violence. We cannot - WE CANNOT - continue to ignore what these extreme right-wing ideologies have wrought, especially as they continue to grow in political power and social support. We must bring people together with a common empathy and respect.
ETA 4: I am aware of the increasing inappropriateness of this post title.