Nurturing an ‘Oslo moment’

By Raffique Shah
July 30, 2011

Raffique ShahMY instinctive reaction when I first learned of the carnage that Anders Breivik unleashed in Norway was, “He is a very mad man…sick!” I imagine most persons reacted similarly to the terror, the deaths of innocent Norwegians this lone lunatic inflicted within a few hours. Norway is one of the least controversial countries in the world. It is wealthy, it has a near-perfect blend of economic and social policies, and it provides a refuge for less fortunate people from elsewhere in this imperfect world.

So what could drive anyone—Islamic fundamentalist, right-wing extremist, anarchist—to launch a deadly attack in Oslo and the nearby Utoya resort island? Norway is not America, poking its nose and death-dealing drones in poor and poorly-armed countries across the world. It is not France, where President Sarkozy promotes xenophobia as national policy. It is not Britain, which has metamorphosed from a lion into Washington’s lap-dog-of-war. These countries invite retribution. The same cannot be said of Norway.

When details on Breivik and the horror of the well-planned attacks he executed emerged in the ensuing days, I realised that this man was neither sick nor mad. He is the toxic by-product of a range of sub-cultures of intolerance and fundamentalism that stalk the modern world. Even more chilling, what happened in Norway could happen here.

Breivik is one manifestation of a resurging wave of Hitler racist clones that has risen from the ashes of Nazi Germany and mushroomed across all of Europe, from France, Britain and Holland in the west, to Poland, Ukraine and Russia in the east. It is chewing the soul of America, the Tea Party movement being the visible part of this destructive iceberg.

It has spawned Islamophobia, a warped view of one of the world’s established religions. Mark you, Muslim fundamentalists like the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and their clones across the world, have provoked this world-view of a religion that is supposedly rooted in peace. A Muslim greets another saying, “Peace be unto you.” Some self-styled purists in the faith have changed the rules and practices to the extent that I, who was born a Muslim, do not recognise the religion I once practised.

That said, a similar metamorphosis has occurred in other mainstream religions. Christianity has seen the rapid rise of extremism in its many money-driven offshoots. Interestingly, Breivik saw himself as one of the ancient Christian crusaders, a latter-day knight centaur. And Hinduism has not escaped the warped elitism that seems to the lowest common denominator among religious extremists.

This culture of intolerance of others, of their right to practise religion as they see fit, or not to believe in God, is not restricted to religions or people of faith. It looms large in politics, in our day-to-day existence. While technology has provided man with tools of development, these very instruments are used for nefarious ends by the likes of Breivik. Indeed, the Nordic terrorist, like so many of his fellow-purveyors of hate and destruction, used the Internet to gain “kno wledge”, to write a voluminous “manifesto”, and to promote his crazy ideas.

Which brings me to the prospect of cyber-fed and cyber-led madness taking root here in Trinidad and Tobago. Readers who monitor “blogs” would know of what I write. While the so-called “social networks” have served as a useful tool in freeing up expressions of opinions, and even triggered welcome political and social changes, they are, regrettably, crude weapons in the hands of cruder minds.

The venom and rabid intolerance of others’ views that are peddled via the Internet are alarming. Partisan politics hold centrestage, with adherents to one party or other hurling vile abuse at their perceived enemies. The language is invariably coarse. The exchanges are acidic. And worst of all, the persons who promote the mischief remain faceless.

The bile spewed, which can lead to erratic, Breivik-like madmen resorting to violence, is not confined to the Internet. Many radio talk show hosts spew untreated sewage via the airwaves, and their callers compress the “tatah” into potentially explosive manure. There are exceptions to this generalisation—David Muhammad and Dale Enoch come to mind. But sober, informed discussion and debate are sorely lacking on the nation’s cluttered airwaves.

This tripe has already triggered mindless violence in other countries. An online article titled “A Willing Executioner”, credited to “Left Coast Breakdown”, tells of Oakland (USA) police pulling aside a wayward, speeding truck—only to face pistol and rifle fire. When they eventually arrested the wounded driver, Byron Williams, he told them he was on his way to massacre everyone at the offices of two liberal organisations, the Tides Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Why? According to the article, “Glenn Beck had been railing on his television and radio shows about Tides, which he identified as part of an “evil” network, funded by George Soros, that represented an existential threat to the United States. Beck had vilified Tides on 29 different shows, weaving an image of a shadow network of traitors and corrupters bent on destroying America.”

Williams told police, “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn’t for the fact that Beck was on there.”

This article, and others I read in the wake of the Breivik madness, point to the dangers of extremism and fundamentalism in any form—religious, political or secular. All it takes for an “Oslo moment” is one fool to believe what he hears or reads, and a decision to act in the name of some nebulous “cause”.

Nuff said.

10 thoughts on “Nurturing an ‘Oslo moment’”

  1. “The venom and rabid intolerance of others’ views that are peddled via the Internet are alarming. Partisan politics hold centrestage, with adherents to one party or other hurling vile abuse at their perceived enemies. The language is invariably coarse. The exchanges are acidic.” (SHAH)

    There are some regular contributors on this newsblog who should heed the words of Raffique Shah.
    They use outrageous and obscene language and expressions to critize other bloggers.
    The editors also have a responsibility to properly screen those who are guilty of these abusive and hateful offences. Furthermore,I wonder if these bloggers are fully aware of the legal consequences of using hate language, advocating violence and spreading hatred against others.

  2. Don’t you think that the source of all this reside in our education system? Rote Learning.

    I don’t know about you but when I went to school we came to our classroom with questions. The classroom wasn’t a place where the teacher presided as priest, pastor, cleric, or rabbi. Of course there were some things which required memorization through repetition but they were usually what students hated most. (multiplication tables; standard of weights and measures; come to mind)

    In my experience students preferred the exchange of information that occured between students and teachers. We have become so exam/test oriented that not only are we leaving behind a large segment of humanity who aren’t biologically adept to absorb this way, but through this method our schools are churning out mere automatons. It’s no wonder autism, asperger, schizophrenia, ADHD, and bi-polar disorder is on the rise.

    Interestingly enough the departments that suffer most from un-funding and under-funding are those that engender creativity and critical thinking. It’s no wonder the world has become a dark and depressed place where people seek escape from their minds through narcotics. The Golden Age of the Renaissance is long behind us and doesn’t seem likely to return any time soon.

  3. “Christianity has seen the rapid rise of extremism in its many money-driven offshoots. Interestingly, Breivik saw himself as one of the ancient Christian crusaders, a latter-day knight centaur”

    I beg to differ. Anders Breivik was no Christian. He wrote a 1500 page manifesto condemning women, multiculturalism, Islam etc. But to say he is a Christian is wrong. All his association with Christianity is only to advance his vision of the world. Murdering his own people, training for hours on the video games to commit such atrocious acts.

    No he did not go about murdering Muslims in the name of Christ. Rather he is a very sick man who has a very distorted view of the world.

  4. You must do some more research before you write. I have to live with my injuries from Yara since 1990s with little compensation. You remember your NIS article or is your memory too short. Yara factors in that getting rid of injured workers with no injury benefit (no incident investigation with crooked doctors/lawyers on board to minimize costs), no severence benefits with crooked OWTU presidents who sleep in the same bed. Man I am not the only one – I am man enough to talk out. But God doh sleep let them feel some pain now. You must investigate the roots of the Klu Klux Clan in the USA. Man …you need to open your ears and eyes more. Yara has stolen billions in USD from us as they signed secret deals with a former PM friend who I am told is suffering for his sins now as we speak – God doh forget…yes he forgives but we must pay for our sins

  5. Well said Mamoo…………

    It is obvious Breivik is in need of a psychological assessment to ascertain his level of competence to partake in his impending trial.

    Diminished responsibility is the preferred outcome, for to deliberately undertake such an atrocity would dictate the need for us to investigate and find the root cause to avoid future carnage.

    1. Breivik in his manifesto was calling on the Hindvta and Jewish groups to stop the spread of Islam. What the West is experiencing now, India has had to live with for centuries. When the Moguls invaded India they chop off the heads of anyone who would not accept Islam and made the young girls part of their harem. They took Hindu holy sites and built mosque.

      Today Pakistan is the only Islamic nation with nuclear weapons. They are building more of these weapons of mass destruction each day to eventually use against India with China’s help. And if ever there is a nation prepared to use nuclear weapons it is Pakistan. Dirt poor but it’s economy is sustained by American (the great satan) good will and Chinese special interest.

  6. Breivik is just one devil that has come out my friend. When the Godliness in us is forced out by our free will …this is the consequence ….too many leaders from rich countries like Norway (in this case using North Sea oil revenue) to exploit and pauperise particularly black countries like Trinidad 9as in Yara) and when you talk out they castrate you ….but God watches all the time as legal systems as in Trinidad turns a blind eye. People in Trinidad live in ignorance and propaganda as the truth is submerged.

  7. You must understand the problem that still exists. You must understand the real problem is black vs white …the more things change the more they remain the same. North Africa is seeing this now. Only the changing of the guard is taking place there. In Trinidad the game disguises as “per divide and rule” and into African vs Indian or haves vs havenots but it is the same as elsewhere. Do not get tie up with history lessons of the past. My great grandmother was an African slave who was dragged in the filty bastard french slave owner bed and raped. Ironically a bastard french man runs the flag ship at Yara in Trinidad for the Norwegian bosses who tell our government where to go. Another bastard frenchman once ruled in the IMF and France says nothing is wrong with that. Understand what is really happening in your back yard though …no different in Norway. God is in everything we do.

  8. God allows the atrocities but we must come back to him and pay our dues before we see the really good life. At the moment the whiteman is so devious he is interfering with family life but time will come when he will be brought to his knees. We cannot retaliate for God says “vengeance is mine”.

  9. Time for trinis to stop hiding in the bush likes a pack of cowards.
    The killing will not stop when you hid in the bush from the devils that are operating as untouchables

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