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Selvam Canagaratna, the Island [Sri Lanka]: Was Oslo killer following GWBush’s & Barack Obama’s example of… – The ‘Righteous Killing’ of Saddam and Osama?

Was Oslo killer following GWBush’s & Barack Obama’s example of… – The ‘Righteous Killing’ of Saddam and Osama?
by Selvam Canagaratna, August 7, 2011

“The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.” — Eric Hoffer. The True Believer (1951)

Joseph Goebbels, the one-time Nazi Propaganda chief, calls his boss, Adolf Hitler, by hell-phone.

“Mein Fuhrer.” he exclaims excitedly. “News from the world. It seems we were on the right track, after all. AntiSemitism is conquering Europe!”

“Good!” the Fuhrer says. “That will be the end of the Jews!”

“Hmmm…. Well, not exactly, mein Fuhrer. It looks as though we chose the wrong Semites. Our heirs, the new Nazis, are going to annihilate the Arabs and all the other Muslims in Europe.”

“But what about the Jews?” Hitler insists.

“You won’t believe this: the new Nazis love Israel, the Jewish State – and Israel loves them!’”

That’s the opening salvo in Israeli writer and activist Uri Avnery’s response to the Oslo massacre, titled The New Anti-Semitism.

Avnery also notes the speed with which right-wing extremists all over Europe and the US distanced themselves from the killer, calling him “a loner with a deranged mind.” There are crazy people everywhere, was the crux of the `message’, so one cannot condemn a whole political camp for the deeds of one single person!

Avnery counters the argument by recalling that many of the Islamophobic parties and groups reminded one of the atmosphere of Germany in the early 1920s, when “groups and militias were spreading their hateful poison, and an army spy called Adolf Hitler was earning his first laurels as an Anti-Semitic orator. They looked unimportant, marginal, even crazy. Many laughed at this man Hitler, the Chaplinesque mustachioed clown.

“But the abortive Nazi putsch of 1923 was followed by 1933 when the Nazis took power, and 1939, when Hitler started World War II and 1942, when the gas chambers were brought into operation.

“It is the beginnings which are critical.” stressed Avnery, “when political opportunists realize that arousing fear and hatred is the easiest way to fortune and power, when social misfits become nationalist and religious fanatics, when attacking helpless minorities becomes acceptable as legitimate politics, when funny little men turn into monsters. Is that Dr. Goebbels I hear laughing in hell?”

Diane Christian. author of Blood Sacrifice, having noted that the gunman Anders Behring Breivik had been described as “a gun-loving, highly religious Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as a threat of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration to the cultural and-patriotic values of his country,” recalled the comment of Anders Romarheim, a Fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies, on hearing of the massacre: “It was international Jihadism that we feared. But what we have now is more painful in terms of a re-evaluation of ourselves”.

In Diane’s view Norway, compared to the US, had far better gun regulation, less crime, no death penalty, humane prisons and far less war-making. “So it will be interesting to see how this perpetrator will be pigeonholed. Which of the elements named will be blamed? Will the trouble be guns or Christian fundamentalism or right-wing nationalist politics? Or simply belief in righteous killing?”

That last ‘element’, or the ‘follow-the-leader’ mentality, was what troubled Diane. “America is obsessed with it,” she wrote. “Our Presidents speak righteously of ‘taking out’ evildoers like Saddam and Bin-Laden. Righteous Killing is the dangerous belief that infects most of the world and that we deny and delude ourselves about.”

[Like it or not, the Oslo massacre is indeed an eerie and unmistakable echo of that outrageously inhuman concept of ‘Righteous Killing’ zealously espoused ever since 9/11 by that Accidental Prez George and his warmongering ‘enablers’ Dick and Donald, a policy which was stridently decried by a presidential hopeful all throughout 2008, only to be embraced far more spiritedly [and made his very own] by Barack Obama from his first day in the Oval Office, come January 20. 2009]

Vijay Prashad, the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT, says he recalled “the ineluctable history of Nazism and the Second World War” when his I-Phone pinged to give him news of the bombing in Oslo and the massacre on Utoya Island.

The dead were from the Workers’ Youth League (AUF), linked to the Norwegian Labour Party, but with roots in the Communist and Socialist movements of the 1920s. The current Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, was once leader of the AUF. “The initial reaction in the West was that the attacks had been conducted by Muslim jihadis. This has become a habit — after the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, CBS’s Jim Stewart said, ‘The betting here is on Middle East terrorists.’ Of course this was more Mid-West than Mid-East, but there was no apology from the media to the Muslims in America.”

“A brave history of pacifism partly contained in the Norwegian Labour Party, kept the country out of World War I,” he wrote. “Its ports and a direct route to Swedish iron ore made it irresistible to the Nazis, whose forces invaded a largely unprotected Norway in 1940.

“To run the country, the Nazis turned to the leader of the Norwegian Nasjonal Samling, the local Nazi Party, Vidkun Quisling (from whom we get the noun for traitor). It was the Quisling era (replete with concentration camps) that planted the tree of Nazism in Norwegian soil. The remnants of Scandinavian Nazis regrouped after World War II, but they remained small and obscure.”

Scandinavian social democracy stumbled by the 1980s as the economic benefits of its welfare state were reduced. Prashad noted. Anti-immigrant and anti-left sentiment grew amongst sections of the dispossessed working-class and middle-class. whose more militant element formed the Skinheads.

In Norway, the Skinheads morphed into groups such as the Boot Boys, who spent their time trolling the streets seeking out migrants. When, in 2002, three of the Boot Boys killed a fifteen-year-old, the newspaper Dagsavisen wrote. “This must open the eyes of the authorities and all those who don’t want to acknowledge the existence of Nazism and racism in Norway.”

Prashad recalled that above his desk he had a poster from a demonstration led by the Anti-Fascistik Aktion in Copenhagen in June 1995 which read ‘No Fucking Fascists’, adding: “That is the sentiment of the more than ninety young people of the AUF killed last week. Breivik was certainly a right-wing militant, and without a doubt inspired by the Euro-fascism of Merkel-Sarkozy-Cameron. The press might be obsessed by their ‘lone gunman’ theory. They see things in the police’s terms, which is to say, in terms of who actually acted, and who provided material support for the action. The action in Utoya was not the act of a madman, and it was not a human tragedy. It was an act of political murder against people who had committed themselves to a convivial world not only for their beloved Norway, but also for those who live under Occupation elsewhere.”

Binoy Kampmark, a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge, wrote: “The irrational sentiment is often misunderstood. It is not a valued commodity these days, even if, as Albert Camus recalls in his notebooks after the Second World War, it was the only thing that kept creativity alive. After all, rational beings created the gas chambers and camps running to the bellicose melodies of Richard Wagner. Breivik was, in a sense, placing a form of rationalism behind the gun.”

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