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April 26, 2012 6:34 AM   Subscribe

Tens of thousands of Norwegians rose up and sang a song to protest the thoughts and beliefs of Anders Behring Breivik. Anders Behring Breivik is currently on trial for having killed over 70 people during a day of infamy in Norway on July 23, 2011 (previously) Breivik is on record as having derided a particular song for encouraging multiculturalism and tolerance. 40,000 or so Norwegians have decided to show him what they think of his opinions.
posted by h00py (98 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been thinking a lot about this whole thing, moreso since the trial started. What really upsets me is that Breivik got exactly what he wanted: a platform from which to spew all of his vile ramblings, to have it reach as many people as possible.

And I've been trying to think, what can you really do to counter-act that? How can you do the best with this horrible situation? So this is a really nice response. Thanks, Norway.

[The writer of the song] led the chorus as the crowd, including many children who came with their nursery and elementary schools, sang along, waving roses in the air.

Afterwards they walked slowly together, still singing the song, to the courthouse to add their roses to the piles of flowers already lining the security barriers outside in memory of Breivik's victims.

posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:44 AM on April 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Video of the protest.

The Pete Seeger original:
Don't you know you can't kill all the unbelievers?
There's no shortcut to freedom.

posted by zamboni at 6:48 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


And I've been trying to think, what can you really do to counter-act that?

Any time his views or voice are played in the media, it should be altered to sound like Alvin the Chipmunk.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:51 AM on April 26, 2012 [38 favorites]


What really upsets me is that Breivik got exactly what he wanted: a platform from which to spew all of his vile ramblings, to have it reach as many people as possible.

Even Norweigans agree that he needs to be heard and then tried. I look at the folks in the courtroom and remark the...patience they have with this beast.
Also, the cameras were turned off turning his diatribe/speech.
posted by clavdivs at 6:52 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Norway has been a wonderful beacon of civilization in its response to Breivik's crimes. The world could learn a lot from them.
posted by Jehan at 6:53 AM on April 26, 2012 [68 favorites]


What really upsets me is that Breivik got exactly what he wanted: a platform from which to spew all of his vile ramblings, to have it reach as many people as possible.

Only in a very superficial way. He can talk all he wants but his ideas are thoroughly rejected by everybody.

This might be one the the very few times where the terrorists didn't win.
posted by patrick54 at 6:53 AM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Noway, fuck yeah. But seriously.
posted by jaduncan at 6:53 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


What really upsets me is that Breivik got exactly what he wanted: a platform from which to spew all of his vile ramblings, to have it reach as many people as possible.

I don't have a problem with that. What he should not be allowed is a monologue. He can speak, but we should respond. The more this dialogue goes on, the clearer it will be that we are right, and he is wrong.
posted by Skeptic at 6:54 AM on April 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Alvin the Chipmunk.
OHH, a Quisling talking doll complete with pleated sweat glands and detachable fascism.
posted by clavdivs at 6:56 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


He can speak, but we should respond.

And these 40,000 in the town square were responding in a great way. This is encouraging and heartwarming and just really, really good.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:56 AM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


And I've been trying to think, what can you really do to counter-act that?

I'd be in favor of all media outlets required to call him "That Asshole" instead of using his name.
posted by Etrigan at 6:56 AM on April 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Wonderful. Simply wonderful.

Hey, Norway, now can we give Pete Seeger the Nobel Peace Prize?
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:02 AM on April 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


What really upsets me is that Breivik got exactly what he wanted: a platform from which to spew all of his vile ramblings, to have it reach as many people as possible.

I mean, yeah, he has a platform, but it's blatantly a platform associated with a fucker who murdered 70+ in cold blood on one day.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:03 AM on April 26, 2012


I approve of singing as a method of combating extremism.
posted by hoyland at 7:06 AM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


However, I can't help but think the guy on the left with the guitar looks like my officemate.
posted by hoyland at 7:06 AM on April 26, 2012


Your officemate could well be an anti-fascist. Be alert!
posted by h00py at 7:10 AM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is what civilization looks like.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:15 AM on April 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


No nation is perfect, but this kind of cultural response gives me hope.
posted by rtha at 7:18 AM on April 26, 2012


This machine kills fascists.
posted by ZsigE at 7:24 AM on April 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


It's always such a relief when people stand up to be counted as against hatefulness and small-mindedness.
posted by h00py at 7:24 AM on April 26, 2012


I approve of singing as a method of combating extremism.

I approve of singing as a way to express solidarity and encourage people to reject fascism.

I'm all for flushing the fascists out of their holes and destroying them like the rodents they are, but it's much easier when you know you're not alone.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:27 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What really upsets me is that Breivik got exactly what he wanted: a platform from which to spew all of his vile ramblings, to have it reach as many people as possible.

No, he really didn't.

What he wanted was for the oppressed white people of Norway to rise up and fight against the rising muslim tide., crowning him as the hero of Norway.

What he got instead was 15 minutes to spout off a bunch of racist claptrap, and then 3 hots and a cot for the rest of his now otherwise pointless life.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:30 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Katullus made an awesome, but double, post right after this one. The links are too good to leave out of this thread, so I'm going to repost them here.
Forty thousand people gathered in Oslo today to sing My Rainbow Race by Pete Seeger, with Norwegian folk singer Lillebjørn Nilsen, who made the song famous in Norway in the 70s, leading the song both in Norwegian and English. Terrorist Anders Behring Breivik criticized the song during his trial last week which inspired the series of mass singing events today all over Norway. Here are videos from parallel events in Bergen, Trondheim, Kristiansand and Sarpsborg
posted by zamboni at 7:34 AM on April 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'd be in favor of all media outlets required to call him "That Asshole" instead of using his name.

Herostratus
(Greek: Ἡρόστρατος) was a young man and arsonist; seeking notoriety, he burned down the Temple of Artemis in ancient Greece. On July 21, 356 BC, Herostratus set fire to the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in what is now Turkey. The temple was constructed of marble and was built by King Croesus of Lydia to replace an older site destroyed during a flood, and it honoured a local goddess conflated by the Greeks with Artemis, their goddess of the hunt, the wild and childbirth. Measuring 130 metres long (426.5 feet) and supported by columns 18 metres high (60 feet), it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Far from attempting to evade responsibility for his act of arson, Herostratus proudly claimed credit in an attempt to immortalise his name. To dissuade those of a similar mind, the Ephesian authorities not only executed him, but attempted to condemn him to a legacy of obscurity by forbidding mention of his name under penalty of death. However, this did not stop Herostratus from achieving his goal as the ancient historian Theopompus recorded the event and its perpetrator in his Hellenics.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:34 AM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm all for flushing the fascists out of their holes and destroying them like the rodents they are,

I, uh... hm.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:37 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


>I'm all for flushing the fascists out of their holes and destroying them like the rodents they are,

I, uh... hm.


Oh, sorry, Gandhi. Non-violence is always the way to go. Better to get chopped down like dandelions under a reel mower if it means we have the higher moral ground.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:59 AM on April 26, 2012


You're a putz.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:08 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm all for flushing the fascists out of their holes and destroying them like the rodents they are

They're not the lyrics and you're missing the tone completely.
Love Gandhi's cous
posted by de at 8:08 AM on April 26, 2012


I'm trying to figure out the last time I heard 'Ganhi' used as pejorative.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:10 AM on April 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Non-violence is always the way to go.

It's weird, right? Norway responded non-violently to the violent actions of this lunatic and he killed the whole country as a result! Wait, no he didn't.

What should Norway have done, in this exact instance, in your opinion? Would it be better if 40,000 Norwegians gathered together to tear him limb from limb?
posted by rtha at 8:11 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, sorry, Gandhi. Non-violence is always the way to go. Better to get chopped down like dandelions under a reel mower if it means we have the higher moral ground.

All that from: "I, uh... hm." Wow.

I personally don't think that non-violence is always the answer, but it usually is, and identifying human beings as rodents to be exterminated is never an appropriate response. I'm probably a dirty peacenik, though.
posted by Huck500 at 8:11 AM on April 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm not so keen on killing rodents, either.
posted by Flashman at 8:30 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Guys, all you're doing is giving Mayor Curley a platform from which to spew all of his ramblings.
posted by Nomyte at 8:30 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Let's all sing a song that Mayor Curley hates.
posted by Flashman at 8:35 AM on April 26, 2012 [20 favorites]


What should Norway have done, in this exact instance, in your opinion? Would it be better if 40,000 Norwegians gathered together to tear him limb from limb?

No, they're absolutely doing the right thing by standing together. The damage has been done, he can't hurt anyone else. What they should do is keep their eyes and ears open in case Brevik has ideological kin (hint: he does) and tear them limb from limb to keep these sorts of atrocities from happening again.

Non-violence doesn't work against people who can't be shamed. Non-violent resistance to fascism gets you a boot in the face. It gets kids massacred at a summer camp. The citizens of Norway by and large found Brevik's ideological revolting, and didn't embrace it. That wasn't enough.

I'm all for non-violence where it will work. The Indian independence movement, the American civil rights movement, they both had something to gain by winning the minds of people who hadn't yet gotten involved. Right-wing terrorists don't work that way. They don't have anything to lose by looking evil. They need to be neutralized by any means necessary.

I'm aware of the moral conflict between rejecting force and "might makes right" and then advocating all methods including violent ones. But we need to be pragmatic. Holding hands and singing "We Shall Not Be Moved" is a great start, but it's not the whole solution.

I want a world where we can all live as one. But there are always going to be disturbed people who want to impose their will on us. We can't let them do that, and hoping to win by example is not going to dissuade them. Hugs are better than punches, but you can't hug someone intent on punching you.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:35 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mayor Curley is merely smart enough to recognize his enemy and determined not to let that enemy get over on him. Would that all of Western Civilization were similarly capable.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:36 AM on April 26, 2012


Okay but if you're talking about rooting out people with bad ideologies and then killing them, I'm confused as to in what sense that isn't fascism.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:37 AM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Let's all sing a song that Mayor Curley hates.

I was raised by the New Left. You can't find traditional solidarity song that you know better than I do, and I love all of them. I just think that singing's not enough.

If you want to sing a song that I hate, start with the Billy Joel catalog.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:38 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


What they should do is keep their eyes and ears open in case Brevik has ideological kin (hint: he does)

This is a fair observation — Brevik has suggested he has had contact with other like-minded individuals up to his murder spree. Singing will help heal some of the pain, and that's good and necessary, but it doesn't do much about Brevik's right-wing associates.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:42 AM on April 26, 2012


Okay but if you're talking about rooting out people with bad ideologies and then killing them, I'm confused as to in what sense that isn't fascism.

You have a very narrow view of fascism. I'm not advocating seizing power for myself and people who look like me. I'm advocating stopping people who would do that.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:43 AM on April 26, 2012


Sing us a song Mayor Curly hates
Sing us a song tonight
For we're all in the mood for solidarity
And he said something we don't like

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:46 AM on April 26, 2012 [34 favorites]


Yeah, that's pretty much where evil always starts, isn't it. "I know I'm doing a bad thing, but these people deserve it."
posted by Etrigan at 8:46 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm all for non-violence where it will work. The Indian independence movement, the American civil rights movement…

If you for a minute think that the segregationist and anti-black sentiment in the American South was somehow kinder, gentler, less wantonly bloodthirsty, and more welcoming to non-violent resistance than isolated examples of people like Breivik in Norway, you are mistaken.
posted by Nomyte at 8:47 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay but if you're talking about rooting out people with bad ideologies and then killing them, I'm confused as to in what sense that isn't fascism.

Well, it really might not be in a technical/ideological sense. A bunch of communists could/have go/ne round rooting people out with bad ideologies and killing them, but fascism and communism are different things. It's arguably not necessarily totalitarianism, either. Just, er, rooting people out and killing them. I'm not sure we have a name for that other than not good.
posted by hoyland at 8:56 AM on April 26, 2012


If you for a minute think that the segregationist and anti-black sentiment in the American South was somehow kinder, gentler, less wantonly bloodthirsty, and more welcoming to non-violent resistance than isolated examples of people like Breivik in Norway, you are mistaken.

The people won were the swathes of American citizens who disagreed with the treatment of their black countrymen but didn't care enough to get involved. Those people were swayed, and the federal government was "shamed" (by nature of worrying how the sympathetic would vote) into involvement.

You're right that the segregationists were of a similar ideology as Brevik. Popular opinion and federal involvement neutralized the bulk of them. Real change. But the extremists who continued to terrorize black people deserve the "any means necessary" treatment that I'm talking about.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:00 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Him having a platform isn't a problem. At this point, if Breivik said the sky was blue, the Norwegians would rename the color to make it not true.

As our Supreme Court has said, the antidote to speech you dislike isn't imposed silence or restrictions or punishment, but rather, more speech. I don't think they quite had 40,000-strong choruses in mind, but, well, that'll do nicely.
posted by Malor at 9:01 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


As our Supreme Court has said, the antidote to speech you dislike isn't imposed silence or restrictions or punishment, but rather, more speech.

It's not Brevik's speech that I have a problem with.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:02 AM on April 26, 2012


To the tune of "Our Italian Restaurant"

fist to the gut
boot to the head
we'll tear you limb from limb, like Curley said
we'll stomp your fascist ass real good
like Mayor Curley said we should

posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:04 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not advocating seizing power for myself and people who look like me. I'm advocating stopping people who would do that.

The thing is, Mayor Curly, the impulse to violent revenge can go bad quickly. Look at what happened with 9/11 — America's revenge plan has so far consisted of killing hundreds of thousands (to low millions, by some counts) of innocent civilians, in wars that in the end have turned out to be colonial exercises to keep its thumb on some key natural resources. In Britain, racial profiling after their Underground attack led to an innocent but frightened man getting shot several times in the head. So it's easy to see how a nation's grief could be redirected to support criminal activities by people in charge.

I get the desire for bloody revenge. The Norwegians are not my people, but my anger, empathy and shared grief make me feel the blood stirring, too. But after 9/11 I know that that my anger — and anger on a national level — makes it easier to get manipulated into doing wrong, however righteous that first impulse might feel. Norwegians should go after Brevik's comrades, but I'm hopeful that they won't make the same mistakes the Americans and British made after their own terrorist tragedies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:06 AM on April 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't understand what you mean by "any means necessary." I can only imagine two absurd alternatives, which are clearly not what you're thinking of: roving killing squads that administer ideological purity tests or some sort of "Minority Report" precognition of when a crime might take place. Because until there is such a crime, there is no criminal to punish. None of the steps leading up to the crime are criminal, especially in a nation as dedicated to stockpiling guns as the US. Really, it doesn't take more than a couple of guns. Killing sprees in the US happen with some regularity (nationwide, not in any one location). I just don't see what you're proposing.
posted by Nomyte at 9:09 AM on April 26, 2012


I don't know what to say if you don't think people getting together to sing like this can have immense power.

This scene from Cabaret is still easily among the most terrifying in all of cinema.

I hope he could hear it from his cell, this song and rendition of it attack fascism in that dark and terrible place where it lives in the heart. Some infections you can't just cut out, they need sunshine and clean air.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:10 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Non-violence doesn't work against people who can't be shamed. Non-violent resistance to fascism gets you a boot in the face. It gets kids massacred at a summer camp. The citizens of Norway by and large found Brevik's ideological revolting, and didn't embrace it. That wasn't enough.

What I don't get is why you declared that non-violent resistance to fascism is the worst thing ever in a thread where I don't think anyone has said that it's the one and only way to resist fascism, or indeed any ideology that calls for the mass killing of people who disagree with that ideology.

I don't understand at all how you managed to interpret shakespeherian's I, uh... hm. as a call for absolute pacifism. What about this made you bring out the axe?

(Another thing I don't get: there are plenty of people in the U.S. who advocate the kind of shit that Brevik does. Are you suggesting they be round up and shot?)
posted by rtha at 9:16 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I oppose everything Breivik stands for, up to and including the belief that those who oppose my views are less than human and deserve violence even if they haven't yet committed a crime.

Because otherwise, there's not a damn's worth of difference between me and him.
posted by emjaybee at 9:37 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let's all sing a song that Mayor Curley hates.

Don't know of one specifically, but this may be a safe bet:

*clears throat*

Vrei să pleci dar, nu mă, nu mă iei,
nu mă, nu mă iei,
nu mă, nu mă, nu mă iei,
Chipul tău şi dragostea din tei,
mi-amintesc de ochii tăi...

Mai-ia-hii, Mai-ia-huu, Mai-ia-ha, Mai-ia-haha,
Mai-ia-hii, Mai-ia-huu, Mai-ia-ha, Mai-ia-haha....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:39 AM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


What I don't get is why you declared that non-violent resistance to fascism is the worst thing ever in a thread where I don't think anyone has said that it's the one and only way to resist fascism, or indeed any ideology that calls for the mass killing of people who disagree with that ideology.

I don't understand at all how you managed to interpret shakespeherian's I, uh... hm. as a call for absolute pacifism. What about this made you bring out the axe?


shakespherian was pretty clearly saying "that's uncalled for," and I emphatically disagree with that. And there are plenty of people rebutting me who are clearly saying that anything beyond the non-violent is unacceptable, so it has indeed been said.

I "brought out the axe" because this idea of standing against hate by counterexample is dangerous and foolhardy. Modern fascists don't fear their opponents, they sneer at them. We worry about what violence they'll commit next against institutions of tolerance, and they're fearlessly laughing at the hippies. It emboldens them and ensures that more good people are going to die.

(Another thing I don't get: there are plenty of people in the U.S. who advocate the kind of shit that Brevik does. Are you suggesting they be round up and shot?)

Don't round them up. I'm not talking about something systemic.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:47 AM on April 26, 2012


This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.
posted by fritley at 9:55 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


> This scene from Cabaret is still easily among the most terrifying in all of cinema

I don't remember it from the film. But quite a few of the youtube comments below it are sadly frightening as well. :(
posted by Listener at 10:07 AM on April 26, 2012


I half agree with Mayor Curley. I would be willing to support violence against a group if they were out of control and capable of operating above the law. A great example would be targeting people like corporate executives who have escaped the criminal consequences of their behavior. I understand that this would be a disastrous can of worms to open but sometimes it needs to be done if the issue cannot be addressed legally.

But that is not the case in Norway. Fascism is not the status quo and crimes like the one committed by Breivik can easily be handled within the system without hunting all the fascists down. There is no excuse to resort to violence here.

You know what has impressed me the most about this incident? Very soon after the shooting, The Noreigen Police Union voted 60% in favor of continuing not to carry firearms on a daily basis. In my opinion, this is the greatest act of defiance of Breivik's actions yet.
posted by Pseudology at 10:13 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you like singing as a form of protest, check out 'The Singing Revolution'.
posted by Cygnet at 10:19 AM on April 26, 2012


For sake of ending the digression, can we oversimplify Mayor Curley's as being "shoot Hitler" and get on to the more important topic at hand, namely why shooting Hitler is a rookie time traveler's mistake?
posted by Davenhill at 10:20 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I "brought out the axe" because this idea of standing against hate by counterexample is dangerous and foolhardy.

Through whose filter, though?

You're yelling advice where none is needed nor requested.

This is about Norway, and a crime, and it'd be really pleasant to observe (and understand) the Norwegian way without the US cheer squad calling "kill the rat" from the grandstand.
posted by de at 10:21 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's the song I hate.
("Youth Against Fascism," Sonic Youth)
posted by FrauMaschine at 10:24 AM on April 26, 2012


For sake of ending the digression, can we oversimplify Mayor Curley's as being "shoot Hitler" and get on to the more important topic at hand, namely why shooting Hitler is a rookie time traveler's mistake?

It's a dumb derail.

Look, if time travel were ever to exist, then it has always existed.

And if that is the case, then leaving Hitler alive was the least worst option.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:42 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


>What really upsets me is that Breivik got exactly what he wanted: a platform from which to spew all of his vile ramblings, to have it reach as many people as possible.

I mean, yeah, he has a platform, but it's blatantly a platform associated with a fucker who murdered 70+ in cold blood on one day.


I can't quite understand why he has been given such a platform. How horrible and painful it must be for the parents and loved ones of those he murdered in such a brutal, violent, terrible way to have to hear him speak.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:45 AM on April 26, 2012


Has the idea of treating Breivik as a psychopathic criminal and considering his "ideology" as completely incidental occurred to anyone?
posted by danl at 10:57 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Modern fascists don't fear their opponents, they sneer at them.

See, you're getting confused here. Breivik isn't a fascist. Fascists have power, and he has less than none. It doesn't matter what Breivik thinks, because he has essentially zero ability to force his opinions down anyone's throat anymore. It's the rest of the world that matters, and those people are mostly not fascist.

Further, the very last thing you want to do is give even the impression of not being just and fair, as a government, because there's probably nothing more corrosive to a functioning society.

"Violent resistance", in this case, can only be construed as 'bloody revenge', and no matter how much you personally might think it's warranted, not everyone will. This guy is way over the edge into some sort of insanity. Treating him fairly and justly, and doing the minimum possible to make society safe from him (likely life imprisonment) won't really have any effect on other crazy people (since, by definition, they're nuts, and don't really get cause and effect anymore.) But the borderline crazy people may realize that the government is as gentle as it can reasonably be, and may ask for help, instead of falling into despair and killing people.
posted by Malor at 11:05 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Scandinavians sing a lot - we sing at midsummer, we sing at Christmas (or jul), and we have songs that are explicitly associated with events. It never occurred to me before I moved away from Scandinavia just how much we express ourselves and our sense of identity through song.

Kringsatt af fiender - Surrounded By Enemies - is a song which resonates with most Scandinavians. It was sung at last year's memorial service in Oslo, but I have sung it at peace rallies and funerals alike. I will not be surprised if it will be sung in the streets of Oslo again.

And, this is actually what I set out to write, I was moved to tears when I saw the footage of the rally singing Barn av regnbuen. It felt so right; it felt exactly like the sort of Scandinavian act of community that Breivik loathes so intently. Well done, Norway, well done.
posted by kariebookish at 11:07 AM on April 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Has the idea of treating Breivik as a psychopathic criminal and considering his "ideology" as completely incidental occurred to anyone?

Breivik has been given two psychiatric evaluations.
Breivik was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by the court-appointed psychiatrists. According to their report, Breivik acted compulsively based on a delusional thought universe. Among other things, he alluded to himself as a future regent of Norway pending a takeover by a Templar-like organization. Imagining himself as regent, his ideas included organizing Norwegians in reservations and using them in breeding projects.[18] Other psychiatrists disagree that he is psychotic or schizophrenic,[19] and on 13 January 2012, after much public pressure, the Oslo district court ordered a second expert panel to evaluate Breivik's mental state.[20] On 10 April 2012 the second psychiatric evaluation was published with the conclusion that Breivik was not psychotic during the attacks and he was not psychotic during their evaluation;[21] rather he is an extreme narcissist.[22] (W)
posted by zamboni at 11:08 AM on April 26, 2012


For sake of ending the digression, can we oversimplify Mayor Curley's as being "shoot Hitler" and get on to the more important topic at hand, namely why shooting Hitler is a rookie time traveler's mistake?
posted by Davenhill at 10:20 AM on April 26 [2 favorites +] [!]


From Futurama: Just slow it down, I'll shoot Hitler out the window
Darn! I hit Eleanor Roosevelt by mistake!

posted by Pseudology at 11:27 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've wished we in America would do this when people like Westboro or the Nazis hold public events. My image is 50 chunky white men in crisp SS uniforms surrounded by 3,000 people singing "It’s Friday, Friday, Gotta get down on Friday".
posted by benito.strauss at 11:29 AM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I can't quite understand why he has been given such a platform. How horrible and painful it must be for the parents and loved ones of those he murdered in such a brutal, violent, terrible way to have to hear him speak.

Because this is how we prove we are better than him. We say "say your piece" and listen to it, even though this...well I am not sure how to express person who has removed himself from the fellowship of man by his own actions(although I bet there is a German word for it(just a joke about long German words, not a Nazi reference))...doesn't deserve it. We expose his ideas and worldview as one we (the fellowship of man) listen to, evaluate and reject because that IS what our society, our civilization, values, and even more importantly, what we strive to become-the result of the best ideas we all have. As has been said before, the answer to this kind of garbage is not to silence it or try to hide it, but to expose it. Filth is always sterilized by sunlight and fresh air.
posted by bartonlong at 11:30 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any time his views or voice are played in the media, it should be altered to sound like Alvin the Chipmunk.

Ah, the BBC/Gerry Adams approach (as required by English law for a while). Although in Gerry's case it was generally a slightly sinister sounding Irish actor.
posted by jaduncan at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2012


Ah, the BBC/Gerry Adams approach (as required by English law for a while).

Well, that's surreal.
posted by zamboni at 11:40 AM on April 26, 2012


Breivik has been given two psychiatric evaluations.

I don't particularly care what any psychiatrists thinks about Breivik. Brutally murdering 77 people and injuring at least 319 in cold blood qualifies as psychotic behavior.

The ideology behind it is meaningless as far as I'm concerned. The actions are all that matter and they demand retribution from a civilized society. His rantings before and after are totally beside the point and should contribute nothing to Norway's legal and civil response.

IMHO.
posted by danl at 12:22 PM on April 26, 2012


I don't particularly care what any psychiatrists thinks about Breivik. Brutally murdering 77 people and injuring at least 319 in cold blood qualifies as psychotic behavior.

I think you should look up the meaning of "psychotic". It doesn't mean psychopathic, or evil. It's a serious disservice to mentally ill people to compare them with the morally sick such as Breivik.
posted by Skeptic at 12:41 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Skeptic :I think you should look up the meaning of "psychotic". It doesn't mean psychopathic, or evil. It's a serious disservice to mentally ill people to compare them with the morally sick such as Breivik.
Okay.
psy·chot·ic  [sahy-kot-ik] Show IPA
adjective
1. Psychiatry . characterized by or afflicted with psychosis*. Synonyms: (in nontechnical usage) insane, psychopathic, lunatic, mentally ill; mad, disturbed, deranged, demented, non compos mentis. Antonyms: sane; compos mentis, clearheaded, lucid.
Seems close enough. Or are we now holding metafilter comments to the standard of professional, technical definitions at pain of insult and accusations of victimization? Now that would be psychopathic.
psy·chop·a·thy  [sahy-kop-uh-thee] Show IPA
noun, plural psy·chop·a·thies. Psychiatry .
1. a mental disorder in which an individual manifests amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.
2. any mental disease.
_________________________
* psy·cho·sis   [sahy-koh-sis] Show IPA
noun, plural psy·cho·ses  [-seez] Show IPA. Psychiatry .
1. a mental disorder characterized by symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations, that indicate impaired contact with reality.
2. any severe form of mental disorder, as schizophrenia or paranoia.
PS You'd be crazy to take offense as this was really just a pretext to indulge my insane addiction to dictionaries. (Don't make me break out the OED!).
posted by Davenhill at 1:44 PM on April 26, 2012


If you're going to misuse technical terms, why use them at all? Just call him crazy and be done with it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:59 PM on April 26, 2012


Especially if you're using colloquial nontechnical definitions to argue by proxy with psychiatric professionals. What even is your point?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:03 PM on April 26, 2012


"If you want to sing a song that I hate, start with the Billy Joel catalog."

He's an uptown Curl
I bet he's never met a backstreet guy
I bet his momma never told him why
posted by MuffinMan at 2:06 PM on April 26, 2012


> I don't particularly care what any psychiatrists thinks about Breivik.

It's possible the Norwegian court agrees with you. Expert testimony is just that: testimony for the court's consideration.

It's my understanding that criminal insanity is a legal determination not a medical diagnosis. Breivik is not keen to be found criminally insane. (Norway will gently throw away the key.)
posted by de at 4:06 PM on April 26, 2012


I'm ok with the term evil. Maybe criminally insane?

Either way his ideas, morality, rantings, etc. should be rendered irrelevant. They are not the point, however his actions are.
posted by danl at 4:08 PM on April 26, 2012


> It's my understanding that criminal insanity is a legal determination not a medical diagnosis. Breivik is not keen to be found criminally insane. (Norway will gently throw away the key.)

Beating that particular charge might validate his ideology a tad as a side effect. Let's hope he doesn't.
posted by danl at 4:18 PM on April 26, 2012


Norway is being incredibly naïve in how they are dealing with this psychopath. Hey kids, you want to be famous and have a platform for warning the world about your pet peeve? set off a bomb and shoot 69 kids in the head and the world is your stage.

By taking this course of action, Norway gives this man a bullhorn. Moreover, in 21 years - the maximum a sane person can spend in prison in Norway - the 53 year old idiot can do it all over again. Unless, of course he takes the opportunity of an early release, or week-end furlough before his 21 years are up.

No wonder here in Sweden, Norwegians are seen as a bit thick.

C'mon Norway. Lock him up in a padded cell, feed him ice-cream and cake to show how much you care about people, and make him disappear forever.

Putting on a criminal trial and singing children's songs in the street makes you look as foolish as you are - to say nothing of the subjecting the victims and their families to a second outrage.
posted by three blind mice at 3:01 AM on April 27, 2012


....Can I ask an honest question?

I'm seeing people complain that Norway is "giving this guy a platform" - but elsewhere in the thread, others have reported that all the reporters turned their cameras off when Brevik spoke.

So how are they "giving him a platform" precisely?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:40 AM on April 27, 2012


If Breivik is found to be mentally ill, what does that say of the many people who share his ideology but haven't acted on it yet? He's not the only extreme right-winger out there who hates the idea of multiculturalism. And as much as I find their opinions disgusting and regressive, I don't think they're crazy.

I don't think he is insane. He has said how he had to work himself up to the point of doing the shootings, because it felt wrong to him to kill in cold blood. And to the best of my knowledge, most people with schizophrenia would not be capable of the planning and organisation that Breivik had to do to kill so many people.

He just felt that it was the logical conclusion of his (appalling, in my opinion, which I feel I must add to prevent derails) beliefs. In the same way that if pro-lifers really thought abortion is murder, they'd have to do more than just protest outside clinics - and some do go to the next step of trying to prevent the 'killers' from doing it again, by shootings and bombings.

All through history, people have killed when they felt it was justified to prevent a worse event. They were almost always wrong about it being justified, but "wrong" has not and never will be equal to "crazy".
posted by harriet vane at 4:10 AM on April 27, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: There was actually a court-ordered ban on broadcasting his explanation, but reporters could (and did) still write about what was said and what happened in court.

I'm a bit puzzled by it myself, when people like three blind mice claim he's been given a bullhorn. The first week of court was scheduled for Breivik to give his testimony and be cross-examined. There was also a huge amount of foreign press covering this initial phase of the trial; however, most of the media crews have left and probably won't return until it's time for the verdict.

Here in Norway, however, it is still front-page news every day. This week, the court has gone through the bomb that went off by the government buildings (technical reports about the bomb, witness statements, coroner's reports about the killed), which will continue to the middle of next week, when what happened at Utøya will be treated (which is planned to go on for four weeks). In total, the trial is scheduled to last for ten weeks -- I don't think it is absurd that 10% of that time is given to the defendant to explain himself and be cross-examined.

three blind mice: I'm confused; would you prefer he not be given a criminal trial? Also, as you might be aware, while 21 years is the maximum penalty, it is possible to give a de facto life sentence through forvaring. Here in Norway, we have jokes about the thickness of Swedes, but they are mostly considered childish.
posted by Bukvoed at 4:12 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


three blind mice, do you really think that criminal trials should be skipped just because some crimes are worse than others? Where do you draw the line - maybe murdering 10 people is ok, but 11 puts you beyond the pale and you no longer have rights? And who gets to decide where that line is, and make sure that it's applied fairly?

Either we all have rights, or we enable the people who would strip them from all of us.
posted by harriet vane at 4:15 AM on April 27, 2012


I found this article in the English language part of the (German) Spiegel website to be an illuminating discussion, particularly with regard to the determination of the prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh *not* to give him a platform for broadcasting.
posted by illongruci at 6:30 AM on April 27, 2012


So it sounds like Norway isn't "giving him a platform" after all.

So....the people in here claiming that just want to snark on something. Got it!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on April 27, 2012


> If Breivik is found to be mentally ill, what does that say of the many people who share his ideology but haven't acted on it yet?

Not a thing. As it should be. Sharing ideology is no crime.
posted by danl at 4:28 PM on April 27, 2012


> So how are they "giving him a platform" precisely?

I'm getting the impression that they're really trying not to.

But I do think whatever talk there is of his so-called right-wing associates or his fascist ideology is dangerous and misguided. It's not so much that the legal process is giving him a platform as it is perhaps the spooked Norwegian public.
posted by danl at 4:39 PM on April 27, 2012


Well, danl, I don't think he's actually insane, as I went on to say. Sharing ideology certainly isn't a crime, but I was talking about the sanity aspect not the criminal aspect.

I don't see how talking about their shared ideology is dangerous and misguided, either. We need to expose the lies that are behind the ideas. And how do you get 'spooked' from people defiantly doing the things Breivik hates? I feel like you're looking at an entirely different event.
posted by harriet vane at 12:26 AM on April 28, 2012


Oops, forgot the reason I was here...

On Utoya is an e-book of essays released not too long after the massacre, written by a group of Aussie and British left-wing writers. I've just finished reading it and it's quite good, even though the usually-tedious Guy Rundle was involved (there's none of his thesaurus-driven verbosity in here). I don't agree with all their opinions, but I learned a lot and it gave me food for thought.

Of particular interest was the conclusion about how lefties should respond to right-wing extremism. The authors state that civility is useless against people who want to restrict your rights, and that we can't ask the state to restrict their rights as that would be both hypocritical and dangerous to our own projects. They conclude that the best tactic is a relentless exposure of the lies the right-wing extremists use to bring together disparate groups (middle-class, corporate class and political class), and a focus on making sure all citizens are getting their rights both on paper and in real-life.
"Organised, written and produced within three months of the killings, On Utøya is a challenge to anyone who would seek to portray this event as anything other than it is – a violent mass assassination, directed against the left, to terrorise people into silence and submission to a far-right agenda."
Some of Jeff Sparrow's writing in the book has been published at The Drum along with his other contributions there, if you want to get a feel for the sort of content in the book.
posted by harriet vane at 12:46 AM on April 28, 2012


Just go out for a breath of air
And you'll be ready for Medicare
The city streets are really quite a thrill
If the hoods don't get you, the monoxide will

Pollution, pollution
Wear a gas mask and a veil
Then you can breathe
Long as you don't inhale
posted by clavdivs at 9:16 AM on April 28, 2012


> So how are they "giving him a platform" precisely?

I'm getting the impression that they're really trying not to.


....That was precisely my point.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:39 PM on April 28, 2012


So how are they "giving him a platform" precisely?

We're spending an awful lot of time talking about him, aren't we? Part of that -- a virtually unavoidable part -- is discussing the tenets and limits of his ideology and motivation. We would not be doing that if he hadn't murdered a bunch of people. Hence the platform and hence the efforts made by people to minimize it.
posted by Etrigan at 4:47 PM on April 28, 2012


....I see that my point was wildly missed. Let me re-phrase.

....There were a lot of comments in here from people saying "I don't understand why the people of Norway are giving him a platform, they're letting him speak his piece at his trial and the only thing they're doing about it is singing, how stupid is that?" but, in truth, the people of Norway are NOT "giving him a platform" in the sense that they are not broadcasting his words, are turning cameras off when he speaks in the courts, and are standing around and singing really loud instead of listening to him.

So, my observation was in fact an observation that the people of Norway were not actually "giving him a platform" in the sense of "broadcasting his statement nationwide." Which means, then, that the people accusing Norway of "giving him a platform" don't have a damn leg to stand on.

the end.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:32 PM on April 28, 2012


Empress is right - the hand-wringing over giving Breivik a platform isn't based on any real facts. And critically discussing his ideology and sources isn't the same as giving him a platform.

It just seems like some people would prefer us not to discuss the the horrific event at all. Which to me, seems like we'd be missing a chance to understand why it happened and how a similar event could be prevented. I refuse to just throw my hands up as if it's an impenetrable mystery of fate. Mass killings keep happening, in various formats like terrorism, or state-sponsored pogroms, or lone-wolf crazies going on a spree. Sweeping them under the carpet will not help, and will almost certainly make it worse. The only option we have is to investigate them.
posted by harriet vane at 3:01 AM on April 29, 2012


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