Tenth anniversary of the Utøya and Oslo attacks

Norway is commemorating the victims of the attack on 22 July 2011 today. The right-wing extremist Anders Breivik killed eight people with a car bomb in the government district of Oslo and then shot 69 people on the island of Utøya, most of them youths at a Norwegian Labour Party Youth summer camp. Breivik was sentenced in 2012 to 21 years in prison followed by preventive detention.

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Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

The wounds remain

Norway has still not come to terms with the attack, Krytyka Polityczna comments:

“July 22 marks the tenth anniversary of the bloodiest attack in Norway since the Second World War. It left a wound in the centre of Oslo. And there are more wounds and traumas. Norway is a small country. Everyone knows someone who knew someone who died that day.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Rhetoric weakens fight against the far right

The prevailing narrative stands in the way of the fight against the causes of the attack, explains The Guardian:

“The Labour Party faced the political and moral conundrum of choosing between inclusive political rhetoric, casting these terrorist attacks as attacks on all Norwegians, or emphasising the fact that the Norwegian left in particular had been targeted. The staff at the prime minister's office and the then PM, Jens Stoltenberg, chose the former. That choice had a number of consequences. For it meant that any talk of the undeniable links between the conspiratorial and anti-Muslim world views of Breivik and the wider populist right became taboo.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Fear must never prevail

Terrorism comes in many different forms, Berlingske notes:

“'Lone wolves' exist just as much as tightly organised groups do. ... In this case the perpetrator was a man with right-wing extremist motives. But Islamist groups also pose a constant threat of terror. Terror is on the agenda of most extremist groups. Not so long ago, Europe was exposed to radical left-wing terror, for example that of the Red Army Faction. Unfortunately, there's no simple answer to all this - except that as free people, we must not allow ourselves to be overcome by fear. Life should be lived and not controlled by madmen.”

Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

Draw clear lines against violence

It's up to each individual to protect society from attackers like Breivik, Göteborgs-Posten stresses:

“Breivik was an exceptionally cold-blooded murderer - but there are even more mentally disturbed people who are at risk of radicalisation. All citizens are therefore called upon to counter extremism that condones ruthless acts. ... Everyone is responsible when it comes to drawing a clear line against propaganda that calls for or legitimises violence, that dehumanises people or suggests that the end justifies the means.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

The danger continues to grow

The attack has raised awareness of right-wing extremist terror, Helsingin Sanomat notes:

“The attack carried out by the Norwegian Anders Breivik in his home town changed our mental image of radicalisation and terrorism. Europe realised that besides Islamist violence, the radical far-right threat was also on the rise. This has also been reflected in measures taken to combat terrorism. ... The victims of the attack and their relatives still need support. On Thursday, they are the ones who should be remembered above all. Society must remain vigilant. Even if the attack in Norway was very unusual, right-wing extremist violence has increased in Europe since then.”

Kristeligt Dagblad (DK) /

Keep listening

Society must continue to lend an ear to the victims' uncomfortable questions, Kristeligt Dagblad insists:

“Even though Norwegian society acted in the most noble way by showing solidarity for the first few years after the terrorist attack, victims and relatives have often experienced fear of contact and taboos when they openly addressed the right-wing extremist ideas underlying Breivik's terrible act. It is very upsetting to read that survivors of the terrorist attack are still subject to hate speech today.”