Two pieces of news have recently linked Anders Breivik’s Utoya island massacre of members of Young Labour and New Zealand. First, the news that Breivik, in his “manifesto”, quoted words published at a far right conference here:
Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik’s NZ link
Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik praised a speech given in New Zealand by an Australian historian in his 1500 page manifesto.
Breivik wrote that Keith Windschuttle “is tired of that anti-Western slant that permeates academia”. “For the past three decades and more, many of the leading opinion makers in our universities, the media and the arts have regarded Western culture as, at best, something to be ashamed of, or at worst, something to be opposed,” he quoted Windschuttle as saying. …
The speech was delivered at the Summer Sounds Symposium, at Punga Cove in the Marlborough Sounds, on February 11, 2006. The session was chaired by political commentator Matthew Hooton…
We’ve been treading a dangerous path since Brash’s 2005 Orewa speech and the Nats’ subsequent divisive “Iwi / Kiwi” campaign. We’ve been treading a path that so normalised extremism that comparing politicians to Adolf Hitler, or a range of other dictators, was considered an acceptable and unremarkable tactic in the 2008 election.
We’re on that same path today. ACT, with National’s support in Epsom, is trying once again to play the race and hate cards in New Zealand politics. And what to make the mind set that moves a supposedly mainstream political commentator to write (of a boxing match) “I should look on it like I did the Iran-Iraq war – you just want it to go on for ever, with maximum causalities”.
The second Utoya connection to New Zealand is less dangerous, but much sadder:
Inside the life of Norway’s Kiwi victim
Sharidyn Svebakk-Bohn has been named as the 14-year-old New Zealand-born girl killed by gunman Anders Breivik on the weekend.
Sharidyn Svebakk-Bohn was excited for her big trip. Over the past year, things had started looking up for the 14-year-old. She had started high school almost a year ago, made new friends, and realised other people’s opinions about her are not as important as her own.
She was focused on doing well at school, and like most teenagers, was particularly against her parents’ confusing belief she should be awake before 7am and the irritating tendency of siblings to act as interim alarm clocks. …
Go read the full article for a heartbreaking description of this emerging young woman’s life. Look in to the eyes in the photo. Anders Breivik killed her, and 67 other young people like her.
We need articles like this one (bravo Dylan Moran) to meet the people behind the gory headlines. Norwegian authorities should compile such biographies of every one of the victims and publish the collection. The victims of violence need to have a human face and a human voice. It is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of this kind of madness happening again.