By Farrukh Dhondy
Apr 21, 2012
“Of prophets and seers
There’s such a long
I’ll stick with the one
Who turns water to wine!”
From Mujhey Bhi Dilaadey Yaar
There hasn’t been a trial like it since Nuremberg, Eichmann and perhaps that of Saddam Hussein. In all these the victors tried the vanquished, not for the crime of perpetrating war but for crimes against humanity and for being the principal begetters of mass murder.
Anders Breivik, the terrorist and mass murderer of Norway, accused of killing 77 people, 69 of them mostly teenagers, at a summer camp of the youth league of the Norwegian Labour Party, proudly admits his actions.
At the start of the trial in Oslo this week he appeared smartly dressed, sporting a thin rounded beard framing his jaw and chin, and gave the waiting international gaggle of photographers a Nazi salute. He started the trial by saying he didn’t recognise the court as it was the legal instrument of a Constitution that supported political parties in favour of “multiculturalism” and of the “Islamisation of Europe”.
He went on to claim the murders by admitting that he planted a car bomb outside government headquarters in Oslo which killed eight people and then proceeded with a weapon to the Fjord island of Utoeya. Before he got there he called the ferry service and, posing as a policeman who had been sent on duty to ensure the safety of the young people on the island, asked for a boat to be waiting for him on the island so he could get back to the mainland.
The most bizarre part of his plea to the court was that he claims to have acted in “self-defence”.
There are those in Norway, and I expect round the world, who do not want Breivik to be given the opportunity to speak in justification of his private holocaust to the court and hence to the international media. There are others, including the relatives of his teenage victims, who have publicly stated that they want to be in court to hear his justifications and support the transmission of them so that the world can see what sophistry and warped logic or madness backs up this evil.
Breivik has already set his views loose on the world using the Internet in a 1,500 page manifesto, so banning his distilled speeches now may serve the purpose of denying his warped mind further publicity, but those who want to know can access his “Mein Kampf”.
The case he is facing is not about whether he did kill 77 people. It is about the mind and mentality that brought him to do it. It is what he wants the case to be about and insists with his lawyers that he is sane and was of sound mind when he carried out the murders. Breivik sees the court and trial as the platform he has earned through the mass murders and any verdict of insanity will discredit his arguments.
I shan’t hesitate to say that I can, with not a great deal of novelistic insight, seek to imagine what these arguments are, though I haven’t read his manifesto or followed verbatim the three days’ worth of testimony he has given the court.
He says he belongs to an organisation called The Knights Templar. He claims it was formed in London and that three other leaders of the group were present.
The name is borrowed from the Crusades and tells us that Breivik and his associates, if such exist, believe they are fighting a war of civilisations. We have seen a similar terrorist determination from those Breivik sees as his enemies: Al Qaeda means “the Law” and it refers to the law which its members and followers believe is that given by God. The men who hijacked aircraft after months or even years of training and preparation and crashed them into the World Trade Centres in New York or the fellows from the north of England who bombed four underground trains and a bus in London also believed they were fighting a war of civilisations.
No doubt Breivik’s claim to be a Knight Templar has religious connotations. He has expressed his opposition to “multiculturalism” and the “Islamisation” of Europe. He is against the mingling of immigrants with the European races and probably believes in the same combination of distorted Christianity and mythological Norse purity that inspired or guided Hitler and the Nazis.
Though there have been slaughters and holocausts, race against race and religion against religion throughout history, in this phase, from Hitler to Breivik we are witnessing holocausts enabled by technology, in a world of global information and mobility of people, driven by deep, visceral, evil impulses and ideologies that originated in and before the Middle Ages.
Whether God inspired, or ideologically motivated, the murders perpetrated by Hitler, Breivik, Al Qaeda and ideologies of religious separation and slaughter, he didn’t do a good job of providing them with a strategy. Any idiot can see (though I know that millions can’t and won’t!) that the bombing of the World Trade Centre or the killing of innocent people on the London Underground will contribute not an iota to the fall of Western civilisation. This is just self-indulgent murder.
So also, though Breivik with his self-defence plea contends that he was killing his enemy, the young future of liberal Europe, what he achieved only the Knights Templar of his fantasy know.
In this last decade both terror and counter-terror have been strategically blind. Removing Saddam only killed the, albeit nasty, cat who kept the Islamicist terrorists at bay. Planting armies in Afghanistan only provided hatred targets for the terrorists and killed thousands of non-combatants who had nothing to do with the conflict. The governments of the West who perpetrated these ineffectual strategies will, through the forces of democratic attrition, learn a lesson from them.
Breivik, his followers and the perpetrators of Islamist terror, alas, won’t.
Farrukh Dhondy is a British writer, playwright and activist of Indian Parsi descent
Source: The Asian Age, New Delhi