For the uninitiated, Anders Behring Breivik is the confessed perpetrator of the July 22nd attacks in Norway. These attacks (A bomb blast outside a government building in Oslo which killed 8 along with the 69 he killed indiscriminately on the island of Utoya plus the 151 injured) were the worst in Norway’s history since World War II. Initially he was labelled as another Muslim terrorist who is a part of the Al Qaeda network intent on taking terror to new places in Europe. But with time it was realized that he was one of their own – White, Christian and Norwegian.
The initial reactions from countries to such acts includes increasing safety measures, having regular police presence, increasing screening of people in big gatherings and functions etc. But the Prime Minister of Norway made a statement which said – “We are going to tackle these attacks with more openness, democracy and participation.” And so Breivik went on trial like a regular defendant in the court of law.
So what actually is Norway all about? Norway has been a peace loving country since one can remember. They have had a steady flow of tourists because of its majestic fjords, greenery, the midnight sun etc. It is also regarded as one of the least corrupt and most developed countries on the planet. And so this reaction of theirs is due to many reasons:-
- By increasing excessive security, policing etc, the government doesn’t want to make people feel there is a constant threat. They want to believe that this
was just a one – off incident.
- According to the Norwegian law, every guilty person can be given a fair trial in court as a defendant. And that’s why Breivik has got his 5 days to give his
side of the story as the trial goes on.
- There’s no death penalty in Norway. According to the Norwegian rules, one can be sentenced to a maximum of 21 years in prison. Though if its proved that the
guilty is a danger to society, he / she can remain in custody for as long as deemed fit. And Norway is not willing to change this.
Though the live telecast for the proceedings is banned across the world, live reports are going around the planet through Twitter and other news media. A large contingent of journalists have arrived in Norway to cover this landmark case. But therein lies the main problem.
Bin Laden, Tim Mcveigh and many other dreaded terrorists have never got their share of 5 days of glory to give a testimony. They have never been able to share their ideology with the world other than through some audio recordings in Laden’s case. But Breivik got this platform and he seems to be using it to the best possible way. A lot many people are coming out openly in support for his views against multiculturalism and Muslims. Though they don’t support his actions, they agree to quite an extent with his views on how multiculturalist societies are destroying the core of Europe and the rest of the world.
Secondly, seeing Breivik being given such a free trial, others with similar views and thoughts could also be emboldened to conduct such high intensity spectacular attacks. At the moment, I have a feeling that many people see Breivik as a rebel who had a right cause but wrong actions.
On the other hand, not putting them to trial at all or being all secretive from the world like US does in case of the terrorists it captures is not the right thing to do as well. US has used increasing security, force, attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq etc. to keep itself safe. And despite the fact that I don’t agree to their policies one bit, they have managed to avoid any terrorist attack on their soil since September 2001.
Norway’s views on treating terrorists are at one end of the spectrum while US / UK views are totally on the other end. They say that they won’t change their policies. But wasn’t this an unheard of event? Wasn’t this event something never seen before? Considering this they ought to have treated Breivik differently. Yes they shouldn’t have conducted a trial secretively or killed him straightaway by hanging him. But instead, giving him a platform to voice his views is sure to lead to disaster. Every day judges are shaking hands with him, he’s smiling off and on, giving a long and detailed speech about the Knights Templar or the 2083 Europe manifesto – is he criminal or some famous personality?
A terrorist needs to be treated as one! Otherwise, the day isn’t far when many more Breivik’s will be born!!