Norway killings reveal politics of hate

From the Restore Fairness blog-

A 32 year old Norwegian man is behind the brutal killings of 76 people in twin attacks that have shocked the world. We mourn the loss of those that lost their lives in this senseless violence. And as the shock wears off, we are slowly beginning to learn the motives behind the attack, much of which has been linked to a hatred of immigration and multiculturalism.

The man, Anders Behring Breivik, left behind a 1,500 page manifesto where he talks about the need to start a revolution against multiculturalism, fueled by the failure of Norwegian politicians in protecting the country from the influence of outsiders, with a particular focus on Muslim immigrants. The main target of his attacks were government buildings and a youth camp run by the ruling Labour Party, symbols of the government he felt were the largest obstacles to his ideal society- one without any immigrants.

In many ways, the killings have focused attention on the anti-immigrant rhetoric voiced openly in Europe. As a BBC article ‘Norway and the politics of hate’ reports,

Some of Europe’s leaders, from Angela Merkel to David Cameron, have questioned multiculturalism. The danger, of course, is that such statements can encourage extremism. Others say that in Europe the debate needs to be had, openly and transparently about immigration and multiculturalism.

A Reuters article ‘Norway massacre exposes incendiary immigration issue’ explains an even more extreme version of this questioning.

Many far-right European groups have shifted away from overtly racist rhetoric and have instead focused their argument on stressing what they see as the incompatibility of Islam and European values….Anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic parties have gained traction in Nordic and Scandinavian countries in recent years, tapping public anxiety over the relatively recent phenomenon of mass migration, particularly of Muslims, to their region.

It goes on to explain the political scenario in Sweden where the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, despite having roots in neo-Nazi movements of the last two decades, were elected to Parliament for the first time. And although “there may be no direct link between violence and comments by politicians, the rhetoric creates a fertile environment for ethnically motivated attacks.”

The attacks also spotlight anti-Muslim thought in the U.S. as Breivik’s manifesto credits many American bloggers and writers who talk about the dangers of Islam to the west, with angry posts creating fear and hatred.

His manifesto cited Western writers who shared his view that Muslim immigrants pose a grave danger to Western culture…Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and a consultant on terrorism, said it would be unfair to attribute Mr. Breivik’s violence to the writers who helped shape his world view. But at the same time, he said the counterjihad writers do argue that the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam “is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged. Well, they and their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.

There is never an explanation for senseless acts of violence such as this that take the lives of innocent people. While Saturday’s shooting can be seen as an isolated action of an individual, it can also be seen as emblematic of an international landscape that is often angry, divisive and intolerant. As the world churns with change, globalization has led to the shrinking of the world, often placing different cultures together. And yet, while divisive rhetoric thrives, little attention seems to be paid to the importance of diverse societies, the richness offered by immigration, and the necessity of their contributions to growing economies.

As the world reels from this violent tragedy, we must remember that the responsibility for not allowing the politics of hate to spread lies with each and every one of us. If anything, this tragic moment should become a turning point for a more honest conversation that uplifts each other and upholds the rights for everyone to live fairly with dignity and equality and justice.

Photos courtesy of nytimes.com

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US Soldiers Shoot Handcuffed Children in Afghanistan

Note, the first order of the day: Did McChrystal authorize? Haul him back to Washington to answer some questions. Who gave the order?

Burning an effigy of Obama and the American flag, Afghans have taken to the streets over the execution of children, ranging in age from 12 to 18, who were pulled from their beds by Special Operations forces in the middle of the night, handcuffed, and shot. The US confirms that there were no other forces in the region at the time. AFP:

Hundreds of university students blocked main roads in Jalalabad, capital of eastern Nangahar province, to protest the alleged deaths of 10 civilians, mostly school children, in a Western military operation on Saturday.

The UN through MSNBC said,

The United Nations said Thursday that a weekend raid by foreign troops in a tense eastern Afghan province killed eight local students...

The London Times reports:

"President Karzai sent a team of investigators to Narang district, in eastern Kunar province, after reports of a massacre first surfaced on Monday."

"The delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane Sunday night into Ghazi Khan village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took ten people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and ten, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead," a statement on President Karzai's website said.

Assadullah Wafa, who led the investigation, said that US soldiers flew to Kunar from Kabul, suggesting that they were part of a special forces unit.

Mr Wafa, a former governor of Helmand province, met President Karzai to discuss his findings yesterday. "I spoke to the local headmaster," he said. "It's impossible they were al-Qaeda. They were children, they were civilians, they were innocent. I condemn this attack."

In a telephone interview last night, the headmaster said that the victims were asleep in three rooms when the troops arrived. "Seven students were in one room," said Rahman Jan Ehsas. "A student and one guest were in another room, a guest room, and a farmer was asleep with his wife in a third building.

"First the foreign troops entered the guest room and shot two of them. Then they entered another room and handcuffed the seven students. Then they killed them."

 

The governor of Kunar, Fazullah Wahidi, said that

"the coalition claimed they were enemy fighters," but that elders in the district and a delegation sent to the remote area had found that "10 people were killed and all of them were civilians."

The Karzai government has dispatched investigators, from the presidential website,

President Karzai in a telephone contact expressed condolences and shared grief with the families of the victims of the recent attack in Kunar province. Following the attack, President Karzai tasked a delegation on Monday led by the Chief of Complaints Commission and composed of representatives from the ministries of Defense, Interior, National Directorate of Security and the Office of Administrative Affairs for an immediate investigation of the incident. The findings by the delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane Sunday night into Ghazi Khan Village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took 10 people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and 10, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead. Eight of those shot dead were confirmed as school students by the village school principle.

In "The Year of Living Dangerously" the actor facing monstrous social injustice and oppression of the Jakarta government poses the question "What then must we do?" He has tried living his life peacefully, helping one family at a time, and hoping for a better future. But it is not enough. The first thing we must do is place the blame where it belongs. Not only at the feet of the actual perpetrators, who must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but also with those who know, without doubt, that atrocities come with come with the package when you vote for war, because that's what war is, an atrocity. The just released equivalent of the Pentagon Papers, the US Army's official assessment of what went wrong in Afghanistan, notes that this is a conflict of our own creation, probably avoidable but for the absence of any attempt to address starvation conditions, rampant 40% unemployment, and other indicators of economic chaos. Yes, this under Bush, but a military approach to Afghan instability is just as wrong an answer now as it was then. Moreover, it almost seems as if the neglect leading to further war was all but deliberate.

“There was no major planning initiated to create long-term political, social and economic stability in Afghanistan,” the historians write. “In fact, the message from senior D.O.D officials in Washington was for the U.S. military to avoid such efforts.”

The US Congress knows full well that more of this is coming if we continue on this course in Afghanistan. Americans are gearing up to oppose it as never before. From Peace of the Action:

We’ve marched, written, called and faxed but the wars continue. It is time for new creative strategies and bolder action. Peace of the Action will bring forward an historic escalation of Peace Activism like we have not seen in the United States in a very long time. "...you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop." -- Mario Savio 1964

These are the funders, the enablers, who voted for more war funding on Dec. 16. (for the breakdown look in column for war and escalation 12/16/2009) Note, thanks to David Swanson for excellent research.

 

VIDEO of Afghan Protest

Sexism: The mother of all 'isms'.

Sexism is the 'gateway 'ism'', that makes all other 'isms' possible.  It precedes all other forms of discrimination, setting the example that there are some people that view others as inferior and they use brutality upon them.  What I mean by that is that because our family and society models are built around the model of inequality, injustice and brutality - we accept that behavior as normal.  So, too is racism, classism, speciesism and any other oppression by one group toward another.  The behaviors of sexism are the behaviors of bullying, injustice, intolerance and cruelty.

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

There's more...

Why terrorists target civilians.

I condemn the murder in all of its forms.  This is a conversation about terrorists and attacks on civilian populations.

Last week's brutal attacks of unarmed civilians in Mumbai got me to thinking about the nature of attacks on civilians.  For many years, I accepted the given definition of 'terrorists' as people that are so filled with evil that they want to frighten and kill us all.  There are always sociopaths out there to fit into this mold.  I think that for the sheer numbers of civilians killed in targeted violence, sociopaths are not the only explanation.  The large role of religious / dogmatic programming in targeted violence against civilians eliminates sociopathology as a cause because the sociopath has no conscience or care for his/her impact on society.  For the most part, the religious killer is convinced that his/her morality is calling for the murder of civilians.

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

There's more...

Kenyan Police Legally Murdering and Torturing Civilians.

Image courtesy of Wikileaks

From Wikileaks, comes the truth about Police Death squads operating under legal orders, to round up and kill young men.  Kenya: The Cry of Blood - Report on Extra-Judicial Killings and Disappearances, Sep 2008 is documented evidence that over the last 18 months, the government has ordered the capture and murder of its own citizens at the hands of the police.  The land of our next President's father has become like pre-war Nazi Germany with government sanctioned murder and torture.

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

There's more...

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