Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ja, vi elsker dette landet...

Scandinavians aren't terrorists. Scandinavians aren't terrorists. Scandinavians aren't terrorists...
I can recall hearing about a Bush visit to Denmark a few years ago. Apparently, there was to be heightened security after "Danish Terrorists" threatened violence against the unpopular W. I remember chuckling to myself. Danish Terrorists? Oh for fuck's sake.
Scandinavians aren't terrorists. Scandinavians aren't terrorists. Scandinavians aren't terrorists...
Think about it. When someone says terrorist, your mind immediately shifts to men draped in bullets and automatic rifles, dark eyes and black hair peering out from behind militant head scarves. You don't think of a blonde, blue-eyed Norwegian.
Is that wrong? You tell me.
Whether we like to admit it or not, our brains categorize information. If you've gotten stung by a jelly fish twice, you're more likely to think of one when you feel a sharp pain in your hand as you splash around.
Of course, unlike with jelly-fish, our media and mass produced fear over-exaggerate the threat of masked Muslim gunmen overtaking our city upon a hill. The graver threat is with the deliberately downtrodden international masses we mine for money...but that's another story.
In terms of our highly organized minds, it is interesting to ponder the pathways, the apparent roadways our thoughts like to take. When hit with certain information, most of us like the well-lit paths that we've walked before. Abstract thinking is of course something entirely different, where cobwebbed corners are most inviting - if you're into that sort of thing. Many aren't.
But this smacked of something straightforward - evil acts. Something bad happened. It looked like this. It happened like this. Bomb. Shooting. Innocents killed. Extremist.
What's the image in your head right now?
Well, maybe now it is the clean face of Anders Breivik, about as Aryan as they come. But maybe it's not...maybe it wasn't...
Yesterday I posted a question on my facebook page asking people to comment on the events in Norway. Interestingly enough, not many commented on Norway. There was almost an immediate shift to the Middle East. Even my comment as to the relevance of that connection did not stifle the commentary that ensued: Mossad is involved, it's Israel and Palestine, the Saudis, the Arabs, and on and on. Meanwhile CNN is posting excerpts from the perp's right wing extremist "manifesto" foretelling a European civil war and an end to "cultural Marxists" and Muslims.
News outlets from around the world say with solemn tones that Norwegians are racking their minds to understand how one of their own, a Norwegian could do this, why?
Can you blame them? What happened...Oklahoma City, Columbine, Waco, and more recently, Tuscon? One of our own...Americans. They didn't fit the profile of scapegoat. They were in our midst - in hindsight, they showed signs, but come on, they were one of us, how are we supposed to know?
Is this argument bullshit? Can we sit here and say that had he been our neighbour, we would have singled him out as someone capable of this - as opposed to a rather vehemently patriotic odd ball?
Unless you're overly paranoid, probably not. For those of you who haven't been to Norway, this shit just doesn't happen. Being from Sweden, I can tell you that a man attempting to rob a bank with a wood splint constitutes news (true story). But in that same breath, does that allow us to ignore the unthinkable when it becomes the unavoidable reality?
Why is it when our own do it, they're ill and when Muslims do it, it's their nature? I'm of the mind that anyone who kills innocent people, detonates bombs in highly trafficked civilian areas and clings to ideals like white on rice is absolutely stone cold fucking nuts.
So what now - if we can allow ourselves to accept it, what does that mean for the future? Anyone can be a murderer? Anyone is capable of the most atrocious acts in the name of bigotry and extremism?
Call me romantic, but I still have a little faith in mankind. This will only push us to paranoia if we allow it to. This is not the norm. The banter has begun, and will continue. But it is up to us to control the knee jerk reactions of those well lit pathways in the mind. Paradigms shift. In the complexities of our thoughts, we can reign in the fly aways and focus on the issues at hand.
As of now, that is bringing to justice the man (or men, however this unfolds) responsible for this.
From there, I think it would behoove all of us, to use those cobwebbed corners a little more frequently. Not just to allow for broader horizons in respect to "othering" and projection of faults, but to actually search for those faults, to find where hate is bred, where acts like these are born. And not only where but why...
Let us learn from this. My hear goes out to all those involved in these tragic events.
Hårde tider har vi døyet...Ja, vi elsker dette landet.

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