22 July Movie Chat: Right-Wing Terrorism 

*Spoiler Alert*

 

This weekend, as I made responsible use of my reading week- by scrolling through Netflix, I stumbled upon the newly released movie, 22 July. I initially wasn’t interested in watching a movie as I had been reeling from a ‘Suits’ binge, hoping to find another show to become unhealthily obsessed with.  However, with a name so poignant, the movie immediately lassoed my attention. Because of the use of ‘22 July’ for a movie title, it was obvious to me that this movie was based on an event that took place on that specific day and as I clicked on the module to view the movie’s information, my speculation was met with a grim confirmation. The unveiled movie synopsis revealed that 22 July marked the day that Norway experienced one of the world’s deadliest terrorist attacks.

The movie provided a dramatization of the fateful events that took place on July 22, 2011. Specifically, the film chronicled the murderous escapades, arrest and trial of the perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik is a Norwegian right-wing extremist who was motivated by protecting the European culture against, who he claimed were “cultural Marxists”. He felt that the existence of such groups would give rise to “cultural suicide”. The movie commenced with the reenactment of how Breivik electronically sent his manifesto 2083: A European Declaration of Independence.  Following this, the movie detailed how Breivik carried out his first attack as he detonated a bomb that he meticulously placed inside a van he had parked outside of Norway’s Regjeringskvartalet executive government building which was where Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (leader of Worker Youth League) worked. The blast claimed the lives of eight people and injured around 209. After the first attack was executed, Breivik travelled to his second attack site where he impersonated a police officer to gain access to the island of Utøya that hosted a youth Camp that was organized by the Workers Youth league (AUF), the youth division of the Labour Party and social-democratic political party in Norway. The film graphically depicted how Breivik gunned down staff and campers as he shouted, “You will all die today. Marxists, Liberals, members of the elites”. The targeting of the governmental building and Liberal Youth Camp was a clear indication that the attacks were the intimidation tactics to scar the government into complying with his demand for nationalism. He wanted Islam out of Europe.  Breivik was subsequently arrested on the island, however, not before slaying 77 camp goers. When Breivik was interrogated he claimed that he targeted the camp because he wanted to make sure that his message made a traumatic impact on the government officials by killing their children. He argued that he wanted to, “Hit them where it hurt the most”.

Momentous Quotes During the Trial 

During the trial, there were a variety of momentous quotes that made me tremble. One quote that shook me to my core with disgust was when Breivik finally detailed reason for his attacks stating;

 “Today, I speak on the behalf of fellow Europeans who have been deprived of their ethnic, indigenous, cultural and territorial rights. The prosecution telling you I am insane-they do this because they fear me. Because I have committed the most sophisticated, the most spectacular political assassination since World War II. Why? Because Norway and Europe are not real democracies. Is it democratic for a nation not to become consulted whether it becomes multicultural and force them to become a minority in their own capital? I demand to be acquitted because I acted in the defense of my country”.

This quote is evidence of a delusional sense of patriotism as neo Nazis believe that it is their own divine obligation to ensure that ethnic-cleansing is enforced to preserve the “European integrity”.

Another frightening exchange of dialogue happened when Breivik stated, “I’d do it all again if I could”. His Lawyer rebutted by saying, “You didn’t win Anders, you failed”. Breivik persisted arguing, “There will be many more to finish what I have started”. “And we will beat you…my children and their children will”, his Lawyer challenged. Breivik smugly spat, “You can’t even see us”. Breivik’s final statement made my heart skip a beat. His last statement was exceptionally chilling because he was essentially right. The face of the alt-right extremist has transcended from the skinhead to the most unsuspecting middle class citizen. Thus, making it more difficult to pinpoint such extremist movements and dismantle them before they gain momentum.

However, although the face of the quintessential extremist has now evolved into the unsuspecting citizen, the alt-right has clearly underestimated how attuned the rest of society is.

We have caught on to the shift in persona and have been exposing and holding “suit and tie” white supremacists  accountable for their hateful actions. For example, Robert B. Spencer and Donald Trump have been at the forefront of backlash as their nationalist rhetoric has been challenged by anti-extremist movements, globally. Also, with the help of supporters of anti-extremism, like you, who are willing to fight against anti-immigration and nationalist movements, I don’t see this coming to an end any time soon!

 

Think beyond what you hear,

Kishale