By Denrele Animasaun, from London
…. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
—John Donne

Breivik claimed on Monday that he acted in self-defence to protect Norway from Muslims by attacking the left-leaning political party he blamed for the country’s liberal immigration policies. He confessed to the “acts” but pleaded not guilty, saying he was acting in self-defence. Desperate to prove he is not insane, mass killer Anders Breivik claimed questions about his mental health were part of racist plot to

discredit his extreme anti-Muslim ideology. Breivik rejects criminal guilt for the rampage on July 22, 2011, saying the victims had betrayed their country by embracing immigration.

He went on to kill 69 people, mostly young people, whom he claimed had been brain- washed in multiculturalism and encouraging Islamisation in Norway. He tries to justify his crime: “I see all multicultural political activists as monsters, as evil monsters who wish to eradicate our people, our ethnic group, our culture and our country,” he said.

”But because I am a militant nationalist, I am being subjected to grave racism. They are trying to delegitimise everything I stand for.”  Two psychiatric examinations reached opposite conclusions on that point. Breivik himself insists he is sane and accuses the prosecutors of trying to make him look irrational.

”I know I’m at risk of ending up at an insane asylum, and I’m going to do what I can to avoid that,” he told the Oslo court. Breivik, 33, showed no remorse as he continued his shocking testimony about his shooting spree at the annual summer youth camp of the governing Labour Party.

Calling the rampage “necessary” Breivik compared being shunned by those close to him to the grief of the bereaved: “the objective was not to kill 69 people at Utøya. The objective was to kill all of them.” Nevertheless, he described them as “legitimate targets” because of their support for multiculturalism. Breivik comes from a culturally conservative Christian background and this has shaped much of his political outlook.

Into this he has incorporated more traditional nationalist and racist ideologies and adopted the politics and language of the “counter-Jihad” movement which believes Islam is a major threat to western civilisation.

Breivik’s fear of being taken over was out of all proportion, obviously, but how are people to express their fear of change? Is voicing concerns about the modern world not part of multicultural.

Clearly such heinous crimes  and utterances are beyond the realms of sanity. Why does it concern us that the mass killing of innocent people far far away from us and our lives ? It should. Nigeria is experiencing such similar intolerance from a group of people who are hell bent in causing havoc, killing innocent people and spreading the seed of intolerance.

Unlike the Boko Haram , Breivik acted alone but there are far right groups all over Europe who share similar sentiments to a degree that muliculturism is wrong and should be stopped by any means necessary.

This was not an Al-Qaeda planned attack where the authorities could have an inkling that something is about to happen. This was not a crazy mentally- ill individual. This was carried out by the personification of evil.

A lone deranged madman who callously, meticulously and methodically planned and prepared the double terror attack on an isolated farm without any accomplices. Terrorist murder is terrorist murder, and we need to treat it that way – even when the terror is within.

Breivik is not mentally ill. His thinking was and is crystal clear and he was fully aware of what he was doing. Breivik is cold, calculating and unemotional besides a chilling hatred for everybody and everything. He lacks any semblance of what makes us human.

No amount of logic can explain the acts of such individuals other than utter revulsion and condemnation that they are not acting in the interest of the general population. And if people harbour such sentiments   the government and intelligence agencies have to act to stem the activities of such groups at the source and work to creating an open society where proper dialogue is available and encouraged before intolerance and hatred takes hold.

Breivik could face a maximum 21-year prison sentence or an alternate custody arrangement that would keep him locked up as long as he is considered a menace to society. After the killings, the people of Norway have pledged that they will not give up their values, their democracy and they will remain open and tolerant.

The prime minister of Norway, Stoltenberg said: “Our response is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity.” Norway, he suggested, would not seek vengeance as America had done after the 9/11 attacks. We will answer hatred with love,” he said.

There is a valuable lesson for Nigeria to learn in the way the people of  Norway handled the evil that  visited and resided in its shores. Nigeria would be wise to take heed and learn. We   have got much more to lose if we ignore it.

“To know a person’s religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance”
– Eric Hoffer

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