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I was born in Oslo. My journey to school passed by the government quarter. When I was 15, I spent a week as an intern in the complex that was blown up by a car bomb, on Friday afternoon.
The city of my childhood is now scarred by terrorism, its streets patrolled by soldiers. To those who have lost family and friends, we owe mourning and respect, but also a duty to understand how such a violent tragedy could have happened in a country perceived as a model of social democratic dialogue.
安德斯•贝林•布雷维克(Anders Behring Breivik)似乎已对这些罪行供认不讳,毫无疑问,他会试图利用7月25日的出庭来宣传自己。
Anders Behring Breivik has apparently admitted culpability to the events and he will no doubt attempt to exploit his appearance in court today for propaganda purposes.
While we must be careful not to take his logic at face value, he also must not be ignored. The diabolical coherence of his arguments needs to be studied in order that we are able to refute it and understand why modern, democratic societies – including those, like Norway, which are admired around the world – too often miss the frustrations that gnaw at their edges, and in turn fail to stop those frustrations erupting into violence.
The commonplace view of recent days has been that the events of Friday have seen Norway lose its innocence. In fact, Norway’s innocence was already lost. The country still sees itself as a capital of peace, but it has become entangled in wars that it has been unable to confine to the television screen.
挪威飞行员正在轰炸利比亚。挪威士兵已在阿富汗丧生。2008年1月,挪威外交大臣约纳斯•加尔•斯特勒(Jonas Gahr Store)率领的一个代表团在喀布尔的Serena酒店遭到攻击。这些事件早已撕开了那块理应把挪威与世界政治更严酷的一面幸运地隔离开来的大布。
Norwegian pilots are bombing Libya. Norwegian soldiers have died in Afghanistan. A delegation led by Jonas Gahr Store, the country’s foreign minister, was attacked at Kabul’s Serena Hotel in January 2008. These events had already unpicked the fabric of Norway’s supposedly blissful distance from the harsher side of world politics.
In truth, that fabric was always a self-imposed veil. Despite efforts to stay neutral in the second world war, Norway was occupied by Germany. The history of the armed resistance that followed, which is taught to every school child, became a central part of the national narrative.
The recent sense of lost innocence is, therefore, paradoxical, given Norway’s acquaintance with violence. To resolve this paradox, we need to recognise that this national state of innocence was in part willed into existence by pretending that Norway’s political culture was a homogeneous one with no differences that could not be resolved by patient dialogue.
Externally, this manifested itself in a conscious branding of Norway as a nation of peace and conflict resolution, even though the country is a founding member of Nato (unlike its eastern neighbours) and a stalwart US ally.
从国内来看,挪威一直有着强有力的盲从因袭的态度,北欧价值观和慷慨的社会福利基本上不受质疑。用已故工党政界人士艾纳•福德(Einar Forde)的话来说:“我们都是社会民主党人。”
Domestically, Norway has been marked by a strong element of conformism, with largely unchallenged support for Nordic values and a generous social welfare state. In the words of Einar Forde, the late Labour politician: “We are all social democrats.”
This has had huge benefits, in particular a system of social liberalism and an economic model that manages to produce growth with only minimal inequality. 
But it has also left a minority frustrated with those social developments with few outlets to voice their concerns.
There is a widespread perception, for instance, that Nordic countries are more tolerant of immigrants than others in northern Europe. Yet their governments may simply have been better at camouflaging hostility. A certain vision of social harmony has come at the price of partially stifling legitimate dissent, together with the illegitimate kind.
Foreigners who move to Norway often remark on the society’s aversion to confrontation. A friend of mine, a Syrian immigrant, says Norwegians suffer from “peace wounds”, meaning they have had it so good that they fail to recognise that anyone could fundamentally reject their social model.
Mr Breivik’s particular extremism sees a mythical ideal society – a culturally homogeneous Europe – threatened by an alien ideology, which he has labelled “cultural Marxism”.
Readers of Mr Breivik’s views may notice that they have a certain perverse logic – the very same perverse logic found in other extremist ideologies, including the jihadism Mr Breivik evidently fears.
After the attacks of September 11 2001, a Norwegian think-tank I chaired warned that those who did not distinguish between violent fundamentalism and the particular cultural form it usurped – in that case Islam – were weakening the liberal values they were seeking to defend. It is sad to be proved right in such a violent way.
2011-07-27 17:25 编辑:essaywriter