Even in Norway
We think of Norway as the idyllic home of Grieg, not as the breeding ground for terrorists like Anders Behring Breivik, who went on a shooting rampage last week. My Norwegian ancestors could not have been farther from the mindset of this deranged man. Not that Norwegians are without political opinions, but rather that they are basically a peace-loving society that disdains acts of violence.
I read an interesting article today about the reaction of right-wing US bloggers to this terrorist act, committed by a man who is a flagrantly anti-Muslim extremist. It was sobering for them to be reminded he’s on their side, even citing them by name, and not a representative of al Qaeda as the world first supposed.
Other news about the shooter revealed his strong support of Israel. This is just the kind of friend Israel doesn’t need, even if he is sympathetic to its struggle with the Palestinians.
Norway is a relatively small country, one in which I have countless relatives. My genealogical work has revealed cousins living all over, including the current Queen of Norway. I cringe at the thought that the shooter could be related to me. But even more likely that one of his many victims might also be related to me.
I suppose there are madmen in all societies. No place is immune to fanaticism. But every time something like this happens, it challenges our assumptions and makes us ask how someone could go to such disastrous lengths in support of a cause.