Humanity in Action Expresses Condolences for the People of Norway

July 25, 2011 | norway

Humanity in Action would like to express its deep condolences to the people of Norway following the tragic events there on July 22nd. As we learn more about the Norwegian massacre and the madness of one individual, it is increasingly clear that the events have particular meaning and horror for Humanity in Action.

According to the latest reports, Anders Behring Breivik justified the massacre of young members of the Labor Party by his hatred of his country and other European states for their increasingly mixed, diverse societies. Investigators have found that Breivik issued a manifesto and other statements railing against the so-called multicultural and immigration policies of political leaders and their followers. 

He killed politically active youth. He sought them out in the vulnerability of their gathering on a peaceful, verdant island in summer. He stalked them because he hated their attempts to integrate and accept diversity. 

Having just completed another set of summer programs, culminating with the Berlin conference, concerns about confronting ethnic and religious tensions and resisting extremism are much on our minds. We were so recently and intensely immersed in these issues and challenges—especially of the striking escalation of rhetoric and actions by individuals extolling simplistic ideas of national identity, pitting group against group, on both sides of the Atlantic. 

We struggle to understand how beliefs about differences can turn to fractured societies, madness and murder—by individuals and groups. This resort to the extreme is one of the essential concerns of HIA.  It is work that gains greater urgency through the shock and sadness of what happened in Utoya and Oslo.

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