The recent shocking events in Norway have affected us in a particularly unusual way, as we have long come to view the Scandinavian family in a special light. Although they may once have been among the most violent people ever to walk the earth, that was a very long time ago; like so many others whose characteristics have changed beyond all recognition – think Romans, Germans, Japanese – we now regard the Norsemen as paragons of virtuous and peaceful living. If such an event can occur in such a region then it can occur anywhere. But perhaps I miss a vital factor here; perhaps I should restrict my comments to the developed world. Why do I say this? I say it because we have not yet heard of an outrage of this sort in Africa, Latin America or the East. And we have not heard of it in the countries of the Mediterranean basin.
A common feature of all the perpertrators of these crimes is that they are loners. They do not come from integrated and loving families; they have chips on their shoulders because they feel themselves neglected and unwanted. Their parents, in pursuit of notions of equality and a right to continue the hedonistic lifestyle of youth, even after they have ‘committed’ and produced children, do not want to be burdened with the sacrifices of parenthood. Forget the cover which hatred of the outsider provides – in this case Muslims. If they didn’t exist it would be the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, or other such minority groups. The loner has to have something to hang his grievances on.
One factor which distinguishes this atrocity from the others is that the killer had no wish to kill himself. For a start – with his warped thinking – he believes he is acting in a righteous cause and need have no bad conscience. To him, the end justifies the means or, as Stalin put it: ‘A single death is a tragedy, but a million is a statistic.’ And in that respect he is no different from the Jehadists. What’s more, he is young and will, due to Norway’s 21-year maximum jail term, be walking the streets again in his early fifties (during this time he will be enjoying some of the cushiest prison conditions in the entire world). Also what is different is that he has left us a veritable mountain of his private thoughts via the internet. He has spent years cataloguing everything. His ‘manifesto’ alone runs to an astonishing 1,430 pages, the majority of which will no doubt be rambling nonsense. We shall further have a chance to analyse his twisted logic in minute detail in one-to-ones during the months and years ahead.
What this sad and tragic tale seems to say to me is that government policies throughout the developed world must be skewed to resurrect the values associated with strong and stable families. Parents must be brought to understand that if they produce children they must stand by them; that they must make sacrifices to ensure that they have happy memories of their childhood to draw on and to know that they were loved and cherished. It is a bitter harvest indeed that we are reaping as a result of the decades following the fifties, when adults were free to be as promiscuous as they pleased – thank you, pill – and to pursue a ‘me, me lifestyle’. And don’t tell these people about duties; they only want to hear about rights.
A decade of waiting has finally yielded a result: Osama bin Laden is no more. A trial, while superficially appealing, would have been a nightmare for a whole host of reasons. The Muslim world must accept that the level of wickedness Bin Laden was responsible for could only have merited one just outcome.
Saddam Hussein went to the gallows following a trial by his own people; it would have been altogether differently perceived if the trial had been arranged by the Christian West. There would have been no trial like it since Oliver Cromwell arraigned his own king in 1649, and like Charles, Osama would have ended up—at least among his own people—a martyr.
This outcome will not see the end of Muslim terror by its unbalanced, extremist wing, but it has decapitated its loudest, most sinister proponent. To quote Churchill, after the long awaited victory in the Egyptian desert: ‘Now this is not the end; it is not even be beginning of the end; but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning’.
Although a necessary task has been accomplished, there should be no gloating from the West. A few more years of evading his pursuers would have turned Bin Laden into a latter-day Robin Hood, and if he’d never been run to ground the West would have seemed supine as well as hopelessly incompetent.
I appreciate that in today’s world it is important to get connected. Moreover it is truly wonderful to be able to share thoughts, not just with your own people, but with people across the entire planet. And at this time my thoughts – apart from wondering anxiously how my tome will be received – are with the struggling, heroic people of the Islamic world. Despite everything I am optimistic. History is on their side. They have had enough of tyrants who behave as though their country is their private property. They have had enough of the tyrants’ families obscenely siphoning off the limited wealth of their lands to feather their own nasty little nests. And they have certainly had enough of the murderous cruelties which they have inflicted on their own peoples.
They see the West, and while cherishing their own faith, wish for the freedoms and the vastly better life opportunities which its tolerant and open society offers. Of course, it is natural that the West should fear a lurch into Islamic extremism, but my hopes rest with the better educated young people. They form a majority bloc throughout the Islamic world, and above all they want jobs and the opportunities which these will bring. Thanks to the twin innovations of the mobile phone and the internet they are all in touch with one another and with us. Their oppressors can no longer hide things, nor shut them up. And they know stuff. They will not willingly exchange the miseries they and their parents have endured for so long only for a fresh set of miseries from new despots or a set of mad mullahs. All power, I say, to their elbows. They want what we have. And why not?