It is now nearly a year since the twin terror attacks in the Government Quarter and on Utøya, and the trial of Anders Behring Breivik should be wrapping up this coming week. I was wondering if any Dopers had any questions about either of these, which I can try to answer, and maybe our fellow Dopers in Norway or the rest of Scandinavia would be interested in helping to answer, too. I have the sense that the international press has been doing a, shall we say, less than perfect job of covering both the attacks and the trial.
A couple of misconceptions I wanted to clear up off the bat:
- The camp at Utøya was not, as some (particularly right-wing) commentators have said, an “indoctrination camp”. Nor was it, as others have said, a camp for the children of “the Labor Party elite”. It was a camp for members of AUF, which is the Labor Party’s youth party. All the major political parties in Norway have a youth party; this is common at least in Northern Europe. Anyone of the right age can join, regardless of whether their parents are members of the party or not. The camps, which the larger parties have, serve as a sort of annual convention, with a bit of normal camp things (flirting, swimming, rock music, grilling…) mixed in. The kids are not being taught what to believe; they are there to practice their skills at debating and organizing, and also to have fun.
1a. And for the record, some of the young people Breivik killed there were not ethnic Norwegians, and some were Muslims. I don’t know where this “he only killed ethnic Norwegian kids” came from, but it’s nonsense. He killed whoever was handy, and intended to let the rest drown. All honor to the brave folks from Utvika who rescued all those kids from the water.
- Breivik is not going to Halden Prison, let alone Bastøy Prison, for a long time if ever. The press loves to write about these places because they seem so un-prison-like, but they do not represent the majority of Norwegian prisons. They are for prisoners who have earned the privilege, and Bastøy is primarily for prisoners who are starting the transition back to normal society, which is to say they are in the last few years of their sentence. Breivik is currently being held at Ila Prison, which is Norway’s most traditional prison. If found sane, he will serve out his sentence there for the forseeable future and probably the rest of his life. If found insane, he will be held in a purpose-built hospital unit in the same prison.
Now it’s your turn - what are you wondering about?