Norway's tragedy sounds alarm in Europe

09:19, August 01, 2011      

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Overwhelmed with grief, Norwegians are still struggling to come to terms with last Friday's massacre, which, as the country's prime minister said, has turned the island paradise into hell.

Memorial services were held across Norway on Friday to remember those killed in the federal building bomb attack and island shooting spree.

At least 77 people lost their lives in the horrifying carnage, perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian who is obsessed with far-right political concepts.

The horrendous crimes traumatized the normally peaceful northern European country, and also sounded an alarm bell in Europe, where the far-right forces might have posed a grave threat it cannot afford to ignore.

Breivik might have planned and executed the attack as a lone wolf, but his anti-immigrant rhetoric and ideology is shared and defended by many cross Europe, analysts and observers said.

Jacques Coutela, a member of France's far-right National Front party, was suspended after posting words of support on his blog for Breivik, referring to Breivik as "an icon."

Mario Borghezio, a leader of Italy's anti-immigration Northern League party and a member of the European Parliament also shared Breivik's view.

Some observers view support, expressed explicitly or implicitly, to the killer from across Europe as very worrying, and warned that Breivik is not a Norwegian oddity.

Driven by an extreme far-right ideology, Breivik has a hysterical hatred towards immigrants.

A onetime member of Norway's right-wing opposition Progress Party, Breivik later quit, considering the group not radical enough.

The ruling Labor Party's support of policies on immigration and multi-culturalism have apparently fuelled the rage of Breivik, who finally went on a shooting rampage at a summer camp of young members of the Labor Party on the small island of Utoeya, some 40 km west of the capital.

In recent years, some far-right parties and organization across Europe have benefited greatly from a brewing resentment against immigrants among some citizens of some European countries who have felt the pinch of globalization.

Some right-wing groups have already grown into full-fledged and formidable political forces in some European countries including France.

The Oslo nightmare may well become a watershed incident regarding how the European countries tackle right-wing and extremist forces.

Analysts and observers said the growing strength of right-wing forces is closely related with the economic and social impacts of global financial crisis on many European countries, and they warned the festering sovereign debt crisis in Europe and ensuing financial austerity will pose even tougher challenges to their social and economic stability.

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