jump to navigation

JOHAN GALTUNG AT DEMOCRACY NOW July 30, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Multiculturalism, Peace, Terrorism Issues.
trackback

Democracy Now interviewed Johan Galtung, the Norwegian thinker associated with peace and conflict studies.

Such is the nature of the Norwegian society that his grand daughter was at the scene during the mass murder. When he looks at the characteristics of the murders, he sees two associations. The ideology of the Nazis is obvious. His second comparison is less so. He describes it as horrifying.

He firstly responds to the following question:

JUAN GONZALEZ:

Well, Johan Galtung, I’d like to ask you about the climate in which this has occurred across Europe, as well as in the United States: growing anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiment, right-wing parties getting more and more votes in a variety of countries across Europe. Could you talk about the impact on Norway of this event and also of the ideology behind the perpetrator of this terrible crime?

JOHAN GALTUNG:

Thanks for the excellent question. So let me start with the more general Norwegian question. Don’t try to explain this in terms of anything Norwegian. Our right-wing populist party, which is very far from anything I stand for, I have to defend. They had strongly anti-Islamic, also racist, connotations two or one decade ago. They have, to a very large extent, liberated themselves from that. Anti-immigration? Yes. But they are not alone in that in Norway. He’s not a reflection of that party. He was a member and left it, and left it because he found it much far to the left or to the center and not to his liking.

And the general climate in Norway, of course there are Islamophobes, and of course there are people to the extreme right not organized as a party. We have our fair shares. But we also have something else. We have 10 percent of Norwegians born abroad, and a heavy portion of them are Muslims. And by and large, they are integrated perfectly, speak fantastic Norwegian. You now have them second generation. And as I say to my family members, I am totally prepared for the circumstance that there will be a Mohammed Galtung and a Fatima Galtung in the future. And Galtung is some of the oldest families in Norway, from Viking times.

Now, having said that, I have the impression that their encounter with middle-range social democratic Norway has also modified and made their Islam less, shall we say, confrontational, although I know enough about Islam to know that the word “confrontation” is not built into it, except when it is trampled upon—the fourth stage of jihad, to put it that way. In general terms, with some few exceptions, the relations are good, and very different from what you can find in other countries. You have England, Netherlands, of course, Hungary. And in Italy, a parliamentarian just said that he was 100 percent in agreement with Anders Breivik, but not with his violence, but ideologically in agreement.

AMY GOODMAN:

Our guest right now in Spain is Johan Galtung. He’s a Norwegian sociologist, principal founder of peace and conflict studies, author of the book The Fall of the U.S. Empire—And Then What? We’re talking about this issue of how to avoid, stop these kind of attacks in the future. And then, following up on Juan’s question, your second answer, Johan Galtung?

JOHAN GALTUNG:

His ideology, OK, we have to go into it. And it doesn’t help anything, as I said, to call him a “terrorist.” We have to try to understand him. So I identify three features very quickly.

Point one, a civil war in Europe between deep Christianity, which is his essentially as Catholic, and Islam. And a civil war has been going on and is going on.

Point two, Islam is penetrating on a road greased by multiculturalism, tolerance, and key proponents of this tolerance are the builders of that road, which he finds in what he calls “cultural Marxism” and social democracy.

And point three, debate is impossible. You cannot end the Norwegian democracy and have a debate about this, because people are deaf and dumb. The Islamists, as he calls and would refer to all Muslims, will not listen; they are just pursuing their cause. In other words, the only possible response, horrible as it is, is violence—terrible, but necessary.

There you have three features. And that makes me immediately ask the question, what does it remind me of? And I have one simple answer and one horrifying answer.

I will take the simple answer first: it reminds me of Nazism. There’s a civil war in Europe between Jews and Aryans—also a very basic tenet of Hitlerism, Nazism. And the Jews are of two kind: the Bolshevik Jews in Moscow and the plutocratic money Jews in London.

Point two, there is something greasing the way for them, and that is miscegenation, racial mixing, marriages between Jews and Aryans—the worst crime imaginable. And point three, these people have their minds set; there is no dialogue possible.

The only thing one can do is to expel them. You might even reward them for expelling them. And if not, the alternative is to execute them.

Now, that last point was picked up by Breivik. I don’t think he had it from Nazism, but his idea was that each Muslim family in Norway should be paid 25,000 euro to leave, back to their own country. And if they rejected that, the alternative was execution—exactly the same as the Nazis did under the famous Transfer Agreement during the 1930s, when 60,000 Zionist German Jews were given not only the permission, but encouraged to leave for Palestine.

Well, I can call this ideology neo-fascism, and it’s an updating, where instead of being anti-Semitic, it’s anti-Islam, and instead of miscegenation being the fantasma, it’s multiculturalism. So Breivik talks cultures where the Nazis talked race. But otherwise, the similarity is almost point to point.

But you see, then, when again you ask the question, “What does it remind you of?” there is a horrifying answer, which will be very difficult for Norway to process. This is exactly the ideology of the Washington-led attack on Muslim countries.

There’s a civil war in Europe. It’s called “clash of civilizations,” the idea that came from the Princeton professor Bernard Lewis and was taken by Samuel Huntington’s publishers and put as title of his book, and I think wrongly attributed to Sam. But that doesn’t matter; that’s a small detail.

The road is greased by failed states and by local groups taking command those failed states, so that in these failed states, the local groups, be they Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, these groups can launch decisive attacks on the Christian Western mainland, and particularly then U.S. And 9/11 is then interpreted in that context.

And point three, makes no sense to have any dialogue. These people, you cannot talk with them. Terrible as it is, the only language they understand is violence. Well, my country, Norway, is a part of that: sharpshooters in Afghanistan killing Taliban.

I had talked to a number of Taliban. I feel very deeply touched by that. They are human beings. They are fighting for their country. Some are what we would call “extremists,” most of them are not. I think their ideology has essentially three points. Point one, they stand up for Islam, but know they have made—know very well they have made mistakes, particularly with regard to women. Point two, they hate Kabul as the landing platform for foreign invaders. And they hate being invaded. I have no difficulty accepting those three points. I have great difficulties, or I cannot—I simply reject the Norwegian government signing up with the U.S. effort to try to quench what they see as a rebellion of people with whom they cannot talk.

And then you have Norway in Libya, F-16s, 535 sorties, throwing 501 bombs on what they call military targets. OK, Breivik could say, “My bomb killed very few, and it was on the target.” The target was the center of decision making.

The parallel is disgusting. And the point about it is that, suddenly, my little country Norway stands as victim. We are mourning today. There are beautiful ceremonies. And I must reach out to the Prime Minister, saying his words are extremely well chosen. He does it beautifully. And at the same time, Norway, under the leadership of Washington, is doing exactly the same thing, only on a much larger scale: perpetrator—victim and perpetrator.

Well, I hope my country will be able to process that. And I think the way to process it, there’s only one road, and that is to point to positive openings, both in Norway, in Europe, and in the world. So, as a mediator, I’m working on that and have a couple of small things to say.

AMY GOODMAN:

We only have a few minutes to go, and I wanted to ask—you have said that you don’t compare this to Timothy McVeigh blowing up the Oklahoma City building or to 9/11, but to the Nazis.

JOHAN GALTUNG:

Exactly.

Galtung’s identification of the features of the ongoing wars do seem to fit the facts. And if that is accurate, it is very disturbing.

Comments»

1. john mornington - July 31, 2011

brainy old man

wmmbb - August 1, 2011

Indeed.

2. Marge - August 1, 2011

touching interview and still a great analysis

wmmbb - August 1, 2011

It is a long quote, but I think it worthwhile. Most of us see the connection between scapegoating and violence. We can identify the process, if not to fully understand it, with mid-twentieth century fascism.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: