The Court Case in Oslo

The innumerable articles and extensive press coverage of the court case in Oslo of Anders Behring Breivik is hard to avoid these days, especially in Norway. Despite online newspapers, like Aftenposten offering a button to remove any pictures and articles, there are some of us who want to know why and if he can be considered sane, we keep watching and reading, despite the unbearable pain and grief. The front cover of Morgenbladet, this week, reads ‘Look at Me!’. Does Behring Breivik introduce a new chapter in the ideology of terrorism? Gudmud Skjeldal asks and according to Bruce Hoffman, author of ‘Inside Terrorism’, he does; by wanting global, not only local, influence unavoidable after such horrible and tragic actions.

The Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard wrote that despite all the images he had already seen of him, he still wanted to see him in motion to get an impression of the nature of his personality in the article “First the Nightmare, Then the News” in New York Times of 22.nd April. If you read only one newspaper article about the terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, I suggest you read Knausgaard’s, see

“His testimony, his ideas, his conception of the world will turn to nothing. Possibly, he will be able to resist even that, but the trial is for us, not for him. We shall see him as he is, a human being like you and me, and we shall see what he has done. And we shall try to understand. The dangerous thing is the distance, the confusing of the picture of the world with the real world, the turning away from the other person. And it is this that the court case, with its emphasis on formalities and its equality of treatment, confronts. Our task is to witness it, to allow the weight of reality to break through the picture and correct it. And never, never the reverse.”