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BREIVIK/ Solholm (Norway Post): Not a crusader, but an outsider

The trial of Anders Breivik, the mass murderer who killed 77 people on July 22, has begun. ROLLEIV SOLHOLM, editor in chief of the Norway Post, comments on what this means for Norway.

Memorial for the victims of the massacre at Utoya, Norway   (Infophoto) Memorial for the victims of the massacre at Utoya, Norway (Infophoto)

The trial of Anders Behring Breivik has begun. The murderer who killed 77 people on July 22 took advantage of the interrogation in court to indulge in a series of shock statements. "I would do it again," he began, justifying himself by saying: "When peaceful revolution is impossible, the only way is violent revolution". No repentance, but a series of freewheeling sentences like "I am a representative of the Norwegian and European resistance movement and the network of the Knights Templar". According to Rolleiv Solholm, the director of the Norway Post, "the killer of Utoya is considered by the entire Norwegian society as a loner and an outsider, who acted on his own behalf. All that most people ask is to not have to continue to see him on the front pages of the newspapers and on TV, but that he be tried as a common criminal". Solholm adds: "Breivik claims to be a Knight Templar, but there is absolutely no relationship between him and Christianity. Everyone acknowledges that the murderer had no connection with any organization, whether Christian, right-wing, or any other kind".

What is the significance of the trial of Breivik for Norwegian society?
In my opinion, this is just an ordinary court case in a democratic where someone who has been accused of a crime is on trial. Today he is on trial and being questioned by the prosecution. As far as the whole nation, I think a lot of people are not interested at all, some are tired of this being on the top of the news pages every day, and others, like the many who have relatives among the victims are, of course, interested in finding out what really happened on July 22.

Is there a risk that the trial could become a celebration of Breivik, convincing other fanatics to commit a massacre?
I think the opposite. I think a lot of rightwing extremists are distancing themselves from Breivik, realizing that what he has done is such a terrible atrocity that they do not want to be associated with him. I know, in fact, that several people he has quoted, in Britain for example, have dissociated themselves from him, saying that they have nothing to do with his way of dealing with this problem. 

Could this dissociation from Breivik have political significance for extreme right parties across Europe?