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Norway's tragedy, Are Europe's values and views on multiculturalism the real victims?
by Christos Mouzeviris
2011-08-06 10:35:43
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The recent tragedy in Norway, brought upon the Norwegian people by Anders Behring Breivik, sent shock waves across Europe and the World. The media portray him as a Christian fundamental right winger, that sees himself as a hero and a fighter for Norway and Western Europe. To free them from the curse of multiculturalism and the expansion of Islam. The reality might be exactly that or something so much different.

Is he just a crazy man like Hitler, or does he belong to a more well thought and organized group of people? Is Islam and multiculturalism his real enemies, or is he just a disturbed and lonely attention seeking personality? Do people like him pose a threat to us? Will we see more of people like him copying his actions and how can we prevent another disaster like that? Is multiculturalism working and are we really as open or tolerant as we think we are? Perhaps our ruling elites wants us to believe that all is working fine in our societies, but perhaps we leave out a few voices that are never being heard. These few or great numbers of people that do have other views or opinions that can not address them as in a real democracy they would, find way in dangerous circles of fundamentalists, not much different than the Islamic ones. And the result is the tragedy in Norway. Are they really as open society as they thought or wanted to portray their country to be?

We must notice that groups and people like him flourish lately in Europe because of irresponsible immigration policies of our Governments for decades. How about the True Finns party in Finland? In many other European countries we see a turn towards right wing and conservative parties or groups, simply because they are having enough of everything. We have the same "right" mix of elements like we had back in the '30s-'40s; immigration issues, economic crisis, unemployment. All we need is another "gifted" right winger to offer solutions. And people will follow him simply because they need and are desperate for solutions. If that can happen in a country like Norway, imagine what can happen in other less tolerant countries.

In Europe we are in a way being forced to accept everyone else, but have you ever seen an anti-racism rally that would actually target the immigrant communities themselves? Have you ever seen an Indian being happy for his daughter to marry an African? A Nigerian Muslim woman has more chances to marry a European Christian man than a Pakistani Muslim one. Yet the issue of racism is only focused on the relations between the native population versus the immigrant, usually the non Christian or white. Are we preconditioning ourselves for any feelings like Breivik's? Does racism has to be dealt only on a "white on black" or "Christian on Muslim" aspect? And because anyone who will even think to address issues like immigration and integration or multiculturalism is being snubbed ,then people like Breivik take the "initiative!"

I always dreamed my country to be more "colorful", but when I saw how this is being done in other countries then I had second thoughts to be honest. Still my nightmare became reality and Athens has ghettos, like Paris, London and Brussels. I can never understand why we must create ghettos and second class citizens that inevitably will turn against the state or will rely on social welfare because of discrimination. They will feel alienated, they will be unemployed, they will rely of benefits, they will contribute nothing to the state, they will be abused and exploited; why? Wouldn't be better to have functional  immigration laws that will allow people entering our countries, but also prevent the alienation and encourage integration of all communities?

Some countries can absorb more immigrants because of their industries and economies; some are not. We can not all be modeled after the UK or France, since we do not all have similar economies. Yet if you are not a multicultural country those days in Europe, you are treated as if you are being banal. Multiculturalism means a progressive and developed nation. Then why Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy declared that multiculturalism has failed? We need to get over our complexes on immigration, race and racism, religion and multiculturalism, and have a open debate on what kind of society we want. I for one want a multicultural Greece and Europe for example, but not the mess of Brussels or Paris or other big cities of Europe. Policies that work and encourage the communities to come together, are fair to all, and reflect the wishes of the nation. Some states will be able to absorb more immigrants because of economic and cultural reasons, some less. Nothing wrong with that. 

The problem is not only against Muslims. From what I know with most Europeans that we talked about issues like that, the majority of them had similar thoughts. An Irish colleague of mine years ago, opened up and expressed his worries about immigration in his country. "No offense" he said, " I am not against immigration, but equally so I do not want us (the Irish) to lose our national identity." No malice in his words, no racism as he commented in immigration in general not only against Muslims blacks or Asians. He only expressed his genuine worries, he did not spoke against any specific group. People from many other nationalities spoke in similar manner.
I do not think that Europeans are more racists than Africans or Asians themselves. It is just that we do not dare to discuss openly about some issues, simply because of our shameful past. Some groups count on that to push for policies that will allow this immigration mess with many loopholes, so they can import and exploit people in our lands. Why Japan does not import so many people, even though it is expected together with Russia, Germany and Italy to have the greatest population decline in the near future? Here is the ageing population myth being debunked. Because if Europe did need to import people because of it, then Japan should try to import as many immigrants as well. They do not!
Greece for example, handles its immigration policies badly like most European states. While multiculturalism is good and it has its benefits, our Governments treat it the wrong way. Greece especially needs it a bit, to open up the minds of its population and break the gridlock that the country is in , under the Greek Orthodox Church and corrupt political elites. If you have only one ethnic group, one religion and one culture it is easy to manipulate the people using ethnic greatness bubble gums and populism. A diverse community supposedly has dialogue and new ideas are flowing around. The problem is that this is not happening. We lock the immigrants in a ghetto, they feel alienated and instead of caring for their host country they turn against it. Or perhaps we allow too many , more than a country can take or integrate, so that some firms can have cheap labor and people to exploit.

An illegal immigrant or an immigrant who can hardly get a decent job legally, will get any job under any conditions, something that a native would not do. And that is the point. Our ruling elites do not want multiculturalism to enhance our communities, rather to have always people to exploit; modern day slavery in a way. So multiculturalism like anything else potentially good, fails in Europe; but we still refuse to talk about it. In result we have a rise in far right groups and people fall for them because they feel alienated in their own country, and are hoping for a change.

We need to find a solution, that will respect those immigrants who were born here and perhaps curve the flow for a while until we work things out. Otherwise many more incidents like that of Norway will happen, once we alienate not only the immigrant populations, but the natives too in their own countries. The man who did that in Norway possibly had a lot of anger in him. Perhaps from his family background or other reasons. He obviously had chats with like minded people on the internet. It is a case of when the cult becomes reality for some. Imagine if others in other countries get inspired and act like him in Stockholm, Brussels, Paris, London...

That does not mean that the idea of multiculturalism is wrong. We simply messed it up big time and we need to rethink what we are doing. Having Christian fundamentalists in Europe? That's all we needed, as if we did not have enough of it in the past. Breivik's view on democracy, bombing his government's buildings because he did not agree with its policies, then killing youths on a gathering of the ruling socialist party,is absurd. And this coming from Norway? They are supposed to be a model society up there.

Migrants and EU citizens largely agree; language, employment, respect for the local culture and a clear legal status are the most important factors influencing integration, according an EU Commission research. I will add, dialogue. We should get rid off the taboos and hang ups, and let's have an open communication. I particularly like the clear legal status argument. Illegal immigration is offering nothing to nobody apart the human traffickers and the ones who employ illegal immigrants to exploit them. The ruling elite must listen to the worries and opinions of the citizens. The European project can not work without their support. Remember you can make someone give his/her consent about something or gain their support, only if you hear what they have to say and find a common ground. If you keep ignoring them, the issues won't go away; they will just be masked and come up to haunt you at some stage with a big bang! (aka Norway).

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