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Gullestad, S.E. (2013). Ideological Destructiveness: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on the Massacre of July 22, 2011. DIVISION/Rev., 7:29-36.

(2013). DIVISION/Review, 7:29-36

Ideological Destructiveness: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on the Massacre of July 22, 2011

Siri Erika Gullestad

On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old white Norwegian man from one of Oslo's well-to-do neighborhoods, set off a bomb at the Norwegian Government Headquarters in the center of Oslo, killing 7 people and crippling many more. Dressed as a policeman, he then drove to Utoya, about 40 kilometers from Oslo, to the summer camp of 600 young people from the Social Democratic Party. During 1 hour he killed—in cold blood—69 youths and children, one by one, shot in the chest and in the head, through hands helplessly trying to protect the face. Pretending to be a policeman who was there to protect them, Breivik induced them to leave their hiding places. Groups of children hiding under rocks or behind their leaders were massacred. Breivik's original plan was to execute Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway, who had given a political speech at Utoya earlier that day: the decapitation of Brundtland was to be videotaped and put on the Internet, modeling al-Qaeda operations. The plan had to be changed, however, because Breivik was delayed.

The shock in Norway was total. How was this possible? How can we understand these acts of evil? In his own view, Anders Behring Breivik was motivated by extremist right-wing ideology. The bomb and the massacre were intended to be a wakeup call: Breivik wanted to save Norway. Just before the massacre he sent out a manifest of 1,500 pages to more than a thousand recipients, the key message of which was that a revolution was necessary to save Norway from Eurabia—a Europe dominated by Muslims.

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