Feature Article

Norwegian Tamils remember Oslo-Utøya, Black July victims

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 27 July 2011, 08:32 GMT]
City of Oslo, the capital of Norway, was full of roses Monday and Tuesday. More than 200,000 people gathered Monday evening to express their sorrow and solidarity with the victims of the attacks by far-right Islamophobic killer, Anders Behring Breivik, who has claimed the lives of at least 76 people, most of them young, in a combined bomb attack on the government square in the heart of the city and a shooting rampage at the summer camp of the youth wing of the ruling Labour Party at Utøya Island, located northwest of Norway's capital. Two of five Norwegian Eezham Tamil youths, who survived the attack at the Utøya Island, took part in a memorial event Monday, jointly organised by three Tamil organisations. The memorial event also remembered the victims of Black July, the Sri Lankan state-sponsored pogrom against Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka in 1983.

Norway memorial event
Sugandan Panchalingam [Left] and Jathursan Kandiah [right], the two Eezham Tamil youths, who managed to escape from Utøya Island, at the memorial event organised by Tamil organisations in Oslo.
Norway mourns
Norway mourns with flowers [Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images]
Khamshajiny Gunaratnam
Khamshajiny Gunaratnam, an Eezham Tamil Norwegian politician of Labour Party and former leader of Oslo AUF, swam from the island to escape the firing and was rescued by a boat. [Library Photo]
The Norwegian police on Monday confirmed that the massacre in the island had lasted for 90 minutes. “We felt it like ever lasting, for many hours,” the two Tamil youth who attended the memorial event said.

“I managed to run away and was hiding at a locality with few others. We phoned our family and the Police, calling for immediate rescue,” said 17-year-old Sugandan Panchalingam.

“But, the sound of gunshot was slowly approaching me. All those around me decided to swim. As I had an injury during the escape, I was unable to swim and was kept behind by a friend who had decided to stay with me. We stayed behind a stone. The killer came with his gun, stood on top of it and shot at the fleeing members in the group. Some of them who were fleeing were hit. But, we narrowly escaped,” Suganthan said.

The other youth, 17-year-old Jathursan Kandiah said: “We attended the summer camp because it was an interesting get-together event organised by the AUF. The first two days were full of interesting lectures and activities. One of the interesting lectures was the one delivered by Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. Many global issues such as that of West Sahara were on the agenda. But, the third day ended in a nightmare.”

Jathursan continued: “My family has been remembering the victims of the war in our homeland. There was Tsunami, when I was 11. Later, the genocidal war on our homeland that has claimed several thousands of lives, and now I experience this. The gruesome hours I experienced with one gunman at Utøya has entirely shaken me. I understand now better the suffering of thousands of our people at the hands of a State that deployed thousands of soldiers like the one I met last Friday”.

They have lost a friend in the shooting rampage. Some of their friends are still reported missing.

The memorial event was organised by Norwegian Council of Eezham Tamils (NCET), Norwegian representatives of the Democrats of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE-D) and the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC).

The Norwegian killer, Anders Behring Breivik, apprehended by the Police at the Utøya Island on the massacre day, has claimed his attachment to a far-Right extremist group in UK, the English Defence League (EDL).

“Wherever there is a presence of Muslims, Islamisation occurs,” is the thinking of Islamophobic Breivik, who wants to disseminate his worldview in a “manifesto” form among the youth in the West.

Breivik has used the attacks to convey a “message” and to “market” his extreme views, which he names as “Vienna School of Thought” as opposing the Frankfurt school of Thought.

The 1,500-page document is a compendium of his writings, Wikipedia articles and other content, including selected articles published in far-Right extremist media outlets.

Portraying himself as a “cultural conservative”, the killer calls himself “Justiciar Knight Commander” of what he claims “cell 8” of “Knights Templar Europe”.

The Norwegian police are investigating his claim that of two more cells of this group exist in Norway.

“A multiculturalist is just as bad as a Nazi, which again is just as bad as a true Muslim, a communist or a fascist,” Breivik describes in his document. He uses the term “cultural Marxists” to refer to the politicians and journalists who promote multiculturalism.

He has named his document, which he put out on the Internet one hour before the gruesome massacre on Friday, as “2083: A European Declaration of Independence”.

“By September 11th, 2083, the third wave of Jihad will have been repelled and the cultural Marxist/ multiculturalist hegemony in Western Europe will be shattered and lying in ruin, exactly 400 years after we won the battle of Vienna on September 11th, 1683,” he says in his document.

According to the Norwegian Law, the maximum punishment Breivik could get is 21 years in prison.

However, the killer could be charged for Crimes Against Humanity, resulting in 30-years of imprisonment as punishment, media reports in Norway said.

76 people were confirmed killed in both the attacks.

57 were killed on the land in Utøya Island, 10 others were recovered dead in the waters and one succumbed to injuries at the hospital. 8 people were killed in the bomb blast on the government square. Besides, there are still youths reported missing in the island.

The horrible act itself and the doctrine the attacker has come up with, seek to cause disrepute to the international image of the ambitioning humanitarian super power in Norway, political observers said.

As it seems like a counter-thesis model to that of those who were behind the 2001 September 11 attacks, one cannot out-rule the possibility of involvement of an external force.

Other than providing security and strengthening the preparedness of its armed forces to deal with such crisis in future, Norway needs more of its ideology focus, to effectively pass a message to Breivik, the likeminded and any hidden force operating behind his doctrine, that Norway will pass beyond, as it did with Vidkun Quisling.

A Norwegian currently living in UK, reminded the BBC the words of famous Norwegian poet Nordahl Grieg writing on Norwegians during World War II. "We are so few in this country, every fallen man is a brother or friend," the Poet had wrote.

Nordahl Grieg served the Norwegian government-in-exile and its forces in UK opposing the Nazis. He joined the crew of an Allied bomber squadron, as an observer, to witness the air raid over Berlin in December 1943 and was killed in the mission.

Norwegians, especially, the politicians, diplomats and humanists, need to be more sensitive to the peoples who constitute today's Norway rather than being pre-occupied with the State-to-State relationship with anti-people regimes, is the opinion echoed in the circles of Eezham Tamils living in Norway, who have a recognition of being among the best integrated ethnic groups in that country.

On Peace, Nordahl Grieg wrote: “In brutal strife, your sword and shield shall be, belief in life, and human dignity.”


External Links:
CNN: Khamshajini Gunaratnam: Surviving the Norway rampage
BBC: As it happened: Norway attacker in court


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