By Ocaya p’Ocure, social media commentator, Uppsala, Sweden

Utoya Island VillageIt was on a fine day, July 22, 2011, when a homegrown terrorist named Anders Behring Breivik killed 8 people in a bomb blast in Oslo, Norway. He then dressed as a policeman to access Utoya island village where he massacred 69 children and young people because they were members and supporters of the Norwegian Social Democratic party Youth Union–locally known as–Arbeiderpartiet Ungdomsförbundet–(AUF).

In less than 79 minutes, Breivik shot dead 69 people, most of whom were of mixed race and immigrant children. By this diabolical act, Breicik wanted to wipe out almost an entire generation of young Norwegian Social Democrats, politically committed people who stood for anti-racism, solidarity, and equality. Breivik wanted to harm and destroy the future of the Norwegian Labour Party. Clearly, for many of us who were not there, after ten years, this is still extremely difficult to grasp. The big question is, what would senior leaderships of social democracy parties in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland and the whole Nordic countries be dreaming for the future of their countries without their youths?

One wonders and asks why some Swedes are giving political support to the infamous Sweden Democrats (SD)–locally called–Sverige-demokraternas, whose ideology is aligned with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. The Sweden Democrats or Swedish Democrats was founded in 1988 and is based on the populist nationalist right–wing party in Sweden. The party describes itself as social conservatives with a nationalist foundation. A cursory research reveals that no differences exist between Anders Behring Breivik, the terrorist, and Jimmy Åkesson, the leader of Sweden Democrats (SD). Their political doctrines are based on the promotion of apartheid ideology in both Sweden as well as Norway. 

The Scandinavian countries used to be a haven of humanism based on the old political model of the universal doctrine of accepting refugees. Sorry, fellow human beings, that has now faded away due to political intimidation by the morbid populist politics of the conservative right-wing parties. The coming to power by a fellow morbid­­ political populist conservative right-winger,  Donald Trump in America, and his link to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in the UK, pushed London into BREXIT throes. Not to be forgotten are Jean-Marie Le Pen in France with his fellow birds of the same feather in Italy, Germany, Holland, and several European Union (EU) countries. From these leaders and their respective parties we see the slow death of the Scandinavian model of democracy based on true humanism. 

In my view, the whole of  Scandinavia has lost the better political paradigm, well–articulated by the novelist, Aksel Sandemose, about egalitarian life in a small fictional town, Jante. “En flyktning krysser sitt spor”  is the title of the origin novel in Norwegian, published in 1933. It was later translated into English and published under the title, “A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks”. Some people think that the lifestyle of Nordic people is modeled after the fictitious town Jante because in Jante, they see their own towns. However, other people think that egalitarian Nordic lifestyle predates the publication of Sandemose’s novel.

Regardless of the chicken and the egg question about Nordic behavior, it is worth reviewing the main point of the book. To paraphrase it, the people of Jante town were governed by the LAW OF JANTE which has 10 + 1 commandments. Though there are many variations, the law is based on a single theme which is usually referred to as a homogeneous unit: You are not to think you're anyone special, or that you're better than us. In the 21st century, this means that nobody must think he or she is superior based on religion, color, nationality, gender, or nationality. Below, are the unwritten 10 + 1 commandment rules:  

  1.   You're not to think you are anything special.
  2.   You're not to think you are as good as we are.
  3.   You're not to think you are smarter than we are.
  4.   You're not to imagine yourself better than we are.
  5.   You're not to think you know more than we do.
  6.   You're not to think you are more important than we are.
  7.   You're not to think you are good at anything.
  8.   You're not to laugh at us.
  9.   You're not to think anyone cares about you.
  10.   You're not to think you can teach us anything.

According to the novel, the Janters who transgress this socially understood law are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against the town's communal desire to preserve harmony, social stability, and uniformity.

An eleventh rule recognised in the novel as 'the penal code of Jante' is:

      11. Perhaps you don't think we know a few things about you?

Utoya Village Massacre victimsObviously, Anders Behring Breivik transgressed the Law of Jante. Accordingly, he was regarded with suspicion and hostility. He was apprehended, tried, and found guilty of murdering 77 people for which he was jailed for 21 years with the possibility of extension. Unfortunately, he remains unrepentant and refuses to even acknowledge the court ruling lest it legitimizes the authority of the court. Moreover, he identifies himself a fascist, Nazi, and a practitioner of the ancient pre-Christian religion of Odinism.

Though many Scandinavian leaders have condemned Anders Behring Breivik’s heinous crimes, those who espouse morbid political populism in Europe and North America are ideologically aligned with him. While Breivik’s sympathizers may think that they can transgress the Law of Jante with impunity, they must consider one of the chapters of Sandemose’s  novel titled, "Maybe you don't think I know something about you". With that, I urge all human beings to learn from the political tragedy at Utoya Island Village in Norway so that we will know something about whoever transgresses the Law of Jante, which is the world we live in.