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This week’s World Forum for Democracy 2017 editors

Georgios Kolliarakis

Georgios Kolliarakis political scientist, is a senior researcher at the University of Frankfurt.

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Introducing this week’s theme: Media, parties and populism.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Trilogy of tragedy

Three texts taken together invoke Norway’s darkest day in peacetime.

Norway’s democratic example

The process and result in the trial of Anders Breivik are a vindication of Norway’s liberal democracy and a lesson for the world, says Cas Mudde.

Breivik court verdict: security lessons?

Now that the legal question of Anders Breivik’s sanity has been resolved it should be possible to focus more closely on his political motivation and the security lessons that arise from this case. This should help inform a debate about how best to tackle the growing problem of far right violence in Europe and the US

Justice is just a word

This Friday, Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik hears his verdict. It will do little to console the wreckage of the living. A writer who covered the events and the court case reflects on the impossibility of justice.

One year after terrorism struck Norway: taking stock

Key figures in the Norwegian media have acted on the assumption that open confrontation with right-wing bloggers and activists is the most effective strategy to combat extremism.

Breivik and the Norwegian immigration debate

There is a limit to how much you can learn about moderates by looking at extremists. And if you stop noticing the difference altogether, you are well on your way to becoming an extremist. 

Notes from the Editor-in-Chief

Our Editor-in-Chief launches a new front page feature. His first note reflects on Norway's past year and the need for eternal vigilance both against online hate speech and the new manacles on internet freedom in the pipeline.

Norway - one year after: an open wound

Populist right-wing politicians expressing extreme views on immigration, Islam and Muslims, have in general been confronted in the mediated public spheres to a much greater extent than before 22/7, as have extreme-right wingers. But how much else has moved on?

The power of hate and the potential of Norway

Before 9/11, I hardly knew or saw anyone who wore a hijab or a long beard. Over the past decade, this has changed, partly because many Muslims, young people in particular, do not feel accepted and often find themselves on the periphery of society. We must not let Utøya lead to further division when the opportunity of living togther in Norway is so inspiring.

Norway's trial, and a democratic lesson

The legal procedure in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the Norwegian massacre of July 2011, is a case-study of democratic values - in particular, that democracy is not a "what" but a "how", says Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

Norway's atrocity: a story of non-impact

The immediate reactions to the terrorist attack in Oslo in July 2011 were both politicised and inaccurate. The opening of the perpetrator's trial nine months later finds leading ideological positions still full of evasion, says Cas Mudde.

Heart Against Stone: the story of a survivor from Utøya

This excerpt is the first English translation of a remarkable account of the experience of one of the young survivors on Utøya. The 21yr-old was shot and wounded after the events related here. He wants to tell his story to honour the dead and show that terror cannot defeat political engagement.  

Europe’s radical right: recognising and managing the ‘threat’

Safeguarding communities and nations from the potential threats of radical right narratives is not about controlling or prohibiting their political parties: but about bridging gaps between political leadership and communities.

Europe beyond Utøya: addressing a crisis

The slaughter of citizens in Norway in July 2011 was more than the act of an individual: it emerged from a political and intellectual atmosphere that now pervades European public life. This deeper reality must be understood and addressed if Europe is to save itself by living up to its own ideals, says Umut Özkirimli.

Bolts from the blue: method and madness in the West

The Norwegian massacre and the gun attack on a US congresswoman were both dismissed as the work of deranged loners. But instead of signifying nothing, they were extraordinarily expressive of current political life. The author trawls through a host of supposedly pathological murders in the richest societies of the West to find deep and recurring patterns.

Gangs and wolves: violence and vulnerability in a global economy

Forces of globalization provide the link between the areas of extreme criminal violence in poorer countries and the random attacks carried out by fundamentalists in the west. On all sides, economic interconnectedness has brought wealth to some, criminal opportunities to others, and vulnerability to everyone.

The national Us: the Norwegian idea of togetherness

Ingen Utenfor is the very successful anti-bullying campaign run by Save the Children in Norway. In English it means “No one outside.”

The net of hatred: after Utøya

The public debate in Norway following the massacre of 22 July 2011 is taking shape. A key focus is the obsessional and hate-filled language that pervades and dominates online discussion, says Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

Breivik: killing the left

However nuanced, it is striking how little extant interpretations attend to the fact that Breivik’s most grotesque violence was not directed at Muslims or immigrants as such but at the youth members of the Norwegian Social Democrats.

Stakeholders of goodwill: neither the "salad bowl" nor the "melting pot"

Meaningful stakeholders in the collective, each becoming reasonable people of goodwill - this is the model for successfully living with the identitarianisms that will otherwise tear our future apart. This applies as much to multi-ethnic Europe as the Gulf States or Singapore

Let's unite! a wake-up call from Norway

The deadly attacks in Oslo are not only about Norway: they are about all of us. Ten years after the 9/11 terror, we face a common threat from extremism. Let's confront it together.

Norway: terror and Islamophobia in the mirror

As Norway ends its first month of mourning, media soundbites tell us that there is a desire to draw a line and move on. But there are lessons to be learned about the consequences of institutional ‘hate speech’ and prejudice in high places. Can Norway lead the way in learning these lessons?

Why let facts ruin the story? Norwegian comments on US coverage of the Norway terror

Instead of getting the facts, the US media seemed most concerned making reality fit their pre-fabricated narrative.

Confronting ‘extremisms’: the cautious way forward from the Norwegian tragedy

It is too easy to brand terrorists with labels. We need to consider, in depth, the reasons behind people’s actions - remembering that psychology can play as much of a role as ideology

The roots of Breivik's ideology: where does the romantic male warrior ideal come from today?

Breivik should be understood as an ideologue driven by reasons and not just as a psychological case. A careful reading of his 2083 manifesto reveals four distinct influences we need to understand: contemporary Islamophobic ideologies, cultural conservative/neo-Confederate traditions, elements of modern White Power thinking, and anti-feminist thought

Norway's promise: a measured counter-terrorism strategy

Norway's response so far holds the hope of a measured counter-terrorism strategy. But the media and policy makers elsewhere also need to maintain a measured approach to terrorist attacks, argues Jaffar Al-Rikabi.

Norway's atrocity: the mental tunnel

The deadly attacks in Norway are fuelling debate about multiculturalism, immigration, security and radicalisation. But more attention must also be paid to the behaviours and attitudes that underlie extreme political violence, says Sara Silvestri.

Norway’s catastrophe: democracy beyond fear

The political response to atrocity often misjudges its character in ways that lead to further violations. This makes it all the more important that reaction to the bombing and massacre in Norway is based on careful assessment, says Cas Mudde.

Norway: words as weapons

The massacre in Norway cannot be ascribed only to the killer’s mental derangement. It also reflects the everyday nourishment of fear and hatred in the political arena, says Petter Nome.

Letter from a Norwegian in Vienna

"We are a people in mourning." So we are. Wherever we are.

The coordinated attack on multiculturalism

Centre-right parties across Europe are announcing the failure of multiculturalism. We are witnessing a co-ordinated revival of Enoch Powell's idea of the aggressive outsider out to dominate the rest; only now race and immigration are being played out on the terrain of culture and religion

Old and new demagoguery: the rhetoric of exclusion

Right-wing populist parties tend to be anti-multinational and anti-intellectual: they endorse nationalistic, nativist, and chauvinistic beliefs, embedded - explicitly or coded - in common sense appeals to a presupposed shared knowledge of ‘the people’.

The new Arctic: trade, science, politics

The opening of the Arctic to ship-passage will transform the region’s political as well as environmental landscape, says Øyvind Paasche.
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