Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rhetoric Matters

Blake Hounshell reads Anders Breivik's manifesto:
"In it, 'Berwick' declares himself a 'Justiciar Knight Commander,' a leading member of a 're-founded' Knights Templar group formed at an April 2002 meeting in London. He claims the founding group has 9 members, whom he does not name, and that three other sympathizers were not able to attend the original meeting.

"'Our purpose,' the document reads, is to 'seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda.'

"In grim, apocalyptic language, it advocates attacks on 'traitors' across Europe who are supposedly enabling a Muslim takeover of the continent...

"Filled with hateful rantings against Muslims -- whom the author claims are on a trajectory to take over Europe and erase its culture patrimony -- the writing bears a great resemblence to online comments attributed to Anders Breivik, 32, the confessed perpetrator of a massacre that has so far claimed nearly 100 lives."

I'm going to take heat for this, but I want to point out that just as salafi preachers in Egypt have stirred up attacks on Christians, so anti-immigrant rhetoric and demonization of Muslims contributed to this horrendous rampage against those Breivik regarded as some sort of blood traitors. To speak is not the same as to kill, but words are still actions with consequences, and prejudiced words have hateful consequences.



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