This is not 9/11- this is Norway’s Omagh

The tweet to the right was posted 15 hours ago.

I’ve never been more disappointed to be proved right.

But as the story of the bomb and gun attacks in Norway continues to unfold, it is important to maintain a sense of calm in the eye of the storm, because some of the comparisons being made by the talking TV heads are fundamentally wrong.

This is not Norway’s 9/11.

That particular atrocity was perpetrated by fundamentalists who wished to strike fear into the hearts of Americans and take their revenge for perceived wrongs in the Middle East and Asia.

What has happened in Norway appears to be the polar opposite.

The seven people in Oslo and the (to date) 84 victims at Utoeya were killed by one of their own – a 32-year-old “ethnic Norwegian” (to borrow the casually racist phrase being bandied about last night by the media) with strong nationalist opinions.

This was not Norway’s 9/11.

This was Norway’s Omagh.

Reading the political musings of Anders Behring Breivik, it’s clear what he thought about multiculturalism, Marxism and what he ironically calls “hate ideologies”.

He is not a right-wing extremist in the traditional Scandinavian sense of the “white power” movement, and I’d say even the Sweden Democrats will find it hard to find any positives in his actions.

But this is a young man whose intellectual convictions are well thought-out – and like the Real IRA, they are utterly out of step with the rest of Norwegian society.

Like the Real IRA, he found it impossible to accept the democratically-expressed will of his countrymen, who have repeatedly voted for a peaceful, open, democratic society.

And like the Real IRA, his frustration boiled over into violence of the most shocking and barbaric kind.

One can only hope that, like the Real IRA, his actions force the rest of the Norwegian people, even those of like mind, to recoil in horror – and to redouble their democratic efforts for a better, more open society.