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Georgia’s first loss in a terrorist attack

By Messenger Staff
Monday, August 1
The July 22 terrorist attack carried out by Anders Breivik in Norway shattered the whole world, and it touched Georgia directly, when Tamta Liparteliani, 23, and member of the Socialist Youth movement, became the first Georgian victim of a terrorist attack. At first she was counted among those missing but upon her parents' arrival in Oslo her body was identified among the dead.

People around the world are still trying to describe this terrorist attack--was it a maniac's personal act, the result of an ultra-radical individual or part of a more sophisticated process implicating others?

Some analysts think that Breivik’s attack was inspired by notorious ultra right populist politicians. Others believe that more attention should be paid to phobias against Islam or multicultural issues. In his theoretical research published online, Breivik wrote that he had to take this step to rescue Europe from Muslim pressure. Just several hours before his attacks he published his 1500-page Manifesto of the Declaration of European Independence. In this work the terrorist wrote about his concerns that Islam is expanding throughout Europe, and that social democratic and liberal ideas were the cause of this. According to him, if such ideas continue to spread in Europe, local populations of the continent would lose their identity. Therefore he proposed establishing an organization with the goal of destroying the traitors of Europe. Among those he targeted were activists and leaders of Social Democratic and Liberal- oriented parties, functionaries and university professors. In his manifesto Breivik mentions Georgia as a Christian country under Islamic threat. According to Breivik NATO should expel Turkey and Albania from the organization and include Russia instead. He also proposes the creation of new military alliance which would include India, China, Japan and South Korea. According to this idea the new alliance should unite its efforts to expel all Muslims from Europe.

These and other issues were discussed in his terrorist manifesto. A key question arises, however: Is this the delirium of a marginalized mad man or does it express certain tendencies existing in Europe and other areas of the world? Most European analysts agree that the best way to combat such extremism is to foster open, transparent and serious discussions on issues of migration and intercultural relations, especially around islamophobia. Dramatic issues are often linked, in very subjective ways--for instance terrorist threats are often connected with Islamist activities around the world; unemployment is linked to immigration of Moslems into Europe who supposedly take jobs from others and settle down. When all these issues are not objectively discussed they result in radical interpretations with the potential for violent reaction as experienced in Norway.

Although open dialogue is not the immediate resolution to existing problems, it helps to identify them. If Moslem communities are increasing in Europe and the level of integration of these groups into the local environment is not sufficient, then more should be done to address the issues, with concrete steps to inform citizens of all cultures on how to live together. More information and discussion with everyone concerned must be taken to avoid the very dramatic results the world recently witnessed.