Scandinavia and India are usually very far from one another in culture, values and life styles. Looking at the World Values Survey map we see Sweden at the extreme end (how many Swedes know that?), Norway slightly less secular and individualistic – and then India quite far down in traditional, survival values with little self –expression.
Still in the last weeks with Norway’s terror massacre in July 2011, our regions are afflicted by same cold terrorism. In Sweden during Christmas 2010, an attack was averted in central Stockholm, but the same logical and violent behaviour was present; calculating for years, buying tools, posting on Internet just before etc.
In India terrorism seems less rational, as when three bombs exploded this summer 2011 and no one claimed responsibility. BBC, Wall Street Journal’ India blog and our Per Andersson commented.The attacks were on the open multiculturalism of Mumbai/Bombay they claimed. Indian Muslims were being persecuted before and now they retaliated. I am not so sure about that. There is little evidence of poverty being the cause of terrorism, as Foregin Affairs claims.
The causes behind these attacks are of course very hard to disentangle, but two stand out for me; the ideology and the individual. Not material wealth or social structures.
Firstly: In Norway, the madman tried to link his terrorist outlook to Indian nationalism, which have been involved in their own attacks on Muslims and, most likely, in attacks that they want to pin on Muslims. The Hindu nationalist party BJP does not want further investigations in these links.
If ideology can be a cause of terrorism, and we all know that, what can be done? The ideological scenes where such views are visible must be confronted openly and fought down with arguments and actions. No dismissal anymore as almost all Swedish ddebaters want to do now after Norway’s sad event. Time to talk with the not so politically correct.
Secondly, the individuals that hold these terrorist leaning views must be surveyed and monitored. Nothing illiberal about that. All societies must defend themselves and here the last years’ heated discussions about screening the telecommunications and internet (FRA-lagen) in Sweden will have to take a second thought.
Going back to the map of values. Neither traditional nor modern societies can be safe for madcaps and their violent ideologies. Globalization makes all fluid, flat, interdependent – including negative actions. Modern day jihadists and anti-jihadists are in a sense more open and reachable today with our networks. We must talk, convince and confront them. Even kill them yes as OBL was.
I go out in the mad Indian traffic in South Delhi. Terrorism seems far away but the police fences by the road reminds me as I chew my breakfast of poris and tea. As in Sweden, these roadblocks are mostly useless and should be replaced by net savvy intelligence officers, an enlightened public and good psychatric outdoor facilities.