PRIO Researchers on the 22/7 Terror


23 August 2011

​On 22 July, Norway was struck by a double terror attack. A few minutes before 15:30 a car bomb was detonated at the centre of the executive government quarter, severely damaging several office buildings including the Prime Minister’s office in ‘Høyblokka’. Eight people were killed by the blast and several wounded. Sometime between 17 and 17:30 came the first reports in the media of shootings at Utøya, where the Norwegian Labour Party's youth organisation AUF were having their summer camp. At approximately 18:30, Special Police troopers apprehended the shooter, who willingly gave himself up. Sixty-nine people — mostly teenagers — were shot and killed at Utøya, making it the worst shooting incident in peace time globally, and bringing the total death toll that day to 77.

It has later been revealed how the perpetrator of both attacks parked the car with his home-made fertilizer bomb in Oslo and then drove a second car to Utvika, from where a boat took him across the strait to Utøya. Before committing the misdeeds he had also distributed a 1500-page manifesto to a large mailing list of people he assumed would have sympathies for his views. In this manifesto he blames Western leaders for allowing a Muslim takeover of Europe, labelling them Cultural Marxists, and he also details his years of planning and preparation for the attacks. Several of the recipients have since denounced these views.

The incident created massive reactions in Norway and elsewhere. Norwegian leaders have been hailed for responding contrary to the perpetrator's intention, with a call for more openness and more democracy. The Norwegian people similarly responded with flowers and solidarity: thousands of flowers were laid around the cathedral in Oslo, and more than 100,000 people attended a vigil, each carrying a rose. Media from all over the world reported extensively on the attacks, and many opinions have been written on the manifesto, the actions, and the world view behind them. Debates have followed different lines and topics, such as tolerance and freedom of speech; surveillance, alert and readiness; immigration and multiculturalism; the extreme right; and more. Below is a list of op-eds and comments by PRIO researchers, touching on several of these topics. Most of the comments are in Norwegian.


Kristian Berg Harpviken (PRIO Director)
Norge etter terroren, Aftenposten 26 July. [Also published in English on St. Andrews School of International Relations' blog Plato's Cave August 1, in Finnish in Helsingin Sanomat 29 July, and in Spanish in La Vanguardia 31 July.
Rojan Ezzati
Fragmentering i terrorens tid, Dagsavisen 2 August.
Henrik Syse
Den andre virkeligheten, Aftenposten 4 August.
Inger Skjelsbæk
Barnas usikre verden, 5 August.
Norwegians must build climate of hope, not fear, San Francisco Chronicle 10 August.
J. Peter Burgess
En nødvendig naivitet, Morgenbladet 5 August.
Jørgen Carling
Gina Lende
Når terroristen er ein av våre, Stavanger Aftenblad 23 August.